The Chicago Cubs fans who have been repeatedly told to be patient as the Cubs' young talent continues to develop in the minor leagues finally got their chance to see the first of Chicago's prized young prospects.
Javier Baez made his debut in Colorado, batting second and playing second base for the NL Central's last place team. And it took extra innings at Coors Field before Baez made his presence felt at the big league level. But did he ever take advantage of the bonus opportunity.
Baez sent a home run over the fence in right center field in the top of the 12th inning on Tuesday night to put the Cubs ahead 6-5. And that score held up as a final to earn the Cubs a win. Baez became the first player to hit an extra innings home run in his Major League debut since Miguel Cabrera hit a walk-off in 2003. That is not bad company to be in.
On top of the little piece of history linking he and Cabrera, Baez became the first Cub to hit a home run in extra innings of his Major League debut in the team's long and storied history. The home run came on a fastball and went sailing over the right center field fence without any chance of a Rockies outfielder having a play on the ball.
Strike Out Woes
Prior to the at-bat in the 12th inning, Baez had struck out three times on the night. Brett Anderson got the start for Colorado and gave Baez trouble all night with sliders running in and underneath the rookies' hands. Baez repeatedly took very hard and violent hacks at the ball, but could not connect. He didn't change his approach though, and he finally got the bat on the ball.
He did put the ball in play three times. In the at-bat before his home run, Baez lined a very loud out to a similar spot in the ballpark to where his home run would eventually come. But the shot was a little lower than the home run and was caught by a defender. Baez finished the night 1-for-6.
Hector Rondon earned the win for Chicago after pitching the 11th and then Carlos Villanueva earned his second save of the season with two strikeouts in the bottom of the 12th. In all, 16 pitchers were used in the game between both teams and they threw 373 pitches. Baez expects to be in the lineup again Wednesday when these two teams get together for another one.