Kris Bryant set all kinds of records in this game, and he needed to, as the Cubs won by only three runs. It came after another pair of losses, making the team record 49-26. They still had a 10-game lead in the N.L. Central.
The old saying goes: "Watch baseball long enough and you'll see something you've never seen before."
That was true in Monday's 11-8 Cubs win over the Reds, courtesy of Kris Bryant:
Bryant is the first player in Major League history with 3 home runs and 2 doubles in the same game.— Reds Media Relations (@RedsPR) June 28, 2016
That's only one of the two things Bryant did Monday that had never before been accomplished:
Kris Bryant: #Cubs franchise record 16 Total Bases tonight (3 HR, 2 Doubles)— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 28, 2016
The previous team record was 14, held by three players: Aramis Ramirez (September 16, 2004, also at GABP), George Mitterwald (April 17, 1974) and Ernie Banks (May 29, 1962). In case you were wondering, the major-league record for total bases in a game is 19, set by Shawn Green of the Dodgers May 23, 2002 (four homers, a double, a single). It's just the 19th time in major-league history that a player has had 16 or more total bases in a game. Here are all 19:
|1||Kris Bryant||2016-06-27||CHC||CIN||W 11-8||5||5||4||5||2||0||3||16|
|2||Josh Hamilton||2012-05-08||TEX||BAL||W 10-3||5||5||4||5||1||0||4||18|
|3||Carlos Delgado||2003-09-25||TOR||TBD||W 10-8||4||4||4||4||0||0||4||16|
|4||Shawn Green||2002-05-23||LAD||MIL||W 16-3||6||6||6||6||1||0||4||19|
|5||Mike Cameron||2002-05-02||SEA||CHW||W 15-4||6||5||4||4||0||0||4||16|
|6||Edgardo Alfonzo||1999-08-30||NYM||HOU||W 17-1||6||6||6||6||1||0||3||16|
|7||Mark Whiten||1993-09-07 (2)||STL||CIN||W 15-2||5||5||4||4||0||0||4||16|
|8||Bob Horner||1986-07-06||ATL||MON||L 8-11||5||5||4||4||0||0||4||16|
|9||Mike Schmidt||1976-04-17||PHI||CHC||W 18-16||6||6||4||5||0||0||4||17|
|10||Fred Lynn||1975-06-18||BOS||DET||W 15-1||6||6||4||5||0||1||3||16|
|11||Willie Mays||1961-04-30||SFG||MLN||W 14-4||5||5||4||4||0||0||4||16|
|12||Rocky Colavito||1959-06-10||CLE||BAL||W 11-8||5||4||5||4||0||0||4||16|
|13||Joe Adcock||1954-07-31||MLN||BRO||W 15-7||5||5||5||5||1||0||4||18|
|14||Gil Hodges||1950-08-31||BRO||BSN||W 19-3||6||6||5||5||0||0||4||17|
|15||Pat Seerey||1948-07-18 (1)||CHW||PHA||W 12-11||7||6||4||4||0||0||4||16|
|16||Chuck Klein||1936-07-10||PHI||PIT||W 9-6||5||5||4||4||0||0||4||16|
|17||Jimmie Foxx||1932-07-10||PHA||CLE||W 18-17||10||9||4||6||1||0||3||16|
|18||Lou Gehrig||1932-06-03||NYY||PHA||W 20-13||6||6||4||4||0||0||4||16|
|19||Ty Cobb||1925-05-05||DET||SLB||W 14-8||6||6||4||6||1||0||3||16|
Some pretty good company in there, including six Hall of Famers. That includes all 14 of the four-homer games in MLB history since 1913, as far as baseball-reference's database goes back (there were two others previous to 1913), as well as five other three-homer games, including Bryant's.
And here are all three of Bryant's home runs in one convenient video:
Bryant is now leading the National League in runs scored, tied for the league lead in home runs, fourth in total bases and second in bWAR (3.6). Not that he didn't have this chance before, but you'd certainly have to now consider him one of the leading candidates for National League MVP. Here's what Bryant told Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies after the game about his historic night:
More on Bryant's five-hit night, the first such game of his career:
Kris Bryant tonight:— Daren Willman (@darenw) June 28, 2016
105.1 MPH 403ft HR
106.4 MPH double
107.1 MPH 444ft HR
105.1 MPH 410ft HR
88.7 MPH double
Nice night at the plate #Cubs
Finally, credit to Bryant for not taking a curtain call -- many of the thousands of Cubs fans at Great American Ball Park were cheering for him to do so after the third homer, but it would have been really bad form to show up an opponent in their home ballpark. Bryant's just not that sort of guy.
Even more fun facts about Bryant's big day:
Youngest #Cubs to hit 3 HR in game— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 28, 2016
24 y, 175 d Kris Bryant (6/27/2016)
24 y, 185 d Ernie Banks (8/4/1955)
25 y, 108 d Lee Walls (4/24/1958)
Kris Bryant this season vs Reds (8 games):— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 28, 2016
.471/.538/1.206, 13 Runs, 4 Doubles, 7 HR, 17 RBI#Cubs
Kris Bryant: first #Cubs player with 5 XBH in game since George Gore 7/9/1885. Gore's box score (Chicago Tribune): pic.twitter.com/9XoFTMbvB0— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 28, 2016
More important was the Cubs' offense breaking out with 11 runs and 17 hits, including two other home runs, one by Anthony Rizzo, the other from Jake Arrieta, who might be having the best year at the plate for any N.L. pitcher: .294/.368/.500 (10-for-34), with a double, two home runs, four walks and six RBI. Baseball-reference.com says he's provided 0.6 WAR as a hitter. (As I've said before, I'm still a DH guy, but sure, it's great to see Arrieta hit like this.)
Jake's pitching Monday night was still a bit shaky. He struggled with command, issuing four walks. This statistic might surprise you:
#Cubs starts with 4+ Walks this season— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 28, 2016
6 Jake Arrieta
2 Kyle Hendricks
2 Jason Hammel
1 John Lackey
Jake also allowed a two-run homer to Joey Votto, which made the score 8-5 after five innings and prompted Joe Maddon to remove him from the game after he finished that inning for a pinch-hitter. Jake threw 93 pitches and, as the case has been for several of his recent starts, simply wasn't sharp, and I'm certain he'd admit that. While I'm not "worried" about him -- he's still got a 2.10 ERA, tied with his teammate Jon Lester for third in the National League -- it's the first time he's been above 2.00 in the ERA category since September 5, 2015, a string of 21 starts underneath that benchmark.
Even though the starting rotation as a whole has been excellent this year, it's really important for Arrieta to get back on track. Sure, he's not really "off" track because the Cubs keep winning his starts (13-3 in games started by Jake, with his personal W/L mark at 12-2), and we probably can't expect him to duplicate his 2015 second half, which was historic. But I'd like to see him get command back, so he doesn't issue so many walks. He had 21 walks in 68 innings over his first 10 starts, and 19 in 35 innings over his last six outings. That's not a good trend, as I'm sure Jake himself would agree.
Beyond the homers Monday night, the Cubs got good offensive evenings from Jason Heyward (2-for-5, two runs) and Willson Contreras (2-for-4, a walk). The bullpen... eh, another story. The Cubs kept piling up runs, and they had to, because the pen kept letting the Reds get close. Trevor Cahill and Travis Wood were each touched up for runs, and when newly-acquired Joel Peralta allowed Votto his second homer of the game, Maddon sent Hector Rondon in to nail down the last out. Fortunately, Hector threw only three pitches, so he should be available for Tuesday's game.
This series appears to be at the perfect time for the slumping Cubs. They've absolutely crushed the ball against the Reds this year, winning seven of eight and outscoring the Reds 71-28 -- and 13 of those Reds runs were in one game, the only game the Reds have won from the Cubs this year.
And both the Cardinals and Pirates lost Monday, so the Cubs increase their division lead over those teams to 10 and 13 games, respectively.
Cubs walk watch: They didn't need to walk much in this game with all the hitting. Three free passes bring the season total to 323, or 4.31 per game. Pace: 698. At the current pace the Cubs will break the team record (650) in game 151, September 20 at Wrigley Field, against who else? The Reds.