The Cubs and Yankees are now playing in the 18th inning. I wrote this post a couple hours ago, but have been waiting to post it until the game ended. I shall wait no longer. Go Cubs.
One of the many highlights from tonight was Javier Baez's home run in the 2nd inning. After fouling a ball off the top of his foot, Baez hit a very high home run against Yankees pitcher Luis Severino. Aaron Hicks had no idea where the ball was. It was quite humorous.
If you notice, the homer came on a 2-2 count. I was driving and listening to the game. As Pat Hughes described the pitch as an inside fastball, I couldn't believe any pitcher would throw that to Baez—especially because it was a two-strike count. To distract myself from a game I thought the Cubs would lose, I looked up Javy's career numbers with two strikes. Specifically, I wanted to see how many of his home runs came on two-strike counts. The results surprised me.
So, Baez only has 28 career home runs. But it's kinda surprising that over half (16) have come on two-strike counts, right? Let's take a look at Kris Bryant's splits for comparison.
Of Bryant's 71 career homers, just 30% (21) came with two strikes. If I'm remembering correctly, Bryant made an adjustment at some point to start jumping pitchers earlier in the count. That would make sense, with 31 of his homers coming on the first two pitches of an at-bat.
In the playoffs, however, Baez has belted two of his three homers on the first pitch: one against the Cardinals in the 2015 NLDS and the other in Game 7 of the World Series last year.