MIAMI -- Going with the pitch seems like the most basic of strategies, but for a young player still learning his craft at the highest level, it's not as easy as it appears.But Javier Baez continues to work that key approach, and it paid off Saturday. The infielder sparked an
MIAMI -- Going with the pitch seems like the most basic of strategies, but for a young player still learning his craft at the highest level, it's not as easy as it appears.
But Javier Baez continues to work that key approach, and it paid off Saturday. The infielder sparked an 11-hit Cubs attack with a pair of run-scoring hits in a 5-3 win over Miami at Marlins Park.
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Baez upped his hitting streak to six games (10-for-23) with his 15th multi-hit game of the year. He singled in a run during a two-run fourth inning that erased a 3-1 deficit, then broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run double to the opposite field in the sixth, slapping a line drive over the head of Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton.
And that opposite-field power is what had manager Joe Maddon excited about the at-bat and the win.
"The RBIs to the opposite field, that was awesome to see," Maddon said. "Just trying to get these guys to understand that there's more than one side to a baseball field. As we do that, we'll hit better in situations. That's the key to being able to drive in runs. I thought we did a nice job."
Baez drove in three runs for the third time this season, and he drove in the game-winning run for the second time.
"He can keep the big swing, that doesn't bother me at all," Maddon said. "It's about what he's trying to do with the big swing. He's got as much power [the opposite] side as he's got on his pull side.
"As he learns to do this better, he's going to hit more home runs to the right-center-field side, because there's more of that available to him from what the pitchers try to do to him. That's a maturation process. That doesn't happen overnight. And you have to be patient."
Baez said he continues to work on just that, but as Maddon pointed out, it's a process.
"Trying to get my timing down, seeing the ball at the same time," Baez said. "I've been making my adjustments. My work and routine have been helping me. I've been seeing the ball really good."
He added that simply not trying too hard is helping in his development as a hitter.
"I think my power is to right-center; I know it," Baez said. "Sometimes I get out of my plan and just try to pull the ball. Once I get in that lane, I'll hopefully stay there."
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com based in Miami who covered the Cubs on Saturday.