Cubs' top 10 moments of the 2019 season
CHICAGO -- The Cubs would have preferred for their best moment in 2019 to have been hoisting another World Series trophy and planning a parade in Chicago. Reality did not meet expectations, but that does not mean there were no feats to celebrate from the past season.
In fact, choosing 10 moments for the Cubs from '19 was a difficult task, leaving many worthy events on the cutting-room floor. Some honorable mention moments included Kyle Hendricks' 81-pitch shutout on May 3, Kyle Schwarber's 473-foot grand slam on July 28 (the longest slam since Statcast began tracking) and Yu Darvish's single-game club record of eight consecutive strikeouts on Sept. 17.
Here are the top 10 moments for the '19 Cubs:
1. Bryant's historic trifecta
May 17 at Nationals
Kris Bryant powered a 14-6 win in Washington with three homers -- one each in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. That ignited an 11-run outburst for the Cubs over those final three frames. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, that is one of just 13 instances in which a player homered in three consecutive innings in MLB history. Reds rookie Aristides Aquino also joined that exclusive club on Aug. 10 against the Cubs. Bryant is only the second player to do so in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
2. Bryant's walk-off shot
May 7 vs. Marlins
In the first of two straight walk-off wins for the Cubs, Kris Bryant drilled a 99 mph heater from Miami's Adam Conley out to left-center field at Wrigley Field for a 5-2 victory. One night later, Jason Heyward hit a walk-off blast in the 11th inning in a 3-2 win over the Marlins. Those marked two of the six walk-off wins that the Cubs enjoyed last season.
3. Schwarber's basket blast
July 16 vs. Reds
There was no shortage of highlights from Kyle Schwarber's career-best 38-homer campaign for the Cubs. That said, the outfielder finally collected the first walk-off blast of his career against Cincinnati's Raisel Iglesias in the 10th inning of a 4-3 victory. The shot to left-center found Wrigley's famous basket and Schwarber was welcomed at home by a mob of teammates.
4. Double dose of Castellanos
Aug. 8 vs. Reds, Aug. 30 vs. Brewers
The Cubs acquired Nicholas Castellanos at the July 31 Trade Deadline and it didn't take him long to become a fan favorite. In 51 games with Chicago, the outfielder hit .321 with a 1.002 OPS, including a .384 average and .1.162 OPS in 27 games at Wrigley Field. It's hard to pick just one highlight, so we choose the pair of two-homer games he delivered. Castellanos punctuated his second blast in a 7-1 victory on Aug. 30 by slamming his bat into the ground -- a moment made for the GIF era.
5. Hoerner's home heroics
Sept. 14 vs. Pirates
After impressing the Cubs on his career-opening road trip, Nico Hoerner started winning over the fans at home in the season's final weeks. In a 14-1 romp over Pittsburgh, the rookie shortstop launched a three-run homer to keep his hot start going. That came one day after Hoerner belted a home run in his first career plate appearance at Wrigley Field.
6. Hoerner's historic debut
Sept. 9 at Padres
With both Javier Báez and Addison Russell out with injuries, the Cubs summoned Nico Hoerner from Double-A Tennessee to be their starting shortstop for the final few weeks. Hoerner, who was at home in California after the Minor League season concluded, joined Chicago in San Diego and enjoyed an amazing debut. He went 3-for-5 with four RBIs in a 10-2 victory, becoming only the fifth MLB player since at least 1908 to have at least two runs, three hits and four RBIs in a big league debut.
7. Rizzo reaches 200
May 6 vs. Marlins
The Cubs dropped a 6-5 decision to the Marlins, but Anthony Rizzo reached a milestone in the first inning. His blast off Sandy Alcantara represented the 200th of the first baseman's career. Three days later, Rizzo launched the 200th homer of his Cubs career (he hit one with San Diego in 2011). Currently, Rizzo ranks eighth on Chicago's all-time list with 217 blasts.
8. Báez makes 100th count
June 23 vs. Mets
In the eighth inning against New York, Javier Báez provided one of the best moments and wins of the '19 campaign for the Cubs. He reached a milestone in the process. Báez's three-run blast off Seth Lugo put the Cubs ahead in an eventual 6-5 win and marked the 100th shot of his career. He answered a curtain call by yanking at his jersey and howling along with the Wrigley Field crowd. Báez joined Ernie Banks and Shawon Dunston as the only shortstops in Cubs history (min. 50 games at the position) to have at least 100 blasts.
9. Davis slams St. Louis
May 4 vs. Cardinals
With backup catcher Victor Caratini sidelined with injury, the Cubs turned to Triple-A Iowa's Taylor Davis to serve as the No. 2 option behind All-Star Willson Contreras. Davis received a rare start on May 4 and stepped up as the hero in a 6-5 win. In the fourth, Davis launched a game-tying grand slam that put Chicago on the path to victory. It marked one of the Cubs' National League-leading 10 grand slams in '19.
10. Contreras ends marathon
May 11 vs. Brewers
In what could be considered the best win of the '19 season for the Cubs, Chicago and Milwaukee battled for 15 innings. Finally, as a rain fell at Wrigley Field, Willson Contreras launched the 467th pitch of the day out to left to deliver a dramatic 2-1 win. At the time, the victory pushed the Cubs into first place in the division.