CHICAGO -- Watch Kyle Schwarber at the plate. The Cubs slugger may be close to getting out of his funk.In Wednesday's 6-5 loss to the Marlins, Schwarber posted his first three-hit game of the season, and his first since Aug. 13, 2015, hitting a pair of doubles and a solo
CHICAGO -- Watch Kyle Schwarber at the plate. The Cubs slugger may be close to getting out of his funk.
In Wednesday's 6-5 loss to the Marlins, Schwarber posted his first three-hit game of the season, and his first since Aug. 13, 2015, hitting a pair of doubles and a solo home run.
Schwarber's double in the third inning was his first hit that wasn't a homer since May 17 against the Reds. His home run leading off the seventh was his 10th.
"It was a good day at the plate," Schwarber said. "I've been working with [hitting coaches John Mallee and Eric Hinske], and shortening everything up. I'm just trying to hit the ball. It worked out good. I want to keep it going. It's a tough loss today, but we still battled."
"You see how much shorter [his swing is]," manager Joe Maddon said. "His feet are on the ground, he's not lifting his leg up a lot. He's keeping his body out of it, and his hands have been much more active. It's reminiscent of what we've seen in the past.
"He has great balance in his finish. You've seen every time he's hit the ball, he's able to stand there because his balance is so good. When a hitter can do that, it means he's permitting the ball to travel, he's using his hands, he's keeping his head still, all the good things you're trying to get done. A nice night for him, absolutely it was."
According to Statcast™, Schwarber's first double had a 99-mph exit velocity, his home run registered at 102 mph and his RBI double in the eighth was 106.5 mph. It's his first game this season with multiple barrels, which are batted balls with an ideal combination of exit velocity and launch angle. The last time he did that was Sept. 11, 2015.
Schwarber's first double and home run came on pitches clocked at 97.2 mph and 94.7, respectively. Those are the two hardest pitches he's hit for barrels this year out of 17 total.
Schwarber hit a grand slam Saturday against the Cardinals, but Maddon was even more impressed with the next game when Schwarber drew three walks. It's been all or nothing lately, as Schwarber's last six hits have been two doubles and four homers. On Wednesday, the first double went to left, the homer was to center and the second double went to right. Is he trying to hit to the opposite field?
"I think it's more staying within myself, and not trying to go out there and get hit after hit after hit," Schwarber said. "It's all process -- if you can take a walk, it's good."
According to baseball historian Christopher Kamka, Schwarber is the first Cubs player with three extra-base hits out of the No. 9 spot since Grover Cleveland Alexander did so on June 20, 1925.
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.