I stayed up for that absolutely brutal 10-inning loss against the Padres Tuesday night and woke up joyless. But personal sadness aside, Kris Bryant’s two-homer game in the loss is an extremely encouraging sign.
Bryant received a cortisone shot over the weekend in order to reduce inflammation and minimize pain in his right knee, an injury the former MVP has been addresing since before the All-Star break. Right on cue, KB smacked two homers and said afterwards it was “nice going up there and not having to think about [the knee].”
Bryant on returning from knee soreness with 2 HRs pic.twitter.com/QT11lQKgpY
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) September 11, 2019
Bryant hasn’t been able to keep his balance through his swing, he and Joe Maddon said last weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers. Of course, not being able to maintain a balanced swing probably contribued to KB’s ~50 wRC+ stretch since the middle of August.
That certainly wasn’t an issue Tuesday night when he attacked a high 100 mph fastball up in the zone. My eyes lit up when he turned on this fastball because not only did it suggest that his knee was feeling good, but it also showed just how good he can down the stretch if healthy.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 11, 2019
Pitchers have been attacking Bryant up in the strike zone with fastballs for the majority of the year. We noted here at Cubs Insider back in June that he was successfully adjusting to those high fastballs, which was marked by a lower launch angle against such pitches. Tuesday night was proof of what Bryant can do, and having him (mostly) pain-free down the stretch is exactly the boost this team needs.