Watch: Heyward Walks it Off, Collects All Three Cubs RBI

Jason Heyward hasn’t exactly been heralded as a big part of the Cubs’ success this season. In fact, he’s often been spoken of like an anchor holding them back from being better and his presence in a playoff lineup has been questioned. Still a Gold Glove-caliber right fielder, Heyward has been utterly lost at the plate for much of the season. The frustration has been painfully evident at times, punctuated by moments of catharsis that have been too few and too far between.

[beautifulquote align=”right”]Change has been afoot. Or perhaps I should say it’s been a foot.[/beautifulquote]

Lately, though, change has been afoot. Or perhaps I should say it’s been a foot. After ditching the toe-tap timing mechanism meant to slow down his swing, Heyward’s gotten some really promising results. With Sunday’s 3-for-6 effort that saw him drive in all 3 Cubs runs (one on each of his singles), Heyward is batting .295 (18-for-61) since changing his swing on August 14. He’s batting .327 (16-for-49) since taking a four-game break shortly thereafter.

Truth be told, J-Hey’s J-heroics on Sunday — he tied the game in the 4th and 9th innings before winning it in the 13th — looked a lot better on paper than they did in reality. His first and third hits were duck snorts (63 and 66 mph) and the only one he struck well (100 mph) was likely only a hit because the Giants had the infield drawn in. But you know what matters more than exit velo and circumstances: results.

On that front, Heyward and the Cubs showed out over the weekend. By taking three of four, all one-run games, against a potential playoff opponent the Cubs disproved a boatload of narratives all at the same time. Not that it’ll stop the usual suspects from coming up with precious column inches of journalistic toilet paper. Or fans from saying that a guy with a $184 million contract is supposed to get those hits.

As I watched Anthony Rizzo high-stepping his way around third for the winning run and then saw Heyward unleashing a primal scream at the opposite corner, I couldn’t help but flash back to what I’d written earlier Sunday afternoon. Most of that’s because my memory is bad and that was the most recent post on the site, but more was because I just felt so good about the game.

I’d made up my mind to enjoy this home stretch no matter what, but to see the Cubs walk off for the sixth time this season — and fifth since July 31 — on the strength of Heyward’s hit was just…man, it was just awesome. That’s the kind of solid word usage an English degree from a private college gets you, folks.

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