Schwarber's work at Iowa pays off with HR

July 9th, 2017

CHICAGO -- Before Saturday's game, was on the field with hitting coach John Mallee, lining one ball after another off the tee to left, center and right. It's one phase of a pregame routine he started during his 11-game stint at Triple-A Iowa. It worked there, and it paid off on Saturday night.

Rookie and Schwarber hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning to give the Cubs' a 2-1 lead, although the Pirates would rally to post a 4-2 victory.

The homer was Schwarber's first since he was sent to Iowa to work on his swing.

The Cubs' bullpen celebrated Schwarber's homer by breaking into dance

The Cubs have hovered at .500 for most of the season and have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games. Schwarber, who was demoted after opening the season .171, knows something about the ups and downs of the game.

"Today was a tough one," Schwarber said of the loss to the Pirates. "We've got to put it behind us. It's just baseball -- that's the best way to put it. It'll do crazy things to you -- I've seen my fair share myself.

"You've got to find a way to stay even-keeled and keep competing, knowing that good things are going to happen," he added. "We know what kind of team we have here. We have a really good team, and we'll keep going out there every day and battle."

Manager Joe Maddon watched Mallee and Schwarber during their early work, and liked what he saw then as well as in the game.

"I just wanted to be an advocate of what's going on and lend another set of eyes to see what they're doing," Maddon said. "Being an old hitting coach, it's very interesting to me what they're doing and how they're doing it."

Maddon recognized a lot of the drills and said the focus has been on the "trigger movements" to start Schwarber's swing.

"The work [effort] is always there," Maddon said. "Kyle is an outstanding young man, and his intent is incredibly good."

Said Schwarber: "That was the routine when I was down in Iowa, going that way and working all sides of the field. I was trying to use the middle of it."

He's going to need to find his swing to help the Cubs get back on track.

"A hit's a hit -- you'll take 'em when they come," Schwarber said.