The Cubs recovered from Saturday night's Craig Kimbrel meltdown with a 10-1 trouncing of the Reds on getaway day Sunday in Cincinnati. All Cubs runs scored via the home run and there was history as well. Jason Heyward, Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber -- Chicago's trio of starting outfielders -- all hit two homers.
Those interested can find the all the Cubs home runs in here (Schwarber's second blast was a grand slam, too):
We've mentioned Happ's breakout season recently and everyone knows of Schwarber's power prowess, so let's dig in on Heyward. He's having a big year at the plate -- and who ever would've thought we'd be saying that again?
Through Sunday's game, Heyward is hitting .286/.402/.560. After a slow start, he's been killing the ball. After the Cubs' series with the Cardinals was cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the St. Louis side, Heyward has gone 17 for 47 (.362) with four doubles, two triples and four home runs. He's walked 14 times compared to eight strikeouts.
The key has been Heyward's plate discipline. Heading into Sunday, Heyward's chase percentage (the percent of the time he swings at balls outside the strike zone) was 18.8 percent and on Sunday he walked twice and homered twice. Last year his chase percentage was 27.6 and the year before it was 28.5.
The Cubs are now 20-14 and have a 3.5-game lead in the NL Central. With Javier Baez struggling mightily and Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras slumping at different points to the season, Heyward's offensive exploits have been a big help in keeping the Cubs atop the division.