Dansby Swanson once again faced his former team, but this time, not within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
Though it was not the first time he’s faced the Atlanta Braves since signing with the Chicago Cubs in December, it is his first time back in Atlanta since his departure. For Chicago, the stakes are high. The Cubs fight for a Wild Card spot, with the Milwaukee Brewers having clinched the division a couple of days ago. The stakes are also high for Swanson, returning to Atlanta after his “…Pro-sports in Atlanta, are, well, kind of a deal…” comments. In any case, there appear to be no hard feelings. Swanson stepped up to the plate to the sound of raucous applause, with fans giving him a standing ovation.
Before tonight’s finale, here is a rundown on how Dansby Swanson did against his former team, the Atlanta Braves
Game 1: After his grand welcome back, Swanson goes 0-for-4 with one walk and one strikeout. A fielder’s choice in the second inning (which left him at first and Seiya Suzuki out) allowed him to later score. Though the Cubs offense put six on the Braves, the rest of Swanson’s game remained relatively quiet. After six scoreless innings and the Cubs up 6-0, Atlanta returned the favor with a three-run rally in the sixth, and two-run rallies in both the seventh and eighth. In what some may call dramatic irony, Swanson struck out in the ninth to give Atlanta the win.
Game 2: He goes 1-for-3 with one hit and one strikeout. His fly-out in the second allowed Cody Bellinger to later score. Not wanting to be outdone by former teammate Ronald Acuña, Jr. (who, at that point, stole his 69th base), Swanson stole second in the ninth, and later scored, breaking the tie.
With the Cubs bullpen once again failing their offense, the game goes into extra innings. Acuña, in what was the highlight of the evening, stole his seventieth bag, making him the sole member of the 40/70 club in the bottom of the 10th. In what again may be called dramatic irony, Swanson dropped the ball which would’ve gotten Acuña out. Ozzie Albies walks it off, leaving Atlanta with a win over the series, the number one seed, and the Cubs playoff ambitions in a precarious place.
While he wasn’t a total dud against his former team, Swanson’s performance leaves a lot to be desired. As of today (Thursday), he is slashing .249 /.330/.423. Thursday is a must-win for the Cubs if they want to keep their postseason hopes alive. Will Swanson have a chance to rout his former team and help Chicago earn a spot in the Wild Card? If this game is anything like the last two — exciting, heart-stopping, somewhat cinematic — then both Cubs and Braves fans are in for a treat.