When last we tuned in, the Cubs were 26-18 and held a one-game lead in the division. They’d just acquired Dennis Eckersley, who gave the Cubs a complete game in his first start as a Cub. That would definitely have been the view if you were an optimist. If you were a pessimist, you might look at it that the Cubs had just been swept in a three-game set by the Reds. To top that off, the schedule brought a 12-game road trip, the longest of the season. There would be two 11-game trips and a 10-gamer, but this was the single longest trip of the year. How would the team hold up?
Game 45, May 29 - Cubs drop fourth straight in 7-4 loss to Braves (26-19)
- Superhero - Rich Bordi (.149). This was definitely a heroic performance. Dennis Eckersley gave the Cubs bullpen two days off by throwing a complete game on the Sunday ahead of a Monday off day. Scott Sanderson then started the Tuesday night game in Atlanta and allowed six hits and three runs in just three innings of work before departing. Bordi came in and threw four innings, allowing just three hits, no walks and an unearned run.
- Hero - Ron Cey (.098). Ron had hit an apparent three run homer on Sunday that the umpires took away. This one they didn’t. Cey hit a first inning two run homer that gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead. This was the fifth consecutive podium appearance for Cey.
- Sidekick - Bob Dernier (.062). Bob had a hit and a walk in four plate appearances. He scored a run in the Cubs big first inning.
- Billy Goat - Warren Brusstar (-.362). After Bordi’s terrific work, Brusstar came into a tie game in the bottom of the eighth. The results weren’t pretty. He allowed a double and a sacrifice bunt to start the inning. He intentionally walked the next two batters and then got the key strike out. With the bases loaded and two outs, he issued a walk and a single scoring three runs and putting the game all but out of reach.
- Goat - Scott Sanderson (-.110). As I noted above, Scott gave the Cubs just three innings of work and allowed six hits and three runs. This was all the more frustrating given that he was staked a 4-0 lead before he ever took the mound.
- Kid - Larry Bowa (-.103). The weak hitting shortstop was at the bottom yet again. Just one hit in four at bats, though that one was a double (.047). Larry actually lands here for what happened after his double. After Sanderson sacrificed him to third, Bowa was caught stealing home (-.067).
Scott Sanderson had an unusual year in 1984. He had a 1.91 ERA in April and a 1.76 ERA in September, over five starts in each month. From May through August, he started 14 games and had a 4.35 ERA. Despite the higher ERA over those months, the Cubs actually won nine of those 14 starts. The Cubs starting pitching was shaky at times, particularly early on, but Scott wasn’t really part of the problem. Scott’s biggest contribution to those issues was health. While he made five starts in April and four more in May, he then didn’t start at all in June before making five starts in each of July, August and September. It looks like Scott missed two turns in May, all of June, a turn in August and a turn in September. When healthy though, Scott was pretty good.
Game 46, May 30 - Cubs defeat Braves 6-2 to split two game set (27-19)
- Superhero - Steve Trout (.192). Back in his familiar starting role, Steve threw 7.2 innings allowing just two hits and two walks and picked up the win.
- Hero - Bob Dernier (.158). As was teased last week when we discussed a five-hit game he had against the Braves, this was another five-hit game for Dernier. Just like the last time, it was against the Braves and just like the last time, it was five singles. Bob added two stolen bases, scored three runs and drove in a run.
- Sidekick - Leon Durham (.150). Leon continued his red hot month with two hits and two RBI. The two RBI both came on a first inning one out, two run double (.168) that got the Cubs offense in gear.
- Billy Goat - Ron Cey (-.090). On a day when the Cubs offense had 14 hits and drew two walks, Cey was the only regular without a hit as he was hitless in five at bats.
- Goat - Larry Bowa (-.020). Larry had a single and a run scored in the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, on a day when the offense was in high gear, he popped out to short in the second inning with a runner on first (-.025) and that was enough of a negative event to reach the second step on the negative side.
- Kid - Gary Matthews (-.008). Matthews is the only other position player who registered a negative score. Gary had a hit, a walk and scored a run. But again, it didn’t take a lot to land here on this day.
Not much can be said about Dernier here that wasn’t said in the last column. Bob had three different five hit games against the Braves over the course of two seasons. Dernier hit .344/.427/.365 in May of ‘84 on the strength of the two five hit games. It was his best month of the season. He scored 24 runs in the month which was also his highest total. It is fair to look at Bob as the engine that made the team go. In 87 Cub wins that he played in, he had a .308/.389/.401 line (as opposed to .228/.300/297 in the 56 losses he played in). As a leadoff hitter to start an inning, he hit .319/.403/.443. Even better were his numbers leading off the game .364/.440/.466.
Game 47, May 31 - Cubs pounded by Phillies 10-2 (27-20)
- Superhero - Mel Hall (.0085). Mel had a triple leading off the second and ended up scoring on a Ron Cey double to make the score 1-1.
- Hero - Ron Cey (.065). Ron’s second inning RBI double is enough to land him here on a day when the Cubs had only six hits, one walk and two runs scored. This is the seventh consecutive game in which Cey appeared on one of the podiums.
- Sidekick - Ryne Sandberg (.027). Sandberg had two hits and a stolen base against his old team.
- Billy Goat - Chuck Rainey (-.427). The good news for Chuck was he didn’t allow any earned runs. Well, I suppose it is also good that he didn’t walk anyone. Chuck wasn’t helped by his defense, but he had a nightmarish day. He allowed a single, a stolen base and then a run scored on an error in the first. But that ended up being the “good” inning. In the second, he struck out the first batter. The results that followed looked like this: hit by pitch, error, ground out (by the opposing pitcher), hit by pitch, single, single, single, single. Rainey left the game and reliever Dickie Noles was greeted with a fourth straight single to score the sixth run of the inning and seventh of the game.
- Goat - Leon Durham (-.049). The Bull was kept locked in the stable in this one. No hits in four at bats on the day.
- Kid - Jody Davis (-.044). This is a tough luck placement. Jody hit a home run in this game for the second Cubs run. Unfortunately, it was 9-1 and it was only worth (.003).
Chuck Rainey made six starts for the Cubs in May. The good news is that the Cubs won four of those. The bad news is that he allowed 26 runs in 31⅓ innings of work. That’s a run allowed average of 7.47. Clearly there was a bit of bad luck in the outing on this day. The Cubs defense made an error in each of the first two innings Chuck worked in. But for those errors, Rainey might have gotten through the first two innings unscathed. Rainey did remain in the starting rotation, consistently taking the ball every fifth day or so until he was traded in July. The Cubs were just 8-9 in starts made by Chuck.
Game 48, June 1 - Cubs batter Phillies 12-3 (28-20)
- Superhero - Ryne Sandberg (.241). Ryno had a monster day at the plate. He had three hits, three runs, and three RBI. He also stole a base and hit two home runs. The first was a solo homer in the fifth to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. An inning later, he added a two run homer to put the Cubs ahead 6-2.
- Hero - Leon Durham (.165). Leon had three hits as well. He also drew two walks. He drove in a run and also scored one. His big contribution was a third inning RBI single with no outs and runners on first and second (.112).
- Sidekick - Bob Dernier (.094). Bob had two more hits and two walks in this game. He scored twice and drove in two. He ran up quite a bit of WPA in the first with a walk (.036), a balk to second (.024) and a balk to third (.030).
- Billy Goat - Mel Hall (-.098). On a day when the Cubs had 12 hits and 12 runs scored, not to mention seven walks, Mel had no hits and no walks. He did manage to drive in a run and score another.
- Goat - Jody Davis (-.047). Jody did have a hit and also scored a run, but lands down here anyway.
- Kid - Dave Owen (-.017). Owen had a hit and a walk, scored two runs and drove in two runs on what was one of the better days at the plate in his season, but lands here anyway. Rick Reuschel had two hits and an RBI and also had a (-.043) which we don’t include.
May was the month for Leon “Bull” Durham. June will be the month for Ryne Sandberg. Ryne will end up posting a .376/.414/.720 line for the month. He’ll score 27 runs and drive in 21. He’ll record seven doubles, six triples and eight home runs. He’ll steal six bases without ever being caught. It was an amazing month in an amazing season. And of course, the most famous game of his career will happen later in the month. He did hit three teams better than the Phillies, but he did seem to enjoy hitting against his original team. He had a line of .282/.346/.606.
Game 49, June 2 - Cubs drop close game to Phillies 3-2 (28-21)
- Superhero - Dennis Eckersley (.294). This start was even better than the first. Seven innings of four hit, two walk, one run ball. He left with his team leading.
- Hero - Keith Moreland (.138). Keith hit a home run in the top of the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie (.248). It was his only hit in four at bats.
- Sidekick - Bob Dernier (.134). Even on a day where he was held hitless in three at bats, Bob contributed. He drew two walks and he stole two bases after his ninth inning one out walk. He gave the Cubs a chance to tie the game up or go ahead but couldn’t find support.
- Billy Goat - Lee Smith (-.535). The Cubs asked Lee to record six outs for the save with the score 2-1. Any hope of that outcome disappeared quickly as Von Hayes lead off the bottom of the eighth with a single and Mike Schmidt followed with a home run to give the Phillies the lead. This resulted in the eighth largest negative WPA game of the season for the Cubs.
- Goat - Gary Matthews (-.300). Gary was hitless in five at bats. None were bigger than his last as he batted with two outs in the ninth with Dernier on third and struck out (-.126).
- Kid - Ryne Sandberg (-.128). Sandberg did have one hit, but he struck out right in front of Matthews in the ninth inning (-.195).
Lee Smith actually was usually pretty good when the Cubs called on him in the eighth inning. He allowed just 15 runs in 35 innings of work while holding opponents to a .237 batting average. He was actually much worse in the ninth, allowing 29 runs in 55⅔ innings while holding opponents to a .267 batting average. Lee also was much less effective in back to back games. He allowed 16 runs in 30⅔ innings with an opponent average of .274. He was at his best with one day of rest. 19⅔ innings of 1.37 ERA and an opponent average of .194.
Game 50, June 3 - Cubs Clobber Phillies 11-2; Split four game series (29-21)
- Superhero - Warren Brusstar (.210). On a day when Steve Trout only last five innings, Warren threw four innings of relief and picked up a save for his efforts. He allowed three hits, two walks and no runs in the four innings.
- Hero - Leon Durham (.182). Once again the Cubs offense was powered by Durham. He had three more hits, a run and two RBI on the day. He had two RBI single, one in the fourth and another in the eighth.
- Sidekick - Bob Dernier (.180). Dernier had a hit and a walk, drove in a run and scored a run. He also stole two bases.
- Billy Goat - Ryne Sandberg (-101). On the day he had just one hit in five at bats. He did score a run following a ninth inning double.
- Goat - Dave Owen (-.059). Dave had a hit, a walk and an RBI. He lands here largely for his fifth inning strike out with runners on first and third and no outs in a 2-2 game (-.057).
- Kid - Mel Hall (-.058). It seems like every time there is a lopsided score, someone gets an unfortunate appearance on the Goat side of the ledger. Mel is the bad luck recipient here as he had two hits, two runs, a walk and an RBI and still lands down here. A not insignificant reason for landing here was his fourth inning single on which Leon Durham was thrown out trying to score leaving Mel with (-.034) for the at bat.
Warren was what was called a middle reliever back in the time he pitched. He threw more than two innings in a game six times. This four inning outing was the longest of his season and it was one of five times that he faced 10 or more batters in an outing. This appearance contributed heavily to one of the best months of the season for Warren as he collected a 2.41 ERA over 18⅔ innings of work, the most he had in any month. In five appearances against the Phillies in ‘84 Warren allowed no runs in 8⅔ innings. He finished three games against them and of course recorded a save in this game, one of three he recorded on the season.
Game 51, June 5 - Cubs hold on to win close one in Montreal 3-2 (30-21)
- Superhero - Lee Smith (.281). Lee worked a scoreless ninth, allowing just one walk to preserve the victory and notch the save.
- Hero - Richie Hebner (.145). Hebner got the start at third base and came up big i his first at bat. He followed a Mel Hall walk with an RBI double (.151) to open the second inning. He’d later come around to score as part of a three run second inning that gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead.
- Sidekick - Larry Bowa (.070). Larry was hitless in four at bats. But he winds up here? How did that happen? Larry batted in that second inning with runners on first and third and no outs and the Cubs up 1-0. Larry hit a grounder to the pitcher but reached on an error that allowed the second run to score (.090).
- Billy Goat - Jay Johnstone (-.097). Jay was nearing the end of his playing days in 1984 and was used as a pinch hitter mostly when he was healthy. On this day, he pinch hit in the eighth inning with the score 3-2. There were runners on first and third and only one out. He hit a ground ball to first that turned into a double play.
- Goat - Leon Durham (-.085). On this day, Leon was hitless in four at bats and struck out twice.
- Kid - Ryne Sandberg (-.008). On a day when the Cubs grabbed the lead early and held it throughout, there were only three position players who posted negative scores. So, one hit in four at bats hits the podiums.
I’ve talked in previous columns about how little offensive production the Cubs got out of the shortstop position in 1984. Larry Bowa got most of those at bats. But it gets even worse from here until the end of the year. After the double header on May 24, Larry was hitting .252/.301/.339. Those numbers aren’t anything to celebrate, but with steady defense and veteran leadership, probably defensible numbers. After that date, things took a turn for the worse. Over his last 95 games and 298 plate appearances, Larry hit .210/.263/.239. Those numbers are roughly what you’d expect out of the guy who gets the Silver Slugger at pitcher most years. Looking at these numbers today, it is really hard to understand why the team didn’t try to find another option at short. And of course, in the playoffs it didn’t really get better. Larry had a line of .200/.250/.267 in 16 plate appearances of a close series.
Game 52, June 6 - Cubs fall flat against Expos 8-1 (30-22)
- Superhero - Ryne Sandberg (.024). Yesterday, Ryne was on the Goat side of things on a day where he did have a hit. Today, he reaches the top podium with just one walk in four plate appearances. That walk loaded the bases though with two outs in the third. He also later reached on an error.
- Hero - Jay Johnstone (.000). Jay also bounces back. He only shows at even by WPA standards, but he had an RBI pinch hit triple with two outs in the ninth. (An honorable mention to the hitting of Rick Reuschel. He had a hit in his only at bat for a WPA of .017)
- Sidekick - Dickie Noles (.000). There was some tiebreaking here as three players registered at even by WPA measures. I gave Johnstone the top spot as he drove in the game’s only run. Dickie threw two shutout innings allowing just one walk. Henry Cotto was hitless in a pinch hit at bat and fails to reach the podium as realistically, the other two players actually gave the Cubs a minuscule chance at winning.
- Billy Goat - Rick Reuschel (-.365). It wasn’t a bad day at the plate for Rick, but it was a tough day on the mound. He recorded only seven outs on the day while also allowing nine hits and seven runs. But hey, he didn’t walk anyone.
- Goat - Gary Matthews (-.081). Sarge did have a hit in the game, but it wasn’t until the sixth inning and the score was already 8-0. He batted four times in the game.
- Kid - Richie Hebner (-.030). This is a tough one, Richie had two hits in the game and scored the only run.
Rick Reuschel was apparently healthy by June. Healthy enough to make six starts. But those six starts were nightmarish. Rick threw just 33⅓ innings and allowed a staggering 53 hits and 26 runs. His control appeared to be there with only eight walks, but with so many hits he had a WHIP of 1.830. Rick simply wasn’t effective when given the chance and by July he wasn’t getting much usage. Had Rick rounded into form, the Cubs likely wouldn’t have made a trade for another starting pitcher. That was one of the inflection points in Cubs history. The flip side is that Rick might have remained a Cub. As I’ve covered previously, once he fully recovered from his injuries, Reuschel went on to have a second career in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
Game 53, June 7 - Cubs drop series finale to Expos 2-1 (30-23)
- Superhero - Mel Hall (.188). Mel had two hits on the day and also drew a walk. The big contribution was an RBI single in the sixth that made it a 1-1 game (.167).
- Hero - Bob Dernier (.087). Dernier also had two hits and a walk. One of the hits was a double! But no stolen bases, no runs, no RBI.
- Sidekick - Jay Johnstone and Tim Stoddard (.048). Johnstone had a pinch hit single in the seventh and did make it to third, but the Cubs were unable to get him in. Tim threw two scoreless innings, giving the Cubs a couple of chances to tie the game up. He did allow two singles in his two innings of work.
- Billy Goat - Ryne Sandberg (-.282). Ryno was hitless in five at bats. It was a really tough day. He grounded out with no outs and a runner at second in the first (-.044), grounded into a fielder’s choice in the third with no outs and a runner on first (-.042), made the final out in the fifth with runners on first and second (-.061), made the final out in the seventh with a runner on third (-.071), and struck out to end the game with a runner on first (-.064). Five at bats, all with runners on, three of them with runners in scoring position and three times he was the final out of an inning. Ouch.
- Goat - Jody Davis (-.223). It wasn’t a lot better for Jody, though he did have one hit in four tries. The bulk of his negative score came from an eighth inning at bat with runners on second and third and two outs.
- Kid - Gary Matthews (-.172). Gary was also hitless in four at bats. Tough to win when your second and third hitters combine to go hitless in nine at bats.
As we’ve covered previously, Jody Davis got out to a blazing start to the season. June was little different. He had a .289/.381/.533 line. He had five doubles, a triple and five home runs in the month. He also drew a season high 14 walks while only striking out 14 times. He scored 14 times and drove in 22 (also his high month of the season). All of this helped Jody towards being named to the All Start team for the first time. Indeed, in the spring and early summer of 1984, Jody looked like a superstar in the making. 1985 was a down year for Davis and during the 1988 season he would be traded and no longer be a full time catcher.
Game 54, June 8 - Cubs ambushed by Cardinals late with four run seventh inning rally; lose 5-4 (30-24)
- Superhero - Steve Trout (.267). Steve gave the Cubs five innings of one hit, two walk, no run baseball. In a questionable decision, the Cubs were winning 4-0 and had runners at first and third and two outs in the fifth and Jim Frey pinch hit for Trout.
- Hero - Keith Moreland (.184). Moreland had two hits in the game. The key one as a sixth inning RBI single with runners on first and third and two outs (.175). The hit ignited a four run rally.
- Sidekick - Ron Cey (.161). Penguin had two hits of his own. He followed Moreland’s single in the sixth with one of his own.
- Billy Goat - Tim Stoddard (-.470). The Cubs bullpen was not really strong enough to give four innings of work like it was asked to do here. Stoddard relieved Warren Brusstar who was attempting to work a second inning after pitching the sixth and allowing a run on a hit and a hit by pitch. Brusstar allowed a single, a double, an RBI ground out and another single to start the seventh. Stoddard came in and did not have his control. He allowed three straight walks, got a pop out and then issued another walk before recording the final out. This was the tenth worst WPA score of the year for the Cubs.
- Goat - Warren Brusstar (-.250). The really scary thing is that Stoddard only was charged with one run for his effort. Brusstar ended up allowing four runs while only recording four outs and allowing four hits.
- Kid - Richie Hebner (-.103). Richie pinch hit in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and two outs and struck out.
Tim Stoddard was never really known for his control, but his career walks per nine innings was 4.4. Prior to the 1984 season, his only with the Cubs, his highest walks per nine innings was 4.7 in 1982. But in 1984 it ballooned to 5.6. He then struggled with it for two more seasons. Interestingly, despite the issues, Stoddard’s ERA in both 84 and 86 are in line with his career numbers. So he was often effective even with less than his usual level of control. On this day, his wildness cost the Cubs a game. A game they probably should have won after having a 4-0 lead heading into the seventh.
Game 55, June 9 - Cubs blank Cardinals 5-0 (31-24)
- Superhero - Rich Bordi (.409). Bordi continued to be useful in many roles. This time, he was used as a starter and gave the Cubs seven shutout innings. He allowed just four hits and walked three.
- Hero - Mel Hall (.095). Mel had a one out RBI triple in the fourth to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead (.133). He also had a walk in his four plate appearances.
- Sidekick - Keith Moreland (.067). Moreland’s fourth inning single with a runner on first and no outs (.133) helped to build the fourth inning rally. It was his only hit in four at bats.
- Billy Goat - Bob Dernier (-.058). Bob was hitless in five at bats. He was the Cubs only position player without a hit.
- Goat - Ron Cey (-.016). After Rich Bordi’s one hit in three at bats day is moved out, that leaves Cey in this position. He had a hit, an RBI and a run but it wasn’t enough to keep him off of the podium.
- Kid - Larry Bowa (-.011). Larry also had one hit in four at bats. Cey turned up lower despite the RBI because he grounded out following Hall’s triple in the fourth.
Rich Bordi bounced around between a number of roles for the Cubs in 1984. On this day, he produced his second best start of the year. He would end up with four saves in five opportunities. In those appearances, he threw 14⅓ innings with a 0.55 ERA. He started seven games and he had a 3-1 record with a 3.32 ERA in 38 innings of work. He also had a dazzling WHIP of 1.079 in those starts. He was everything you could ever hope for out of a spot starter. As has been talked about in previous columns, the Cubs probably should have put Rich on their playoff roster and they probably should have brought him back in 1985 and given him a chance to win a starting spot. But that didn’t happen and after a fine season, he was traded away. I can well imagine that Rich looks back on his time with the Cubs with a good deal of frustration.
Game 56, June 10 - Cubs shutout Cardinals 2-0 (32-24)
- Superhero - Chuck Rainey (.422). This was a strong start for Rainey as he went seven shutout innings allowing five hits and four walks. The Cubs had to wonder what could have been in this series as Steve Trout left the first game with a shutout in tact and the bullpen collapsed.
- Hero - Lee Smith (.211). Smith threw two shutout innings to preserve the team shutout. He faced seven batters and the only to reach base was via a walk with two outs in the ninth.
- Sidekick - Ryne Sandberg (.188). For the second time in only a few days, Sandberg is on a Hero podium despite only reaching base once in four plate appearances. This time, it was an eighth inning hit by pitch with the bases loaded (.244).
- Billy Goat - Bob Dernier (-.179). Bob had two hits in the game. One was a double leading off the game, but he was immediately caught stealing. He also popped out to the catcher with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth (-.148).
- Goat - Ron Cey (-.156). Cey was hitless in four at bats.
- Kid - Keith Moreland (-.066). Moreland was hitless in three at bats.
In the ninth inning of this game, the Cubs pulled off a triple steal. Durham led off the inning with a double. The next two hitters flew out. The Cardinals then intentionally walked Jody Davis and Larry Bowa to get to Lee Smith. (Surprisingly, the weak-hitting Bowa was intentionally walked five times in 1984 owing to the fact that he almost always hit in front of the pitcher). The Cubs let Smith bat for himself, but executed a triple steal for an insurance run. Wow.
After a difficult May, Chuck Rainey had a nice bounce back month in June. He made six starts and pitched 31 innings with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.387 WHIP. He was hit hard though in July and would ultimately be traded in August. He pitched the remainder of the season in Oakland and never pitched again at the major league level. Years later, statistically we’d understand a lot more why a guy like Rainey wasn’t effective. He had an extremely low strikeout rate, averaging only 4.0 strikeouts per nine innings. That means that hitters were putting a ton of balls in play against Chuck. And of course, that last season of 1984, Chuck had a batting average allowed on balls in play of .329 well above both his career mark and the normal averages. A guy who allows a lot of balls to be put into play and also allows an above average number of hits on balls in play is going to generally get killed. I imagine if we had raw data, we’d find that Rainey simply allowed too much hard contact even though he did a good job throughout his career at keeping the ball in the park.
- Leon Durham 14
- Gary Matthews 12
- Richie Hebner 12
- Rich Bordi 10
- Steve Trout 8
- Ryne Sandberg 6
- Scott Sanderson 6
- Bob Dernier 6
- Dickie Noles 1
- Gary Woods 1
- Henry Cotto 1
- Dennis Eckersley 0
- Jay Johnstone -.5
- Tim Stoddard -.5
- Lee Smith -1
- Warren Brusstar -1
- Mel Hall -2
- Don Schulze -2
- Chuck Rainey -2
- Keith Moreland -3
- Porfi Altamirano -3
- Tom Veryzer -4
- Rick Reuschel -4
- Dave Owen -5
- Bill Buckner -9
- Dick Ruthven -9
- Larry Bowa -9
- Jody Davis -9
- Ron Cey -13
A rough road trip brings Matthews back to the pack and Leon Durham’s hot streak moves him into the overall lead. Rich Bordi’s value begins to show as he moves up into the top five and enters the plus 10 club for the first time. Ron Cey extends his “lead” at the bottom. Larry Bowa and Jody Davis fall back and move into a group of four “behind” Cey for the bottom spot.
The good news is that the Cubs’ 12-game trip came to an end. They set out for the trip eight games above .500 for the season and with a one game lead in the division. They split the 12 games. That still leaves them three games behind their largest over .500 number of the season which was 11 after the doubleheader sweep on May 24. Surprisingly, the split road trip was enough to keep the one game lead in place heading home. The homestand we will cover next week covers seven games including three with the Expos and four with the Phillies.
That’s all we have for this week. We’ll be back next week to cover the homestand. And of course, I’ll be back early next week with another of the 2017 top WPA games of the year. This time we’ll be looking at the seventh highest positive WPA of the year. Until then, thanks for reading.