4 days' worth of Wisdom: Cubs' 3B homers in 4th straight
CINCINNATI -- When things are going well at the plate, you feel like you can make something happen in every at-bat, and Patrick Wisdom has had a historic last few days at the plate.
With a fourth-inning blast off Vladimir Gutierrez Monday night, Wisdom became the first Cubs player to homer in four consecutive games since Anthony Rizzo did it from July 29-Aug. 1 in 2015.
The 393-foot blast drove in three runs, extending Chicago’s lead to 4-0 over the Reds on the way to a 7-4 victory in the opening game of a six-game road trip.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Wisdom said of his historic stretch. “It’s obviously better when we’re winning and I can put us on the board with runs. It’s just way better when we win and this is going on, so I’ll take it.”
The long ball was the lone hit of Wisdom’s night, but it was enough to give Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly plenty of insurance to work through the Reds' lineup in the middle innings.
Wisdom's streak began Friday afternoon, when he lined a pitch from D-backs starter Humberto Castellanos just over the ivy and into the center-field bleachers. In the days following, Wisdom, alongside teammate Frank Schwindel, made headlines after hitting back-to-back home runs on consecutive days, becoming the first pair of Cubs to do so since Ernie Banks and Jim Hickman did so in 1969.
Wisdom would carry his power on the road to Great American Ball Park.
While Wisdom takes pride in being able to produce from the bottom part of the Cubs’ lineup, his spot in the order makes little impact on his approach when stepping to the plate.
“I’ll hit anywhere in the lineup, I don't care,” Wisdom said. “We have such a good lineup that guys are always on base. I love that.”
The 30-year-old Californian played in just 43 games through his first three seasons at the big league level, but has settled into a regular role in the Cubs’ lineup during the past two seasons, becoming well-respected by his peers.
Manager David Ross said the ability to have a guy like Wisdom that low in the batting order speaks volumes to the depth of his lineup.
“Obviously, when he hits the ball, it goes the long way,” Ross said. “When you put Patrick Wisdom in the eight-hole, you feel pretty good about your chances and the length of your lineup.
“When you’ve got 28-30 home run power down there at the bottom of the order, it’s deep and can sneak up on pitchers. When you feel like you’re working really hard at the top and you’ve got to grind through the middle, and you get to the middle and you want to take one pitch off, he can change the game like he did tonight.”
That consistency has also caught the attention of Cubs teammate Ian Happ.
When asked of Wisdom’s impact on the lineup, Happ’s words were similar to those of Ross. He noted that, beyond the flashy home runs, Wisdom has shown strong fundamentals by battling in 3-2 counts, fouling difficult pitches off and finding ways on base.
“The complete package that he’s putting together right now is really fun to watch,” Happ said.
“It means a lot just to know that they believe in me and they want me to succeed,” Wisdom said. “Sometimes, if I have bad games in a row, it's tough on me because I obviously want to come through for the team. I want to help win. When I'm not doing that, it makes it a lot harder on myself. But knowing that they're quick to flush it, I need to be quick to flush it, too.”