Frank the Tank: Frank Schwindel’s heroics and strong play lead Cubs again
Andy Green might’ve said it best pregame.
“As long as Frank Schwindel keeps hitting home runs, we’re gonna be OK,” Green said.
He was right on Saturday afternoon.
Schwindel had a home run, then singled on a grounder to short that was upheld on review that scored Andrew Romine and gave the Cubs a 7-6, walk-off win over the Pirates. Schwindel’s first career walk-off hit gave the Cubs their fifth straight win and second straight series win.
“That was awesome,” Schwindel said. “That was the loudest I’ve heard it here … That was as cool of an experience as I’ve ever had.”
Named National League Rookie of the Month in August, Schwindel has continued his hot streak into September. He’s 8-for-18 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI in 3 games this month. He’s making the most of his opportunity with the Cubs, posting a 1.081 OPS since he joined the Cubs.
With 2 outs in the 9th and runners on first and third in a 6-6 ball game, Schwindel ripped a grounder to Kevin Newman at short. Schwindel darted towards first as Newman reached into the hole to field the ball and then made a jump throw to first baseman Colin Moran. The throw pushed Moran off the bag and Schwindel slid into first, shaping his body to avoid the tag. He was called safe and after a review the play was upheld to give the Cubs the win.
“He’s fun to watch, isn’t he?” Green said after the game. “What a blast. You don’t see a lot of first baseman going first into first base, avoiding a tag. That was crazy close. He was fired up and confident that he did not get tagged and didn’t feel anything. It’s fun to watch the guys walk one off like that.”
When Schwindel first joined the Cubs, he knew what he was getting into, replacing Anthony Rizzo at first base.
“Obviously no one can replace him,” Schwindel said back in early August. “He’s obviously an unbelievable player, Gold Glove, All-Star and obviously he’s one of the most liked guys in the city. Obviously, I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily replacing him by any means, but I’m here and they put me in the lineup, so I’m gonna do the best I can and hopefully the fans like me even half as much as him some day.”
With heroics and streaks like he’s putting together, he’s very likely earning a place in the hearts of Cubs’ fans. At the very least his teammates and coaches have taken notice of what he can do.
“He’s an awesome dude, awesome teammate and a hell of a player obviously,” Kyle Hendricks said. “It’s just fun to watch him play. Puts great swings on balls, picks his spots to be aggressive. Just gets the job done.”
That’s what Schwindel is going to keep doing. He’s not going to let the moment get to him and is just trying to be himself.
“I’m just having as much fun as I can, trying to put some good at-bats together,” Schwindel said. “It is what is and whatever happens, happens, but we’re gonna work hard and enjoy every single day.”