Here’s some scary news for the National League.
For the first time in a long time, Kris Bryant looks locked in at the plate.
The Chicago Cubs slugger delivered his second career three-homer game in their dominant 14-6 victory against the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
In the process, he pulled off a truly rare feat.
Unusual hat trick
Bryant really did a number on Washington’s MLB-worst bullpen.
In the seventh inning, he hit a two-run home run off Justin Miller. In the eighth, he went back-to-back with Kyle Schwarber against Kyle Barraclough. Then in the ninth, Bryant completed his hat trick when he hit another two-run blast off Matt Grace.
In doing so, Bryant became only the 12th player in MLB history to homer in three consecutive innings. And just the second to do it in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
The @Cubs Kris Bryant had a three-homer game, going yard in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings.
He's the 12th player in history to homer in three straight innings and the second to do it in the 7th, 8th, and 9th, along with J.D. Martinez in September 2017. #EverybodyIn
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) May 18, 2019
The exclusive group includes one other Cub.
On Aug. 10, 2002, Sammy Sosa hit successive three-run homers in the third, fourth and fifth innings of a game at Coors Field.
‘Taking candy from a baby’
Some might say Bryant’s achievement is less impressive coming against Washington’s dreadful relief corps.
Someone in the Cubs clubhouse might actually agree.
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) May 18, 2019
Washington’s bullpen entered the game with an MLB-worst 6.20 ERA. That number jumped to 6.82 after they allowed 11 more earned runs in three innings against Chicago. All this came after Max Scherzer posted a quality start.
Is Kris Bryant back?
Nationals struggles aside, Bryant will take the positives here.
His 2018 season was spoiled by a shoulder injury that limited his power and playing time. The results were career lows in homers (13) and games played (102).
His 2019 didn’t start too hot either. In April, he hit just .230/.355/.420 with three homers. In May though, it appears he's finally turned the corner. Bryant entered Friday hitting .327/.476/.714 and now has eight homers this month.
What’s most encouraging is the return of his power stroke. Bryant has been driving the ball to all fields much like he did during his MVP season in 2016.
It sure feels like he’s back.
Friday’s performance may have been Bryant’s way of making that official.
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