Cubs outfielder and platoon starter Jake Marisnick was looking forward to facing Brewers left-hander Brett Anderson on Friday, but he never got the chance.
Anderson left after four batters with discomfort in his right knee — after giving up hard-hit doubles to Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo and a hard-hit single to Javy Baez. He was relieved by right-hander Josh Lindblom.
As it turned out, it didn’t matter. With the bases loaded, Marisnick hit a line drive to the wall in left field for a three-run double to highlight a six-run first inning. It was that kind of day for the Cubs, who parlayed 11 extra-base hits — six doubles, a triple and four home runs — into a 15-2 rout before 10,343 fans at Wrigley Field.
‘‘We were putting some good at-bats together off [Anderson], so it would have been good to get an at-bat in there,’’ said Marisnick, who entered the game hitting .333 against lefties (4-for-12) and .100 against righties (1-for-10). ‘‘I think we did a good job, the way we’ve been swinging the last week or so. It was good to see those at-bats throughout the day, even when the left-hander came out.’’
Marisnick added an RBI grounder in a four-run second that gave the Cubs a 10-0 lead and hit a solo homer in the fourth en route to five RBI, tying his career high. Rizzo, Bryant and Willson Contreras also homered, and every starter except David Bote had an extra-base hit as the Cubs (10-9) won their fourth consecutive game.
The Cubs have yet to be defined offensively in 2021, but they’re showing significant signs of heading to the level they expect. After historically low output through the first 13 games — their .166 batting average was the lowest in franchise history — the Cubs have found their groove in the last week. Friday marked the third time in their six games they scored 13 or more runs.
‘‘It’s nice, especially after what we went through to start [the season],’’ Rizzo said. ‘‘It’s still early, but not getting those hits early sucks, and to have these big days where a lot of guys are having big days feels good. [It] lets us all relax and exhale a little bit and maybe not grip the bat as hard and put as much pressure as we do. It’s the nature of the game. We all try to be perfect, and it’s impossible. These big days really help everyone relax.’’
The Cubs are more than just hitting safely. Their 11 extra-base hits were more than their total hits in all but one of their first 13 games. Their 37 total bases Friday were the most in the National League this season, eclipsing the 36 total bases they had against the Braves last Saturday. The Cubs, in fact, have more total bases in their last six games (124) than they had in their first 13 games (120).
‘‘You look at the season we had last year, everybody pressed and tried to do too much,’’ Marisnick said. ‘‘We’ve got a lot of games left [this season]. You’re seeing guys relax and put some good at-bats together.
‘‘I always hate the beginning of the season because stuff fluctuates and you put a little more pressure than normal. If we’re 100 games into the season [and] guys go through struggles like this, it’s not as amplified. You do it at the beginning of the season, and it seems like the end of the world. And it’s not. I think you’re starting to see guys settle in and start rolling.’’