By Jack Ryan
Mired in a 1-for-14 slump over the first four games of the World Series, Kris Bryant wasn’t producing at the plate like the MVP candidate he was during the regular season.
That’s all seemed to change over the past two games – and with it, the Chicago Cubs fortunes have brightened considerably.
Bryant got the Cubs on the board in Game 5 with a solo home run off Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer. And he did the same last night in Game 6, blasting an 0-2 curveball from Josh Tomlin into the left field stands to give Chicago an early lead in the top of the first.
“My favorite pitch to hit is the hanging curveball,” Bryant said. “Usually if you just put your swing on it and it’s hanging up there, there’s a good chance it’s going to go pretty far.”
“K.B. set the tone,” Cubs catcher David Ross said, noting the hit came after the first two batters made outs. “We seem to loosen up if he goes deep. He sure did.”
After hitting better than .300 in each of the first two playoff rounds, he had just one hit – a single – in the first four games of the World Series.
But after homering off Bauer in Game 5, he hit the ball hard every time up Tuesday night, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored as the Cubs rolled to a 9-3 victory that tied the series at three games apiece.
“It’s huge,” said Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward, who knows a few things about struggling offensively.
“You’re going to go through times when you don’t do too well, or you may have some slumps or get outpitched. Just keep going up there and having your at-bats, keep having your same approach and keep trying to make little adjustments like you do during the season.”
Now, as the two teams head to a seventh and deciding game of the World Series on Wednesday night, the Cubs have one of their most important hitters back in the groove.
“Anybody who plays this game grows up dreaming of winning a World Series,” Bryant said. “We get to play in a Game 7 tomorrow; that’s pretty special.”