Kris Bryant Ties Ernie Banks for Most Homers in First 5 Years as Cub
Kris Bryant isn’t a drinker, but he may be lining up shots for his teammates after getting such good results from his own last week. Okay, cortisone injections aren’t to be taken or given that lightly. But it does appear as though reducing the pain and inflammation in his right knee has gotten Bryant back to the MVP-level production people have come to expect.
Some people, anyway.
KB went 3-for-3 Saturday with his 29th homer of the season, the third shot he’s hit since getting the, uh, shot. It was also the Cubs’ 235th of the season, tying a franchise single-season record. And it was the 136th of Bryant’s career, tying him with the late Ernie Banks for most in a player’s first five seasons with the Cubs. That seems good.
“That’s pretty special,” Bryant shared with reporters after the game. “A guy like that, I’ve got to pinch myself sometimes and be proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish.”
But the blowout of the Pirates wasn’t just the KB Show. Ben Zobrist had gotten the Cubs to within one home run of their season record and Nico Hoerner actually hit the dinger to put them over the top. Those two, far enough apart in age to be father and son, have brought a new dimension to the Cubs. Or maybe they’ve added to what Nicholas Castellanos — who doubled twice — started when he came over in a trade.
“The sparks with Ben and Nico, and the stuff like that, it’s been really kind of what we needed,” Bryant said. “I just hope we can kind of ride it all the way to the end of October.”
Castellanos reminded his new teammates of a hunger they may have forgotten about, Zobrist was that familiar steadying force, and Hoerner brought it all together with a youthful exuberance these Cubs have lost with experience. Two games against a Pirates team that appears for all the world to be mailing it in doesn’t a story make, but the Cubs do seem to be flashing a little more emotion out there.
They’ll need to keep tapping into that over these next two weeks, too, since not every team is going to roll over for them. Or maybe it’s a matter of the Cubs just keeping this up and beating every opposing pitcher into submission.