PHILADELPHIA – When Kris Bryant drove a two-out double to the left-center gap for a run in the Cubs’ 5-1 victory over the Phillies in Friday’s doubleheader opener, he set a Cubs rookie record for RBIs.
And by the time he delivered a two-out, two-run homer and a run-scoring single in the 7-3 nightcap, he had 90 RBIs in just 130 games.
He broke the franchise record of 86 he shared with Billy Williams (1961) and Geovany Soto (2008) – both of whom went on to win the National League Rookie of the Year award.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Maddon said. “He wasn’t even here the first eight games. It just shows that when there’s people on base, he becomes an even better hitter. That’s been obvious from the beginning of the year.”
In fact, Bryant’s batting average jumps 30 points when men in scoring position and nearly 40 with men on base.
“To get guys with that kind of mentality makes all the difference in the world,” Maddon said.
Kyle Schwarber, the rookie with just two months of major-league time, missed a week because of a sore rib cage, returned to make one start before sitting for another two days.
So, naturally, the first two pitches he saw in his return for Friday’s nightcap, were hit over the wall in center and left-center, respectively, the first two innings for a quick 3-0 Cubs lead. And he walked and scored the next time up.
Schwarber has 15 home runs, 24 walks and 41 RBIs in 51 big-league games.
Note: Rookie right-fielder Jorge Soler (oblique) went 1-for-2 with a double and walk in advanced-A Myrtle Beach’s playoff victory Friday night in his first game of a minor-league rehab assignment. The win in the loser-out game means Soler’s rehab stint will continue into the best-of-five Carolina League finals.