Schwindel collects fourth-straight game-winner to continue Cubs win streak
During the Cubs surprise hot streak, so much of the attention has been focused on Frank Schwindel.
And rightfully so. Schwindel's RBI single in the eighth inning was his fourth straight game-winning hit and the Cubs won their seventh in a row by beating Cincinnati 4-3 at Wrigley Field on Monday.
Lost in the Schwindel euphoria is the fact that Ian Happ has turned his season around. Happ's 3-run homer in the first inning got the Cubs off to a good start and had interim manager Andy Green begging reporters to give Happ some press.
"He saved the game for us on stuff that doesn't get written about very often," Green said. "The play he had down the left-field line on the (Max) Schrock single where he cut that ball off. Somebody please write about that because that's how you win baseball games."
Happ hustled over toward the foul line to cut off Schrock's sharply-hit line drive. The defensive play held Schrock to a single and helped limit the Reds to 3 runs in the sixth inning, leaving the game tied.
Then it was once again Schwindel's time to shine. Alfonso Rivas started the eighth inning with a pinch-hit single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Schwindel's one-out single.
Why the Reds pitched to the hottest hitter on the planet is anyone's guess, but Schwindel delivered once again. During the seven-game win streak, Schwindel is hitting .433 with 6 home runs and 13 RBI.
"I was borderline giddy in the dugout thinking, 'It can't happen again can it?'" Green said. "We were laughing over there just by the sheer fact that he was up with the opportunity to do something special again. Thankfully he controls his emotions better than me and Mike Borzello do, because we were just laughing."
After launching a game-winning grand slam on Sunday's win over Pittsburgh, Schwindel was a popular topic on social media as fans spotted him walking around Wrigleyville, enjoying is sudden fame. The Cubs claimed him off waivers from Oakland on July 17.
"He's one of those guys who can put the barrel on the ball wherever it's thrown," Green said. "If you've got a hole at this level, they're going to find it. But he really does have a pretty special ability to find the barrel of the bat on any pitch, in any zone, at any point in time, which makes you really good late in the game."
Happ's season batting average is still just .214. But over the past 30 days, he's not far behind Schwindel, with a .313 average, 8 home runs and 20 RBI.
Another promising development for the Cubs was pitcher Justin Steele throwing 5 scoreless innings for the second straight start. The sixth inning didn't go as well, with the Reds collecting a single, double and then two hit batsmen before Steele gave way to Codi Heuer.
"I think today was more so me forcing pitches," Steele said of the sixth inning. "I hit somebody with a slider, that's just a yanked slider, I'm trying to make it nastier than I need to. Just throw a good one rather than force it, try to make it more nasty than it needs to be, I guess.
"Could have kept doing what I was doing first five and did just fine. Was getting weak contact for the most part. At some point in my career, I think it would be really cool to throw a complete game. That's where my head's at. I want to go deeper into games. I want to be that starting pitcher, every time I take the mound, they can expect consistency."