Well, that was special. Among the things I remember being told growing up was that if I didn’t have anything nice to say about someone, I probably shouldn’t say anything at all. So yeah, Tyler Chatwood pitched last night. The Cubs had a good number of base runners in scoring position. Wait, I remember what I can say. Justin Hancock had his longest outing as a Cub and was pretty effective. Also Ian Happ slammed a pinch hit home run. He’s having some really good success as a pinch hitter this year (5-for-8, two home runs) and is also very hot overall.
A game was played, the Cubs didn’t win it. Last year, the “wall” in the way to where the Cubs trying to get where they were going was at four games over .500. This year, that wall is a little bit higher at six games over .500. In investing, you will sometimes hear an insider talking about the market testing a level. It’s obviously not an actual wall either in investing or in baseball, but sometimes there just isn’t enough momentum to get beyond that point. So far, the Cubs haven’t strung together enough victories to break through that mark. Last year, the Cubs didn’t cross above five over until July 23. At this time last year, the Cubs were already reaching four over for the third time, but could do no better.
2018 is a different year. I recently spent some time looking at the schedule for the rest of the year. Despite the folly that is looking at a baseball schedule and trying to project how the quality of opposition reflects what the actual results were be, I have a couple of thoughts. First, I have a hard time imagining the Cubs piling up the best record in the league again after August 1 or whatever the cut off point is for that statistic the last three years. All of the Nationals games are late in the year and all of the Diamondbacks games are in the end of July and later. And the whole National League Central outside of the Reds look to be playing above average baseball. That said, circling back to the last paragraph, I do not believe it will be anywhere near July 23 when the Cubs break through six over. It could be as soon as Sunday if the Cubs can take three of the remaining four on this homestand, from the Indians with a rookie starter tonight and a surprising but injured Giants team this weekend. The schedule up to the All-Star break has some teams that never made it out of the starting gate in 2017. If this team isn’t at least 10 games over by the All-Star break, I’ll be shocked. And even at 10 over, I’m betting on the over.
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 45, May 22 - Cubs shelled by Indians 10-1 (25-20)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Javier Baez (.022). Two hits in four at bats including a triple is a perfectly good line for the Superhero. (.022) is a lame number for a Superhero. This is what happens when the game gets lopsided early and never recovers.
- Hero - Albert Almora Jr. (.009). Two more hits for Albert. Both were singles, one was before the game got silly. He batted fives times on the night. Jason Heyward needs to get his bat going. That’s because if Albert keeps hitting and Ian Happ is hitting, there’s already one extra bat with Zobrist and Tommy La Stella has always just hit. Someone is going to be losing some playing time and increasingly, at least in the short run, it looks like Heyward.
- Sidekick - Justin Hancock (.001). Three innings of one hit, one walk relief. He struck out two. He pitched in silly time and the Indians really aren’t much of an offensive team this year (don’t tell the guys on the bottom of the Goat podiums that), but that was a nice looking line. I’d turned the channel before Hancock got in, so you’ll tell me if it was actually good looking. Justin nudges out the offensive hero Ian Happ who kept the Cubs for being shutout.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - Tyler Chatwood (-.255). Facts are not being mean, they are just facts. He recorded eight outs, allowed four hits, six walks and four runs. He struck out one. On the season, he’s walked 40 batters in 45⅔ innings. I won’t be offensive towards him, but those numbers are absolutely offensive.
- Goat - Mike Montgomery (-.084). Mike recorded seven outs. He allowed six hits and two walks. Oh and six runs. He struck out two. Not a great audition for the fifth starter role when Tyler Chatwood goes on the disabled list for an injury that sounds like forgot where the strike zone is.
- Kid - Willson Contreras (-.054). Willson had one of the Cubs 10 hits on the day. I think I saw him bat flip a warning track fly too. I’d be frustrated if I had to catch the first six innings last night too.
WPA Play of the Game - Tyler Chatwood issued a walk to start the third inning. It was the fourth walk he issued on the night. The second batter he faced singled and the third hit a three-run homer (.192). The game was effectively over given the one run the Cubs managed.
*Cubs Play of the Game - With runners on first and third and two outs in the top of the first Chatwood coaxed a ground ball to first and escaped unscathed.
- Superhero - Javier Baez 13
- Hero - Pedro Strop 9
- Sidekick - Steve Cishek and Tommy La Stella 8
Is it just me or is Tommy La Stella just the perfect guy to be the Sidekick?
Up Next: The two teams conclude this two game series and the four game season series with another game tonight. Jon Lester will be looking to provide some innings for the Cubs tonight. It looks like for the first time in a while rain will not be an issue in one of his starts. Despite pitching through some lousy weather, Jon has thrown 22⅔ innings over his last four starts, allowing 17 hits, 11 walks, and six runs (four earned). He’s struck out 22 over that time. The start before that stretch was the last time he faced Cleveland when he threw seven innings and allowed only four hits but three runs as there were three home runs. He struck out four and walks two in that one. On the season Jon is 4-1 with a 2.52 ERA. The Cubs could really use either six innings with a comfortable lead or seven innings in a tight game out of Jon tonight.
Adam Plutko will be making his second start of the season for the Indians. He threw 7⅓ innings against the Blue Jays on May 3. He allowed six hits, no walks and three runs. The three runs came on three solo home runs. He struck out six. He threw 3⅔ innings in the major leagues back in 2016. The Cubs have never seen this guy. That’s never gone bad before, right?
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Albert Almora, Jr.
No one was worth last night
Other (leave your suggestion in the comments)