With future uncertain, Cubs make more lasting memories

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo celebrates at third base after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Chicago.

    Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo celebrates at third base after hitting a solo home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Chicago.

 
 
Updated 7/25/2021 7:34 PM

On Friday, Javy Baez homered with Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo on base.

On Sunday, Bryant and Rizzo hit back-to-back home runs as the Cubs beat Arizona 5-1 at Wrigley Field.

 

After both moments, it felt like the game should have stopped so fans could take some pictures. Maybe have some of the Cubs stand and wave behind home plate.

That's what this season has come to. After a promising start and brutal slump, the Cubs are waiting out the final days before the July 30 trade deadline by trying to enjoy what could be the final homestand with all the remaining World Series heroes.

"It's just going to be what it is," Rizzo said after the game. "We have no idea what's going to happen. It's been almost four years now since all the talk (began) and I don't think really much has changed in that four years, but it seems like for the last four years a lot was going to happen.

"This could be it, yeah. When that happens, we'll face that when it happens. But until then, we just enjoy coming in, playing and definitely feels good to get a win."

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The story hasn't advanced much in recent days. Pittsburgh's Adam Frazier was reportedly sent to San Diego in one major trade Sunday. Bryant, Baez and Rizzo, in the final year of their contracts, could be expensive rentals for a new team, so it's not clear if the trade market will materialize.

As far as feeling nostalgic for the final days of the 2016 crew, Rizzo shrugged off the thought.

"I just think anytime on the weekend when you have nice weather at Wrigley, the fans are going to bring the energy, go crazy for the Cubs," he said. "It's always much appreciated on our end, just the energy they bring every single day, every single night.

"But as far as all that, we're just happy to win today and we'll move on to tomorrow. With these next five days, there's going to be a lot more rumors. I'm sure the whole trade market in general is going to be heating up. We'll see what happens."

Speaking of fan enthusiasm, starting pitcher Trevor Williams was probably the MVP of this game. He tossed 6⅓ scoreless innings, his longest outing of the season, to earn his first victory since May 26, his last start before an emergency appendectomy. Arizona scored its lone run with two outs in the ninth inning against Dillon Maples.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"For me personally, I've been waiting a long time to pitch in front of a full stadium at Wrigley," Williams said. "Because of my appendix, my starts at Wrigley got pushed back and I got to see and feel it from the dugout.

"I was fortunate to get back and finally pitch in front of a stadium like we had today. It's special, it doesn't go unnoticed. I feel the energy when I'm on the mound and the guys feel it at the plate. To have the crowd erupt like that early on in the game was huge for us to carry on that momentum through the rest of the game."

The Cubs were finally able to open up the gates to a full house on June 11, while Williams was on the injured list.

David Bote also made a solid return, hitting a 2-run homer in his first game since dislocating his left shoulder on May 29. Baez was shaken up after running hard to first base late in the game, but he stayed in to play the field in the ninth inning.

"I think he's all right," manager David Ross said. "We'll see tomorrow. He was able to go out and play defense, which is nice."

Ross had some fun with reporters, refusing to state the nature of the issue, before settling on "below the knee injury."

Rizzo's home run was No. 240 of his Cubs career, breaking a tie with Aramis Ramirez for sixth place in team history.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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