Kyle Schwarber wasn’t the reason the Cubs lost Game 4.
They lost Game 4 because Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy went supernova. They lost Game 4 because they loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning and could only push across a solitary run. They lost Game 4 because Bartolo Colón is the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball.
But with those formalities out of the way ... boy was Schwarber a disaster tonight. I realize he’s in the lineup for his bat, but did he somehow miss every single Little League practice on reading fly balls? Is he more used to the physics of beach balls? Does he not believe that discretion is the better part of valor?
In the first inning he charged a Wilmer Flores fly ball and actually got there in time, but the ball struck his forearm instead of the leather of his glove.
In the sixth inning Flores once again hit a ball in front of Schwarber. This was a tough, sinking liner, but rather than field the ball on the hop and concede a single, Schwarber decided to attempt the spectacular. This time after he failed, the ball rolled all the way to the wall for a triple.
This wasn’t just an isolated game for Schwarber either, as he was almost as calamitous in the field during Game 3. In the first inning last night he barely made a catch to end the inning, after badly misjudging where the ball was.
In the seventh inning, eschewing the outfielder fundamental of taking a step backwards upon the crack of the bat, he took a couple of steps in on Yoenis Céspedes’s liner. Seeing the ball going over his head he quickly retreated, but was only able to get his glove up and have the ball deflect off of it.
He compounded his error when he retrieved the ball, throwing to third and letting Céspedes advance to second. When the next batter grounded to first, instead of ending the inning with a double play, Anthony Rizzo had to try and throw Daniel Murphy out at home, and was unsuccessful.
Schwarber knocked in one of the Cubs’ three runs tonight with a ground out, and scored one of their two runs last night with a home run, so it’s not like he was all bad. He’s a really good young power hitter. But I cannot remember the last time I watched a fielder so clearly out of their depth, without even the basic tools to play their position. His defense will surely improve, but I see a host of remedial drills in his future to get there.
Photo via Getty