It was an unseasonably chilly night at Wrigley Field on Wednesday when the Chicago Cubs hosted the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox.
The gametime temperature was somewhere in the 50s with rain and plenty of wind in the forecast — but that didn’t stop five home runs from flying out of the ballpark in a 7-3 Cubs win.
After the victory, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon couldn’t help but scratch his head at the way the ball was jumping off the bat — especially on a night where the wind was blowing in.
"I don't know what I'm witnessing. The way the ball is coming off the bat right now, it’s extraterrestrial," Maddon said per NBC Sports Chicago. "It's an E.T. thing going on out there. It's crazy. This is my fifth year here and I know what I've seen. Whenever the wind is blowing in like that, you don't see that. You don't see that."
One home run in particular — a blast to right center from White Sox catcher James McCann — caught Maddon off guard.
"Difficult conditions, winds blowing in at a gale, balls flying out easily," Maddon said. "The home run that McCann hit, my god, that just took off. You could actually see it from the field. You watch the flags [blowing in], it gets there, then all of a sudden it took off like a UFO. It stood still, then it took off.”
McCann’s solo shot in the fourth inning, which cut the Cubs’ lead to 5-2, was the fourth homer of the game. Leury Garcia went yard for the White Sox to lead off the game before Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras belted a grand slam to give his team an early lead in the bottom of the first.
Contreras would add a second dinger, his 15th of the season, in the bottom of the third. And after McCann’s blast in the top of the fourth, Cubs infielder David Bote launched a solo shot to center in the bottom of the inning.
Home runs are up across the sport, leading many to wonder if a change in the composition of the baseball is the culprit for the jump in power hitting.
These days, major league teams also place an added emphasis on hitting the ball in the air — you’ve likely heard the term “launch angle” plenty. That undoubtedly has also played a part in this season’s home run explosion.
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