Schwarber's powerful swing on display
Rookie belts two HRs, drives in four as Cubs stay hot
CHICAGO -- It hasn't taken long for Kyle Schwarber to make his presence felt.
The rookie went 3-for-4 Thursday in the Cubs' 9-2 win over the Brewers, hitting a pair of home runs and an RBI single to finish with four RBIs.
"He's a really good, young hitter," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I think the best thing you can say about him is he's stepped into the league and he's already a guy you have to look out for when he's coming around again. He's established himself quickly as a middle-of-the-order type presence and somebody you have to manage around. He's obviously got big power, and anybody like that you're going to have to be careful with."
The wind was blowing out at Wrigley Field on Thursday, an advantage to hitters, but Schwarber didn't need any help. His first blast followed Dexter Fowler's home run in the fifth and landed in the center-field bleachers. The second homer, a two-run shot to left in the seventh, came against Brewers lefty Neal Cotts.
"He never swings at a baseball, he hits a baseball," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of the rookie, who is batting .330 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 31 games. "He hits the ball."
Schwarber had been in a little funk. His home run in the fifth snapped an 0-for-12 skid. What was different?
"I stopped trying to swing at stuff I can't hit," Schwarber said. "I was swinging at stuff outside of the zone. That's not me. It's always going to happen. You have to limit that time when it does happen and get back to being yourself."
His arrival has lengthened the Cubs' lineup with a powerful left-handed bat.
"The pitcher doesn't have a break until he gets closer to the bottom of the lineup," Jon Lester said of the Cubs now. "It just makes our lineup so much stronger and we have that home run threat in the two-hole [in Schwarber]. It's good to see how these guys have developed and come into their own. They're just having fun playing baseball."
The Cubs' 2014 first-round Draft pick, Schwarber has been on the fast track. Has he surprised himself by the early success?
"I'm just trying to keep my head buried and not look at it," Schwarber said. "Once I start pressing and trying to do things I can't control, that's when I'll start getting in slumps or start being a bad teammate. It's all about being a good teammate, helping the team win and getting a 'W' at the end of the day."
What Maddon is impressed with is how the young Cubs have made adjustments.
"In today's game, to have this many young players contributing like they are and some of them having to go through tough times and come back, that's the part I really dig," he said. "It's not perfect all the time. They've been really good, and they've gotten cold, but they haven't caved."
What's also different is the Cubs are competing for a spot in the postseason.
"Right now, it feels like we're in a playoff game every day," Schwarber said. "That's the mindset we need to have."