As remarkable as his two-dinger night was, it was Giancarlo Stanton’s bottom-of-the-fourth shot that had everyone reaching for the nearest shield they could find. We could also blame it on a John Smoltz jinx.
Before the home run fest began, Cubs starter Matt Swarmer entered the bottom of the fourth inning trailing only 1-0. Stanton went deep right as Smoltz was complimenting him on the broadcast, making a little bit of history in the process.
Matt Swarmer, the Cubs’ starting pitcher, has been jinxed by John Smoltz.
As soon as Smoltz finished raving about how thrilled he was with Swarmer, Stanton put every muscle in his body into a swing that established a new Statcast record. The laser was a no-brainer. This was a call that not even John Sterling would have missed.
The bat speed of Stanton’s rocket was measured at 119.8 mph. He was a flux capacitor away from sending the baseball thirty years into the past, if we’re adopting Back to the Future reasoning. Any reduction in gigawattage would have been compensated for by the increased speed.
Maybe Doc Brown didn’t need to get involved in dirty dealings. To make time travel history, all he needed was Stanton and some ill-timed compliments from Smoltz.
As if that home run wasn’t horrible enough, Gleyber Torres, the next batter, also hit a home run. Swarmer let up three more runs an inning later.
Jinxes and curses are nothing new to the Cubs. They blamed their lack of a title for over a century on a Billy goat not being permitted into a pub. They might be able to point the finger at Smoltz this Saturday night.
He stands to benefit the most from this. Any apologies from Smoltz to Cubs fans will almost certainly be overshadowed by Castellanos’ long drive. Smoltz, on the other hand, has no need to apologize. For the sake of pitchers, he should be a little more cautious before praising them.