Javier Baez has been a true jack-of-all-trades for the Chicago Cubs over the past two seasons, playing several positions and batting wherever manager Joe Maddon needs him in the lineup.
Baez has also been a human highlight reel, raking up memorable play after memorable play. Among them a steal of home plate during the 2016 NLCS that cemented him as the breakout star of October.
We specifically note the steal of home because Baez went to that well again during Wednesday’s game against the Pirates, pulling off another exceptional home plate heist that worked the Wrigley Field crowd into a frenzy.
Baez was at third base after he fittingly stole second and advanced on a throwing error by Pirates catcher Chris Stewart. The steal of home came after what appeared to be a busted squeeze bunt attempt by pitcher Jose Quintana. When Quintana turned to bunt, he whiffed, leaving Baez vulnerable. However, Baez was able to bait Stewart into another throw, which allowed him to race home with relative ease.
Javier Baez stole home. I love the way he plays. Wow. pic.twitter.com/TVejtmk8Em
— Chicago Sports News (@ChiSportUpdates) August 31, 2017
It was a beautiful thing to watch. Well, unless you’re a Pirates fan and especially if you’re Chris Stewart. That was a really rough sequence for the veteran backstop, but he’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last that Baez makes to look silly.
Baez has settled in recently as the Cubs everyday shortstop with Addison Russell out due to a foot injury. It was learned Wednesday that Russell suffered a setback, meaning the job could be Baez’s for the foreseeable future. Either way, he’s always going to have a big role because of his big play ability and because of the energy he provides.
In this instance, Baez’s steal fueled a barrage of must-see highlights for the Cubs. In the very next inning, center fielder Jon Jay turned in back-to-back catches that had a high degree of difficulty.
In the next half inning, it was the Cubs bats that did the damage as Ian Happ connected for a home run that had historical significance for the Cubs.
Cubs set franchise record with six players 20 or more homers in same season. Bryant ,Schwarber. Rizzo, Baez, Contreras and Happ
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) August 31, 2017
Unlike the 2016 season when the Cubs seemingly clicked on all cylinders throughout the entire season, it’s been rare to see them play at that level for any sustained period in 2017. For an inning plus on Wednesday though we saw that they’re still very much capable of clicking again when it matters most.
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