Nico Hoerner put on a defensive clinic in Cubs win over Brewers
More than once Saturday afternoon, Ian Happ was getting ready to charge a ball that looked destined to land somewhere in left field.
“[Then] you see a glove fly up out of nowhere and snag it,” Happ said with a smile.
That’s the kind of defensive masterclass Nico Hoerner put on display at Wrigley Field. Seemingly anytime the ball was hit near him, he was making a stellar play on the ball, turning double plays or robbing Brewers hitters of a base.
“I don’t think Nico Hoerner gets enough credit in the league, in MLB,” Saturday’s starter Marcus Stroman said. “What he’s been doing is pretty incredible this year. Playing every single day. That guy doesn’t give away a single AB and he’s incredible defensively. He’s making plays to shift momentum and getting me out of big-time jams.
“What Nico’s been doing this year is incredibly special and I just wanna make sure he gets his praise.”
There was a slick double play he turned in the 5th inning.
“That was nice,” Hoerner said. “Feel good working with Nick [Madrigal] and he turns it as well as anyone I’ve ever played with. A lot of confidence in him, for sure.”
Then there were a pair of jumping snags to end both the 6th and 7th innings. The one in the 6th inning stole a hit from Andrew McCutchen and stopped a Brewer rally.
“Nice top spin helped me out,” he said. “Came back to me.”
In the 9th it was a lineout from Luis Urías that kept the Brewers at bay and allowed the Cubs to pull off a rally and go on to to win the game.
But his favorite? His 6th inning play in shallow right field on the shift to nab Christian Yelich and keep the leadoff hitter off the bases.
Hoerner charged the ball to his left, scooped the ball, spun and looped the ball to Patrick Wisdom at first base who picked the ball to nab Yelich.
“That was a tough one,” Hoerner said. “Really nice pick by Wis, too. When you get the soft throws like that, those are actually a lot harder to pick than like a hard throw cause they’re really balanced … nice play by him, too.”
It made Saturday’s game very fun for Hoerner.
“Playing in the middle of the field, take a lot of pride in that everyday,” he said. “With Stro on the mound, you know you’re gonna get action. Tight low scoring game, both teams pitching well and nice to keep some guys off the bases.”
Watch a collection of his defensive wizardry in the video below.