Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Cubs Etched Into Orioles History Thanks To Ian Happ

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Don’t look now, but the Chicago Cubs have won four of their last five games. Yes, two of those wins came at the expense of a struggling Los Angeles Angels team. But two of them also came against World Series favorites, the Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles. A lot of this success is thanks to the efforts of outfielder Ian Happ.

Still, the Cubs are in last place in the NL Central division and 4.5 back of a Wild Card spot. But Happ is playing like there is plenty of opportunity to get hot and salvage the season. He has rejuvenated his stats to look like the ballplayer many hoped for after signing his extension. In the last month, Happ has a batting average of .305 with 8 home runs and 25 runs batted in. His on-base percentage is .430, and he’s slugging .671 in that timeframe. Needless to say, he has led the team in OPS in the last thirty days.

Specifically, Happ has been on an absolute heater this past week. On the Fourth of July, he hit two home runs against the Phillies. His hot streak with power shows no signs of stopping, and it was on full display again Tuesday night in Baltimore. In the top of the fourth inning, he hit a home run that not only put the game away for the Cubs but also represented some history for the Cubs at Camden Yards.

Ian Happ Becomes Second Cubs Player Immortalized In Baltimore

At Camden Yards in Baltimore, the Orioles immortalize home runs that are hit beyond the flags in right field and land on Eutaw Street. 126 small plaques on the ground represent each home run that has landed that far away in the stadium’s history. Before last night, Jason Heyward was the only Cubs player to be honored when he hit one there in 2017. Now, there are 127 marks, thanks to Ian Happ.

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Happ’s home run landed just past the cobblestone bricks in right field and was immediately marked by an Orioles ballpark staff member. This home run was the 127th in history to land that far away from home plate and will be immortalized with a plaque with Happ’s name on it. The Cubs went on to pound the league’s best team by a score of 9-2.

Happ has been considered a trade target for weeks now, with the deadline looming and the Cubs looking more like sellers each day. They now have the same record as they did at this point last season. The Cubs decided not to sell and fell just one game short of making the playoffs.

It will take a hot streak going into the All-Star break and an excellent start after to keep the Cubs from considering moving parts of their roster elsewhere. But it will take more than Ian Happ offensively to get that done. He cannot carry this team each and every night. To quote starting pitcher Justin Steele, it’s time to “wake the f*** up.”

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