Cubs' Schwindel trying to dodge pressure of sustaining his gaudy stats

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Cubs' Frank Schwindel reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 15 in Philadelphia.

    Chicago Cubs' Frank Schwindel reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 15 in Philadelphia. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/21/2021 10:59 PM

Heading into Tuesday's action, Frank Schwindel was hitting .363 in 44 games with the Cubs.

His 1.080 OPS is tied for the second-most in franchise history for a Cubs player in their first 44 games. Schwindel is tied with Hank Sauer and slightly behind Hall-of-Famer Hack Wilson in that category.

 

It's certainly an obvious reaction to say Schwindel will never be able to keep that up over a full season. But what does Wrigleyville's newest cult hero think?

"I don't know. I guess we'll have to find out if I'm back and if I'm in the lineup every day next year," Schwindel said. "I'm having fun, I'm swinging at good pitches. I'm just trying to keep it going."

Schwindel extended his 10-game hitting streak on Tuesday with a sixth-inning double, but the Cubs lost to the Minnesota Twins 9-5.

Schwindel, 29, has tried to make the most of his sudden fame. He was an 18th-round draft pick out of St. John's in 2013 and played for 10 different minor-league teams, plus the Royals and the A's, before finding his stride with the Cubs.

"If it ended today, I've been having a blast. So I have no regrets," he said. "Just going to keep doing what I'm doing and let the rest work itself out."

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As far as acting goofy in the dugout, especially after a successful trip to the plate, the first baseman known as "Frank the Tank" said it's just part of his philosophy.

"I like to have a good time," he said. "This game's too hard to not have a smile on your face. I think after the base hit against (Milwaukee's Corbin) Burnes the other night, I think that was the most happy I've been in a while -- two (previous) strikeouts and he's the best pitcher I've ever seen."

Schwindel is hoping for another fun week to close out the Cubs' home schedule. His wife and 8-month-old son are visiting from New Jersey and his group of hometown friends are coming back for one more round. To hear Schwindel describe it, his childhood in Livingston, N.J. was sort of like the movie, "The Sandlot."

"I'd say most of the guys that came these last couple times have been friends from kindergarten through middle school and high school," Schwindel said. "We've kept in touch. Pretty much all the same group of guys, we'd go out behind one of the fields by the high school and mess around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"There were a couple that were better athletes, but I don't think anybody could hit like me growing up."

Before the game, no one was injured when mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor sailed an errant first pitch well to the right of home plate. It hit the brick wall on the fly.

Maybe the poor throw was because the left-handed McGregor never played baseball growing up in Ireland. Or he understands it's only the bad celebrity pitches that get replayed on SportsCenter.Patrick Wisdom eventually chased down the pitch and posed for a few photos.

Cubs starting pitcher Alec Mills didn't fare much better, delivering one of his worst outings of the year with 6 earned runs in 4 innings. The Twins touched Trevor Megill for 2 runs in the seventh after Wisdom's 2-run single brought the Cubs within 7-5.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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