Eric Thames, stop hurting em. Somebody pull the man off the Reds pitching staff. Because Major League baseball’s hottest bat put two more in the bone yard, five-straight games with bombs against the Reds, with SEVEN of his league-leading 10 home runs coming against Cincinnati pitching, including THESE TWO last night.
The first was a no-doubter deep into the right center field stands. The second launched deep to left — opposite field power that’s turned Thames into the first player since Willie Stargell in 1971 to have 7 bombs against a single team in April. Somebody needs to radio down to Bryan Price in the Reds dugout. SKIP — Intentional Walks are free now — HOLD UP THE FOUR FINGERS and just put the man on first base.
Just a blow-torch of a start for Thames, who couldn’t find a gig in the Big Leagues and had to find his game in Korea. Now he’s the most dangerous bat in baseball. A guy who was kicking around the idea of becoming a Pro Wrestler now can’t STOP launching balls into the bleachers. Thames came into the Jungle last week — talking about the decision that changed his baseball career.
And what a difference that time made — coming back to the US after three seasons with the NC Dinos, a 2015 MVP award and a slash line that looked an awful lot like the one he’s putting up today. With a centered and “mindful” approach to hitting and one that’s taken his game to the next level. And brought the haters out in full force.
Because the only look worse than getting taken deep by Thames is crying about it after. And last week — John Lackey of the Cubs and Chicago pitching coach Chris Bosio WENT THERE with Thames, all but saying out loud that Thames is doing what he’s doing because of PEDs. All because Thames went yard on LACKEY.
So instead of chalking it up as a loss, Lackey — the guy who used to double-fist beers in the clubhouse while his teammates were playing, went fishing: “You watch film on recent stuff. You try to figure out a way to get him out… But you don’t see that happen here very often. It’s one of those things that make you scratch your head.”
Such a bad look. And such a loser move — by a team that should be above it. The defending world champs. The guys who ran Sammy Sosa out there for more than a decade — head swelling out of his New Era lid and baseball’s flying off his bat like ping pong balls. The team that lost its collective mind when one of their own guys — pitcher Jake Arrieta — got hit with the same whisper campaign, and had Theo Epstein firing back when someone connected Arrieta’s resurgence — an ERA at almost 5 dropping to a Cy Young-like 2.53 after things clicked, not taking kindly to the accusations that came along with it.
And the Cubs are trashing a guy who peed into a cup LAST MONDAY as part of MLB’s drug testing policy — a system that just took Starling Marte off the field for 80 games.
When you’re hot, your hot. And for Thames, he’s shown no sign of slowing down. Respect a hot streak. Don’t be a bag and play the “HE MUST BE CHEATING CARD.” Because for as good as Thames has been — and as big of a jolt as he’s been to the middle of the Brewers lineup, Lackey’s act was even baggier.
15 years into his career, Lackey — and the Cubs — should know better.
Because after taking the long road back to the big leagues by way of KOREA, Eric Thames isn’t the guy who takes shortcuts.