LOS ANGELES – By the time the Cubs allowed the Dodgers to finally begin their scheduled fireworks show Friday night, the smoke still had not cleared from Kris Bryant’s pyrotechnics.
Two more home runs – including the 10th-inning game-winner in a 6-4 victory over the Dodgers – have the Cubs’ young slugger on such a torrid power pace that when his 10th inning shot cleared the wall, thousands of Cub fans from nearly every seating section of Dodger Stadium began chanting, “MVP!” “MVP!” “MVP!”
Two thousand miles from Wrigley Field.
“It’s cool to hear it,” said Bryant, who took over the National League lead with his 34th and 35th home runs – with 35 games left in the season. “You grow up hearing that kind of stuff on TV, and to experience it in real life is pretty cool.
“It’s humbling, and just keeps me going,” said Bryant – as teammate Miguel Montero picked up the chant in the clubhouse behind him as he talked to the media. “It keeps me trying to do more and do whatever I can. It’s pretty cool.”
Another week like the last one, and the chants will become more coronation than suggestion.
Over his last eight games – seven of them on the road – Bryant is 18-for-38 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs. He has raised his season average 14 points to .303 and his RBI total to 89. He already led the majors in runs scored (now 107).
“I don’t know if I’ve played with someone having a season like this one,” said right fielder Jason Heyward, whose leadoff double in the ninth led to the tying run after a pair of wild pitches by Dodger closer Kenley Jansen. “I played with some really good players, some Hall of Famers. It’s a fun season to watch him have – fun to watch him and Rizz push each other and kind of protect each other in a certain way.”
Anthony Rizzo also drove in his 88th run of the season with a two-out single in the fifth.
Bryant’s 1.202 OPS in August is second in the National League only to ex-Cub DJ LeMahieu (1.239).
“I never really look at my season, how I’m doing during it,” Bryant said. “It’s kind of something that I just reflect on in the offseason when I’m not playing – go over what I did well and what I didn’t do well.
“I feel good, and that’s the most important thing.”
The Cubs improved to 5-2 during the three-city road trip with two games to go – winning for the ninth time in 11 games overall, and 20th time in 24.
Their 14-game lead over the Cardinals means the Cubs could go, say,
The Cubs trailed until the ninth and didn’t lead Friday until Bryant’s second homer.
By the time Aroldis Chapman got two strikes on Chase Utley before finishing him off for his 30th save of the season, fans were on their feet throughout the stadium cheering for the out.
“We definitely notice it,” Bryant said. “It’s huge for us. To come into an environment like this, where Dodger fans are pretty loyal to their team, and have some Cub fans here, too, is great for us.”