Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Báez hasn't had his most productive season to date, but he provided a reminder on Wednesday night as to why he's one of the most entertaining players in baseball as part of a rout against the New York Mets.
Báez entered the game hitting only .200/.250/.433 (88 OPS+) on the season, with an ugly 31-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. None of that mattered when he stepped to the plate in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and the Cubs leading by a 10-4 margin. Rather, what mattered is what happened, as Báez connected with a hanging slider to launch his fifth home run of the season and the sixth grand slam of his career.
Take a look:
According to Statcast, Báez's grand slam traveled at a speed of 103.9 mph off the bat and would've covered 395 feet of ground were it not for those pesky bleachers obstructing its path. That is, to paraphrase the youth, a nice piece of hitting.
Báez wasn't done there, either. Usually, that would entail him getting another hit, perhaps another home run, or at least reaching base on a walk. But because Báez is Báez, his other highlight from Wednesday night saw him bat left-handed.
Báez decided to take what will go down as his third career at-bat as a lefty with the Cubs up by 10 in the eighth inning and with the Mets pitching infielder Luis Guillorme to conserve their arms. Báez flew out to left field on a 69 mph pitch located away from him:
The other two times Baez has batted lefty also came against position players pitching: once in 2019 against Kyle Farmer and the Cincinnati Reds (he flew out to center) and then last September against Yolmer Sánchez and the Chicago White Sox (he doubled).