CLEVELAND – Steady rain? Cool day? No problem.
When it comes to success in this venue, Kyle Schwarber’s not going to let anything get in his way. Not inexperience, pressure, a still recovering knee, or on Tuesday a little inclement weather. The Cubs’ slugger feels so at home at Progressive Field he might as well call it Wrigley Northeast.
That’s not a overstatment either, since Schwarber continues to find incredible success at the home of the Indians, including two more homers on a rainy day in Cleveland in a Cubs’ 10-3 victory over the hosts.
That now puts Schwarber at an even .500 batting average for his career in Cleveland, which includes four homers and eight RBIs. It’s not like his visits have been during critical moments either.
In 2015, the first round draft pick from the year before made his major league debut at Progressive Field on June 16th, seeing time in all three games of the interleague series. Schwarber’s first hit came the next night, in fact he got four that evening in total along with 2 RBIs in a 17-0 Cubs victory in front of a number of family members who came up from his hometown of Middletown, Ohio.
His first homer came the next night which completed an incredible start to his career – 6-of-9 at the plate with a homer and four RBIs.
About 15 months and a major knee injury later, Schwarber managed to top that performance under the most unusual, pressure filled situation of his young career. A torn ACL early in the season figured to take the outfielder off the roster until 2017, but quick healing had him ready for designated hitter duties in the World Series. So in four games, Schwarber was in the lineup for the Cubs in games played in Cleveland, and he promptly went 7-of-16 at the plate with a double, 2 RBIs, and three walks.
His last hit was the best, smacking a single through a shifted infield to right in the tenth inning to start the Cubs’ World Series winning rally that netted two runs.
Tuesday only continued that great stretch of baseball at Progressive Field as Schwarber got the Cubs on the board with a line drive shot into the seat in right in the second inning. His next one two innings later also found the seats in right, giving him six homers for the season, and helping the Cubs to their fourth-straight win in Cleveland dating back to Game 2 of the 2016 World Series.
Those blasts have raised Schwarber’s average to .302 on the year in what’s looking like a nice comeback for the fourth-year player, who struggled for average most of 2017. Last April, Schwarber hit just .204 and an even worse May force a short stint at Triple-A Iowa before the All-Star Break.
This year the outfielder’s turning around that narrative, though he’s keeping another one going at a ballpark that’s truly been the friendly confines in his young career.