Monster mash: Schwarber slugs into history
Cubs rookie ties records with 4th homer of postseason
NEW YORK -- Kyle Schwarber didn't launch any home runs on top of the Statue of Liberty, but his legend continued to grow.
Schwarber belted his fourth postseason homer, a solo shot with two outs in the eighth off the Mets' Matt Harvey, in the Cubs' 4-2 loss Saturday night in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. He extended his franchise record for most home runs in a single postseason by a rookie, and matched the franchise record for most home runs by any Cubs player in a single postseason, joining Alex Gonzalez and Aramis Ramirez in 2003.
Schwarber also tied the Cubs record for homers in consecutive postseason games, with three. Gonzalez homered in three straight from Oct. 5-8, 2003 -- like Schwarber, spanning both the NL Division Series and the NLCS.
Plus, the outfielder/catcher nicknamed "Bam Bam" became one of five players in Major League history to hit four postseason home runs before turning 23 years old, joining Mickey Mantle, Andruw Jones, Miguel Cabrera and Bryce Harper. That's pretty elite company.
Harvey had thrown 91 pitches over seven innings, and had limited the Cubs to three hits in that stretch.
"He probably knew he was getting to the end of his outing, and he just left a heater up and out, and I took advantage of it and hit it," Schwarber said matter of factly.
The Mets right-hander did rely on more off-speed pitches early in the game than the Cubs expected, but Schwarber said that wasn't the problem.
"You have to stick with your approach and make sure you get your pitch," Schwarber said. "When [Harvey] is doing that, you have to lock in more to what you want to do. It's probably not the same things he's done in the past, so you have to go up there and make the adjustment and go from there."
In Game 4 of the NL Division Series, Schwarber blasted a home run that is still sitting on top of the right-field video scoreboard at Wrigley Field, encased in a plexiglass box. That one was projected at 419 feet, according to Statcast™, although it came off his bat at 113 mph. Saturday's homer was projected to land 459 feet away, the longest of the postseason, and a personal best for the rookie. The exit velocity registered at 110.4 mph.
"Cool," Schwarber said.
That's what you'd expect a 22-year-old to say.
"That's how he swings it," teammate Dexter Fowler said. "Nothing bothers these kids."
Schwarber shrugged off the chilly weather -- game-time temperature was 48 degrees at Citi Field -- and wore short sleeves while a few of his teammates were bundled in balaclavas.
"It was a little chilly out there at first but once you're out there a little bit and your ears get frozen, everything else is fine," he said.
Schwarber did strike out in his first at-bat, then lined out to shortstop Wilmer Flores in the fourth, hitting the ball well.
"I've never seen [Harvey] before, and I know he has a really good fastball and he whipped off the offspeed right away," Schwarber said. "It threw me off a little bit at first but it's a game of adjustments and you have to go up there and stay with your approach and trust yourself."
It also helps knowing you can hit home runs.