CHICAGO – This was the moment that he was hoping for the last few weeks and he may have seen coming from afar on Friday.
That’s when David Ross was away from the team due to a one-game suspension given after pitcher Ryan Tepera threw at Brandon Woodruff against the Brewers on Tuesday in Milwaukee. So on Friday, the manager watched on TV, and despite a 4-2 Cubs’ loss to the Braves, saw some things that encouraged him.
“I thought the at-bats were good yesterday,” said Ross. “I thought the guys continued to work, commanding the strike zone decent.”
Indeed Ross saw the future clearly, because after mostly struggling the first two-and-a-half weeks of the season, the Cubs’ bats exploded on Saturday.
In their best display of offense so far this young season, the Cubs had 14 hits, six of which were home runs in scoring 13 runs. That season-high output on the scoreboard led to an easy 13-4 win that, for one day, showed the true offensive potential of a club that’s struggled at the plate so far in 2021.
Willson Contreras, who homered in the previous two games, bashed out two more long balls on Saturday afternoon to boost his season total to five. Kris Bryant matched him in what’s easily his best offensive game of the year, hitting two homers and driving in four RBI.
Javier Baez (3 RBI) and David Bote (4 RBI) also went deep for the team in their most prolific run-scoring game since September 15th, 2019 when they got 16 runs against the Pirates. In the shortened 2020 season, the Cubs reached double digits three times but never got to lucky No. 13.
Trevor Williams was appreciative of the support in his third start with the club as he allowed just one run in five innings of work. While Atlanta got a trio of runs off the bullpen, it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the Cubs’ offense that woke up in a big way on Saturday.
“This is a long season. If we continue to get these types of progress and the things that we continue to focus on a nightly basis, I think this offense is going to be really good,” said Ross, who saw this output before it happened.