After getting buzzed by a 95 mph pitch, Patrick Wisdom took a moment to regain his composure before smacking a 450-foot game-tying home run off Matt Strahm in the eighth inning.
“Love homers,” manager David Ross said. “Homers are nice, especially when you’re down one. I love them.”
Unfortunately for the Cubs, their ability to manufacture runs without an abundance of power during a four-game winnings streak fell short Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the Red Sox in 11 innings.
A two-out throwing error by reliever Rowan Wick soiled an exceptional performance by the bullpen, which worked with no margin for error.
As the Cubs open a three-game series Monday against another perennial playoff contender – the Brewers – they hope the return of Seiya Suzuki can provide at least a power presence that has been inconsistent since he was sidelined due because of a left ring finger sprain May 26.
“To have him back is going to be huge for us,” said Wisdom, who leads the Cubs with 17 homers. “Another power bat, another threat, another arsenal for us to throw out there.
“I’m excited to have him back. That’s awesome. We’re excited.”
Suzuki was to be examined Sunday with the expectation he would be activated from the 10-day injured list Monday. Ross said the plan is to ease Suzuki back into the lineup, but his mere presence would lengthen a lineup that has played without first baseman Frank Schwindel for two weeks.
The possibility of trading impending free agent Willson Contreras would further stress an offense that has attempted more stolen bases in the last two games to generate more scoring.
“When we do get (Suzuki’s) legs underneath him best we can, there will be some maneuvering of the lineup at certain times,” Ross said. “But it will be nice to get him back.”
Suzuki, 27, who hit 25 home runs or more in each of his last six seasons with Hiroshima in the Japan Central League, hit four home runs in his first nine games with the Cubs.
But Ross believes Suzuki “got out of rhythm a bit, which every hitter does.”
Suzuki might have regained much of his timing back, based on his 4-for-9, two-homer performance in three games on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa.
“He’s trying to find that consistency, whether it’s the leg kick, his front side was something he seemed to be playing with pretty consistently,” Ross said.”
The Cubs’ other home run in this three-game series was a game-tying home run Friday by rookie Christopher Morel.
“I think it’s game-to-game for that stuff,” Ross said. “But the ability to hit and run, move the runners over, steal a bag has been big for us at times.”
After connecting on a Strahm pitch, Wisdom took six steps before dropping his bat and starting his home run trot.
“A pitch up and in is never fun, whether it’s intentional or not.” Wisdom said of the previous pitch leading to his homer. “That one felt good.”
Suzuki’s return, however, could result in a demotion for either Narciso Crook, who got his first major league hit Thursday, or Nelson Velasquez, who stole a base and scored an insurance run Saturday.
“When you make those moves, you understand the goal is to get here and stay,” Ross said. “But getting that experience and going back and getting ready, you know you’re on the radar and know your number will be called when you’re needed so things happen as we’ve seen throughout this year in every realm.”