After amassing a 14-hit streak on Saturday with contributions across the lineup, it's not too early to imagine how prolific the Cubs' hitting sequence will be once Seiya Suzuki returns – possibly the quickest of the week.
“And another big bat in this line-up will definitely come in handy,” said Patrick Wisdom after the Cubs' 10-3 win over the Rangers. “Great teammate too. He'll fit in.”
The introduction of Suzuki in right field and in the middle of the line could cut some players' game time, but many strengthened their case.
The team's greatest achievement was a 4-for-8 performance with a runner in scoring position. Pinch-hitter Eric Hosmer hit a two-out, two-run single in the sixth inning from left-hander Brock Burke that gave the Cubs a four-run lead.
Dansby Swanson hit an RBI single that ended the series 1-1 in the third. Ian Happ closed the score with a base-loaded, two-out single that resulted in three runs – thanks to Swanson's ability to rush and score from first base even with the result so close to being decided.
“I had a few years where it was my struggle,” said Trey Mancini, who produced two RBI singles in seventh for his third hit in the game. “Sometimes you get a little tense or try to do too much in those situations. You have to treat it like any other at-bat but also locked in and staying in the middle of the court. That's the best approach in that situation.
Mancini could spend more time at first base or a designated hitter once Suzuki, who hit 14 homers in 111 games in 2022, returns from a minor league rehabilitation stint. Suzuki hit one hit, drew a walk, and landed a sacrifice hit in a three-plate appearance in his first rehab match for Triple-A Iowa at St. Louis.
Suzuki, who played five innings in right field in his first game since recovering from a left oblique injury, is expected to be reassessed after playing Sunday.
Nick Madrigal, who rarely played when transitioning to third base, fouled off three two-hitters before hitting a double and scoring in the third, and his single after a home run by Yan Gomes sparked Happ and Swanson's three-run singles. dramatic run.
“I feel like we've got completely different players this year than we had last year,” said manager David Ross, alluding to a Madrigal injury that limited him to 59 games last season. “He's comfortable in third, moving (well) on base. With the swings he does, he looks like a healthy version of himself and doesn't use his body all day to play.”
Wisdom, who had started four games in third, made his second right start and hit a homer.
The two scheduled days off and rain on Wednesday have made it difficult for Ross to keep his bench sharp and often deal heavy blows to his regulars. Left-handed batsman Edwin Rios, who had spent most of his time at third base during his time in the Dodgers organization, made only two starts — at designated hitter. Fellow left-handed batsman Miles Mastrobuoni could play infield and outfield, and Ross favored plate discipline and his past ability to handle fastball.
Madrigal, Rios and Mastrobuoni have minor league options.
“Being a role player is the hard part,” Ross says of finding play time. It's complicated, but it's a big league and we have to try to win the ball game is the most important thing.”