All good things come to an end. And so it was with the Cubs five-game winning streak that came to an end Tuesday night. You don’t lose a ton of games in which you only allow four hits and two walks. I didn’t see it, but I understand that one of the four hits should be considered a “hit” due to a misplay in the outfield. The winning streak was hallmarked by outstanding pitching and just enough hitting to squeak out five straight wins. On either side of that five game winning streak are two of the longest outings of the season by Cubs starting pitchers. And on either side of that streak, that long outing was superb save for three home runs allowed. Allowing three home runs is always going to give you a good chance of losing regardless of what happens in the rest of the game.
Another good way to lose a game is to only muster three hits and two walks of your own. The Cubs offense that looked to be one of the best in baseball a week ago averaging six runs per game has now played seven games since then and managed a total of 14 runs. Exactly two runs per game for the last week. Most of that baseball has been played in some of the best weather the Cubs have seen all year. The last two days the wind was blowing out at Wrigley and yet, the bats are still largely silent. We are forever reminded that baseball is A) a tough game and B) weird.
With that, we turn our attention to yesterday’s game as we look at what WPA had to say about Heroes and Goats. As always the Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA (Win Probability Added — here’s a good explanation of how WPA works) and are not in any way subjective. Many days WPA will not tell the story of what happened, but often it can give at least a glimpse to who rose to the occasion in a high leverage moment or who didn’t get the job done in that moment. Also note, for the purposes of Heroes and Goats, we ignore the results of pitchers while they are batting and hitters while they are pitching. With that, we get to the results.
Game 27, May 1 - Cubs out-homered in 3-1 loss to Rockies (16-11)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Ben Zobrist (.107). This just doesn’t feel super when we’re talking about two walks in four plate appearances. They were the only two walks the Cubs drew and two of the five base runners.
- Hero - Justin Wilson (.033). This was an encouraging performance. Justin retired the last four Rockies, striking two of them out. The Cubs only used two pitchers in the loss and so they should have a fresh bullpen going into today’s game.
- Sidekick - Anthony Rizzo (.028). Small sample sizes are fun. Anthony lead off the game with a home run for the fourth time in just 15 games as a lead off hitter. The home runs was his only hit in four at bats on the day.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - Addison Russell (-.185). Russell’s fly out in the ninth after Zobrist lead off with a walk was worth (-.063). His pop out in the fourth with runners on first and second and no outs was worth (-.070. Hitless in four at bats behind the only guys who reached base all night was a killer.
- Goat - Victor Caratini (-.167). Victor only got three at bats, but he was also hitless. For him the biggest negative his strike out with one out and a runner on third in the seventh (-.087). He also grounded out to end the fourth with runners on first and third (-.062).
- Kid - Jason Heyward (-.100). Jason was also hitless in three at bats (as was Ian Happ). Jason’s foul out to end the seventh was worth (-.056).
WPA Play of the Game - Nolan Arenado lead off the fourth inning with a solo home run to make it 3-1 Rockies. (.105)
*Cubs Play of the Game - Kyle Schwarber had a one out triple in the seventh. (.099).
- Superhero - Javier Baez 12
- Hero - Ben Zobrist 7
- Sidekick - Kyle Schwarber and Tyler Chatwood 6
Up Next: The Cubs and Rockies will finish their three-game set and their six-game season series. The Cubs have won three of five and can win the season set with a win and the teams will otherwise finish tied.
This game features another rematch from the last time the two teams met. On April 21, Yu Darvish started for the Cubs against Tyler Anderson for the Rockies. That was the one game the Rockies won in the series. Yu is coming off his best outing of the year when he threw six innings allowing only three hits, two walks and one unearned run while striking out eight. He’s faced the Rockies twice in his career, this year and last. Both times he failed to finish the fifth inning and allowed five runs. He has a 10.00 small sample size ERA and an 0-2 record against the Rockies.
Anderson has also made two starts against the Cubs. He is 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA. He is coming off of an outing in which he only recorded four outs. He left the game early due to a heartbeat issue. He had allowed one hit and one walk in the six batters he faced. On the year he is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA. He is a lefty, so expect to see a heavy right handed lineup today.
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