By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS)The reigning World series champion Cubs may or may not defend their title this season, but they gave fans something to remember in a 17-3 clobbering of the Pirates at Wrigley Field on Wednesday night that pushed them back to their season-high water mark of 12 games over .500. Here’s a quick accounting of what happened.
— Ian Happ hit his 20th home run among his three hits, making him not only a franchise-record sixth player to reach that number (joining Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber) but making the Cubs the first team in history with five players accomplishing that feat together at age 25 or younger.
— Schwarber’s two home runs pushed his second-half OPS to .873, his wOBA over that time to .366 and his wRC+ to 124.
— While the game was still tied 2-2, Jon Jay made consecutive catches in center on balls that had Statcast hit probabilities of 75 and 60 percent, respectively.
— Baez continued his apparent application of the Jedi mind trick on opponents, reaching base on an error, stealing second and then advancing to third on an errant throw, then using a long secondary lead to bait the catcher into a throw to third on which he broke to home and stole it easily.
— The Cubs totaled 20 hits, and Jose Quintana overcame another chopppy first inning to post a quality start of three earned runs in six innings, along with nine strikeouts.
In all it was just one of 162, but it was a fun way for them to roll into the real trade deadline day Thursday, with Theo Epstein still angling for a way to optimize this year’s roster.