For a little while, Saturday looked like it would produce a second consecutive win. The Cubs took advantage of some wildness by Giants starter Chris Stratton for their first run and then added a solo home run by Kyle Schwarber. Everything was coasting along until the Giants started hitting Jose Quintana and then this one just got away from the Cubs. Credit to the Giants, they played some superb defense and made several very good plays that helped keep the Cubs off of the board.
The frustration level among Cub fans is creeping up, this is three losses in four games on this homestand and even if the Cubs can win tonight, this is going to feel like a bit of a lost homestand. It happens. There are always going to be ebbs and flows and right now, the bats are off just a little bit. For whatever reason, these Cubs seem to struggle against pitchers they haven’t seen. That has been the case in two of the three losses on this homestand. They certainly did better against Stratton last night than they did a few nights ago against that Plutko fellow from the Indians, but the net result was the same.
Everything is going to be OK. The hot start that the Brewers are off to probably means that this one will be competitive well into the season again, but this Cubs team still looks quite good. The Cubs have been bobbing along between a high 80’s and low 90’s level winning percentage for a little while now. They’ve yet to have a really sustained level of winning at any point. I’d be terribly surprised if they don’t have one at some point. That should get them back into a well into the 90’s pace once they do. I still question the ability of the Brewers to win that many game, but we’ll see.
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 48, May 26 - Cubs come up short against Giants 5-4 (26-22)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Kyle Schwarber (.167). Kyle had two hits including a home run. He scored two runs and drove in one. He also made some more superb plays in the outfield, a throw to the plate that would have resulted in an out had the Giants base runner tried to score when waved in by his coach, and two other throws that just missed recording outs.
- Hero- Anthony Rizzo (.108). Anthony had an RBI single and a walk in his four plate appearances last night. In May, Anthony has a line of .272/.365/.519. His May stats would equate to a 39 homer, 178 RBI, 101 run pace. It is so easy to get caught up in what the overall line looks like. He’s been almost exactly the player you’d expect him to be, but the really brutal April is still holding his numbers down.
- Sidekick - Pedro Strop (.041). Relievers can catch a break in WPA. If you escape your inning scoreless, it doesn’t really matter how you get from point A to point B. Pedro allowed two hits and two walks in one inning of work. But WPA doesn’t care about the finer points. It sees he pitched a scoreless inning, not that he gave us cardiac arrest in the process.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - Jose Quintana (-.168). Jose threw 4⅓ innings, allowing five hits, two walks and four runs. He did strike out six. So far this year, Jose is at his best against National League Central foes and is mediocre to not good away from the Central. After grounding into a double play to end a bases loaded one out second inning, Jose’s hitting would also have reached the podiums.
- Goat - Willson Contreras (-.152). Willson had one hit in four at bats and did score a run. Willson grounded into a double play to end the eighth and that almost single-handedly landed him here. (-.151)
- Kid - Ben Zobrist (-.130). Ben failed to reach base in four at bats. His ground out to end the seventh with a runner on second lands him here (.051).
WPA Play of the Game: With one out and a man on first, Brandon Crawford took Jose Quintana deep in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2. (.196)
*Cubs Plays of the Game: Javier Baez homered with two outs and the bases empty in the fourth inning to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. (.135)
- Superhero - Javier Baez 11
- Hero - Pedro Strop 10
- Sidekick - Steve Cishek and Tommy La Stella 8
The Cubs finally have a second person reach the +10 plateau. Cishek allowed the decisive run in the loss, but avoids the podiums.
Up next: The two teams finish their three game set tonight. With Yu Darvish heading to the disabled list, Tyler Chatwood moves up a day to take this start. Tyler is 3-4 with a 3.74 ERA. Last time out he lasted just 2⅔ innings allowing four hits, six walks and four runs while striking out only one. The walks have been plaguing Chatwood all season long as he has the worst walk rate among starting pitchers in the major leagues. In most of his starts, he’s at least balanced the walks with strike outs. Coming over from the Rockies, Chatwood is quite familiar with the Giants. He started five games against them last year. In those five starts, he was 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 30 innings of work. He walked 13 and struck out 18 in those innings of work.
Ty Blach will be the opposition from the Giants. Ty was quite effective last year in two starts against the Cubs. He won both of them, throwing seven innings in each. He allowed 15 hits, one walk, and five runs across those 14 innings. He struck out six. So there are likely to be a lot of balls in play. Ty has gone three straight starts without escaping the fifth inning, so he’s been struggling a bit. On the year he is 3-4 with a 4.37 ERA. He had a 7⅔ inning start against the Braves with two runs, one earned. So he is plenty capable of a strong start against a very good offense. This game dispels the myth that there are no Tys in baseball.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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