Kris Bryant proves he isn’t afraid to show his emotions on field
When Kris Bryant hits a home run, he may not always show his excitement, but believe him, it’s there.
“You see [Fernando] Tatís [Jr.] hitting home runs and you see his excitement,” Bryant said pregame. “I hit a homer and trust me, I might be happier than him running around the bases, but I don’t show it.”
Monday night in Atlanta, the case was different.
After hitting a grand slam to tie the game, Bryant showed some emotion as he rounded the bases. It was a big moment from the Cubs who rallied from a 4-run deficit, and rallied from a deficit again later, but fell to the Braves 8-7 in the series opener.
“I’ve never been the guy to express how I felt inside, because, I don’t know, it’s just who I am,” Bryant said. “There’s no problem with people being happy for their successes on the field. But yeah, it’s not like I’m scared, or anybody’s scared to, it’s just different personalities have different ways of showing it. I think it’s important to appreciate everyone for who they are.”
Bryant’s 3rd inning grand slam was the sixth of his career and it was his sixth home run of the season. It continues the hot start to the season where he’s slashing .289/.375/.618 with 16 RBI.
“I think he’s off to a good start and having some fun,” David Ross said. “When you’re playing like he’s playing, it’s a fun game. Then to bring us back from that deficit with one swing of the bat was huge.
“It’s nice to see emotion.”
Willson Contreras hit a 2-run home run in the 7th inning to get the Cubs back within a run but they couldn’t complete the comeback.
Nico leading off
Ross mixed things up at the top of the lineup on Monday.
For the first time this season, Ian Happ did not lead off in a game he started, as Ross instead turned to Nico Hoerner at the top of his lineup card.
“I think it’s just mixing some stuff up; I mean he’s swinging the ball well, just take a little bit off Happer’s plate,” Ross said.
As far as his leadoff man going forward, David Ross wasn’t committed to a change just yet.
“I was just gonna evaluate it day-to-day,” Ross said. “Really, this was without Javy [Báez] in there, seeing what we could do with the lineup and mix and match some things where some of the data on Morton may make some sense for that. I always match it up where it’s conducive to the guy we’re facing.”
For Hoerner it was a comfortable setting.
“It’s something I’ve done before,” Hoerner said. “I think, for me, I really just tried to treat it as normal as possible and then I swung at the first pitch just like I would in a normal at-bat if it’s a good pitch to hit and go from there.
“It’s exciting. I wanna impact this team and help in any way I can and if that’s something I can do to help, then obviously that’s a great opportunity. We’ll go day by day with that. I feel ready to do that whenever asked.”
Day off for Báez
Late in Sunday’s loss to the Brewers, Báez spent some time with David Ross and the trainer in between innings doing some running drills and stretching. He stayed in the game but was left out of the lineup on Monday in Atlanta.
“He’s a little sore today,” Ross said. “I checked in with him, we wanna be cautious with a little bit of the hammy tightness.”
Báez was available off the bench, but Ross didn’t use him in the loss.
“Whenever I see hesitation like that from a player, I think it’s just safer to give him a day and reassess tomorrow,” Ross said.
Trevor Megill was called up prior to Monday’s game and he made his debut memorable.
He pitched a scoreless 6th inning and struck out the first batter he faced, Ozzie Albies. He worked out of some trouble, too.
After the first strikeout, he walked Travis d’Arnaud and allowed a single to Swanson. He induced a flyout to Austin Riley and struck out Guillermo Heredia to escape the jam.
“Looked good, pounding the zone, I thought that was nice,” Ross said. “Showed he could handle the moment. Big league debut in that environment, pretty big crowd that not a lot of us played in front of in a long time, it was nice to see.”