CHICAGO -- Jason Heyward has found a good spot in the Cubs' lineup and a good approach at the plate, and it's paying off.On Tuesday night, Heyward had three hits, including a pair of RBI doubles to help pace an 11-hit attack and lead the Cubs to a 10-2 victory
CHICAGO -- Jason Heyward has found a good spot in the Cubs' lineup and a good approach at the plate, and it's paying off.
On Tuesday night, Heyward had three hits, including a pair of RBI doubles to help pace an 11-hit attack and lead the Cubs to a 10-2 victory over the Marlins. It was Heyward's first three-hit game since Sept. 4 last year, and he's hit safely in nine of his last 10 home games.
On this homestand, Heyward is 6-for-19 (.316) with three doubles and four RBIs.
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"I'm really digging where he's at in the five-hole," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Right- or left-handed pitcher, he don't care. He's giving you good at-bats against both sides of the plate. He's giving good at-bats against velocity, and he's giving you good at-bats against breaking pitches. He continues to trend in the right direction."
It's quite a turnaround from last season, when Heyward posted a .230 average. This is a different hitter.
"He's very consistent, and that's all you can ask for in a player," said Anthony Rizzo, who drove in four runs Tuesday, hitting a three-run homer and an RBI single. "He just grinds at-bats and is doing a really good job of it."
Said Maddon: "Everything he's hitting is right on the barrel. It's really fun to watch."
Rizzo knows all about tough times at the plate. He went through it when he was first called up to the big leagues.
"You make adjustments and it takes a while," Rizzo said. "I had to make adjustments in '11 and '12 and it took me a while, a solid 150 at-bats, to really feel comfortable. What I see, looking at Jason, he's very comfortable now and he's not letting his previous at-bat affect his next at-bat, and it's a good sign for us."
Heyward, who has not gone more than two games without a hit this season, said he's been able to apply all the offseason work in games.
"I feel like I'm doing a good job now being aware and making the adjustments throughout the game, pitch to pitch, and when you see guys get going as far as making solid contact and having good [at-bats] and producing, one at-bat happens and you go to the next one and try to keep it simple," Heyward said.
The entire Cubs lineup seems to be taking that approach. After a week in which the only runs came on homers, they were able to string together a six-run seventh, which also included RBI doubles by Javier Baez and Jonathan Jay.
"Like we've said, [hitting is] contagious, and once you get going, there's no slowing us down," Rizzo said.
It's reminiscent of last season, when the Cubs won 103 games and reached the World Series.
"It starts in the clubhouse, it starts in the dugout, it starts with us being together," Heyward said. "It starts with your hitters feeling like the dugout and the team is with you every at-bat. That's what we want to feel. We want to make sure our guys know that regardless of the outcome of the at-bat, just know the guys are with you, and we've done a great job of that.
"It takes time to build and we've got to keep building. It's like we've talked about, doing everything with a purpose and making our adjustments. ... We just have to keep going."
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.