In April, 2016, Chicago Cubs’ outfielder Kyle Schwarber was beginning his sophomore season in Major League Baseball. Just days into the new season, Schwarber exited a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks after a scary collision in the outfield with center fielder Dexter Fowler.
The then-23-year-old Schwarber was rendered out for the entire 2016 season, as tests revealed that he had not only suffered an ankle sprain but had torn multiple ligaments in his knee.
Schwarber made an early and miraculous comeback, hitting.412 with a.500 on-base percentage, helping lead the Cubs to a World Series Championship. It also set up expectations for an exciting and strong return in 2017.
Unfortunately for Schwarber and the Cubs, he hit just.205/.333/.344 in April with only three home runs and nine RBI.
He did not fare much better the next two months, hitting a combined.147/.267/.403 with a decent nine home runs and 19 more RBI. Still his season.171 batting average left a lot to be desired and Schwarber was sent down to Triple-A Iowa on June 22.
Schwarber was incredible during his stint in Triple-A, hitting.343/.477/.714 with four home runs over just 44 at-bats.
Schwarber felt ready when he was called back up Thursday and set to bat fifth in the Cubs’ lineup against the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. Schwarber talked about his time in Triple-A before the game.
“I really just focused on myself and everything about my swing. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m planning on this being me and going out and competing. I’m ready to clean the slate and get back to business.”
Schwarber’s first game back with the big league club didn’t go quite as he’d imagined. Schwarber went 0-4 in his return to the big leagues. He struck out twice, once looking and once swinging, and grounded out to second base twice.
The Cubs used six different pitchers, who allowed a combined 11 runs to the Brewers. Starter Mike Montgomery lasted just 2.1 innings, allowing two runs to score in the first and got the first out in the third inning on a Jonathan Villar strikeout before allowing another three runs to score.
Montgomery was replaced by Jack Leathersich, who then allowed another four runs before finally getting Jesus Aguilar to strike out to end the inning.
Montgomery, Leathersich and the other four pitchers that the Cubs used got very little help offensively from their team.
Kris Bryant grounded into a force out that allowed Javier Baez to score in the bottom of the third inning and a home run to center off the bat of catcher Wilson Contreras in the fourth inning was all the offense the Cubs could muster against Brewers’ starter Zach Davies, who went six innings while allowing just two runs on five hits, and relievers Michael Blazek and Rob Scahill.
It wasn’t the happy return that Schwarber and the Cubs had hoped for, and it left them four-and-a-half games behind the Brewers in their quest to win back-to-back NL Central Titles.
[Featured Image by Justin Berl/Getty Images]