1. Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs. The rookie left fielder/catcher had gone hitless in his three previous games, but he's too good and too polished to go into a prolonged slump. He mashed two home runs as he went 3-for-4 with a walk and four RBIs in the Cubs' 9-2 victory over the Brewers, Chicago's seventh win in a row and 13th in 14 games. Schwarber is now hitting .330/.420/.621 in 103 at-bats with eight home runs and 13 extra-base hits. The Cubs are 17-8 and averaging 5.1 runs per game when he starts. So you can see why Joe Maddon is willing to sacrifice defense at two positions (with left fielder Chris Coghlan moving to second base) to keep Schwarber's bat in the lineup.
From Jesse Rogers' postgame report, I love these two quotes from the rookie:
"I'm trying to keep my head buried and not even look at it. Once you start pressing and doing things you can't control, that's where I'll start getting into slumps."
"Stop trying to swing at stuff I can't hit. I was swinging at stuff out of the zone. That's not me usually. That's going to happen. You have to limit the time that it does happen and get back to being yourself."
Just over a year ago Schwarber was still in college. Now he's batting second for a Cubs team that continues to build its lead for the second wild card (and edge closer to the Pirates).
.@BaseballHall i was there today and i didn't see Kyle Schwarber's plaque anywhere. Did you forget to put it up?— Robert O'Neill (@RobertONeill31) August 14, 2015
I don't know if you guys feel the same but every time @kschwarb12 gets on the plate I'm think (he is about to hit this ball really hard )— miguel montero (@miggymont26) August 13, 2015
2. Los Angeles Angels' rally against the Kansas City bullpen. Those aren't words you hear every day, especially when the Angels scored two runs in the eighth off Wade Davis -- who had allowed just three runs all season prior to the outing -- and then four in the ninth off Greg Holland. It was the first time Davis allowed two runs in an appearance since April 5 of last season, and the four runs off Holland erased a 5-3 deficit as the Royals lost for the first time this season when entering the ninth inning with the lead. Holland failed to retire any of the six batters he faced -- David DeJesus singled, Carlos Perez walked, C.J. Cron hit a two-run double, Johnny Giavotella had a bunt single, Kole Calhoun hit a go-ahead two-run double and Mike Trout walked. Mike Scioscia's moves in the top of the inning also led to Albert Pujols playing third base in the bottom of the ninth, with Calhoun at first and Giavotella at shortstop. The Royals scored one run and had two runners on before Huston Street finally locked down the save.
It's certainly a bad loss for the Royals, especially on the heels of allowing five runs in the final two innings in losing to the Tigers on Wednesday (the first time they had blown a lead after seven innings all season), but more importantly, it's a big win for the Angels, who just got swept by the White Sox and have been shut out four times already in August.
The #Angels got as many hits with runners in scoring position in tonight's ninth inning (3) than they got in their last five entire games.— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) August 14, 2015
3. Adriana Aviles. The 4-year-old daughter of Cleveland Indians infielder Mike Aviles is fighting leukemia but was strong enough to join her twin sister Maiya to throw out the first pitch before Thursday's game. The video says it all; one of the best moments of the season.
4. Toronto Blue Jays win again. Ryan Goins, giving Troy Tulowitzki a day off at shortstop, was the hero, with a three-run homer in the second inning as the Jays beat the A's 4-2. That's 11 in a row, their second 11-game winning streak of the season, making them the first team since the 1954 Indians to have two separate winning streaks of at least 11 games. The Blue Jays caught a break when AL ERA leader Sonny Gray was scratched with back spasms. Yes, everything is going their way right now. The Jays drew nearly 47,000 for the afternoon game. Baseball fever in Toronto!
5. The New York Mets win again. They completed a four-game sweep of the Rockies as the offense exploded for 12 runs in a 12-3 win. Thanks for showing up, Colorado. Mets fans can only hope this quote from Kelly Johnson doesn't send the team into a sudden downward spiral: "I think we'd be a tough team in the playoffs." Hey, I know that's looking way ahead, but he's right. Anyway, that's 11 wins in 13 games for the Mets. And they're only third-hottest team right now. Amazing.