Javier Baez’s baseball IQ is off the charts and that was on display again Thursday afternoon as the Chicago Cubs are going for the series sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With the Cubs holding a 1-0 lead in the top of the third and two outs, Baez stepped to the plate with Willson Contreras on second. He hit a sharp ground ball that was fielded cleanly and thrown to first. However, the first baseman was pulled off the bag and attempted to tag Baez as he was running down the line.
That’s where the fun begins:
The Magician. pic.twitter.com/yZX7HgUFCU
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 27, 2021
Baez forced Will Craig to chase him down the line towards home plate as Contreras made an attempt to score. Baez stalled long enough for Contreras to slide in safely for a run, and then managed to get back to first base with a bad throw. He ended up at second when it was all done, putting himself into scoring position where he later came around to score on an RBI by Ian Happ.
So Baez was essentially responsible for two runs with two outs because of the heads up play.
The other thing here is that Craig was baited into tagging Baez out for some reason even though there were two outs. All he had to do was touch first base for the force out and the inning would have been over. But that’s just the impact Baez has.