That was a weird one. The feel good vibes from the last two games of the Dodgers series carried right on into Cincinnati. The Cubs got a couple of early runs for Kyle Hendricks, Kyle was having some success, even against Joey Votto who had been an absolute menace to him historically. Everything seemed great through three innings. Matt Harvey started to settle down a bit in the fourth and then when the Cubs got first and second with one out in the fifth and didn’t score, I was a little disappointed. But still, the Cubs lead 2-0 into the sixth.
Without trying to open a can of worms, the sixth inning is why Joe used to always pull Hendricks early. Billy Hamilton lead off the sixth with a walk, and I turned to my daughters and said it is important that Hendricks maintain concentration. Hamilton will do his thing, but at worst you need it to be 2-1. Hamilton did do his thing. And Hendricks did retire the first two hitters after. A walk, a single and a walk followed that and the flood gates were opening.
The Iowa shuttle has been phenomenal this year with only a couple of exceptions. The last real exception that I can think of was back in May when the Cardinals were terrorizing Luke Farrell. Sure, there have been runs allowed in the interim and maybe I’ve blacked out a game or two, but that’s the last time I remember a full belly flop. That’s all I can describe Randy Rosario’s performance. He allowed a grand slam and three consecutive singles to the first four batters he faced. That was that.
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 72, June 21 - Cubs allow six in the sixth to lose 6-2 (42-30)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Javier Baez (.171). Javy stays hot with a two run double and even a walk in a key situation in his five plate appearances.
- Hero - Kyle Hendricks (.116). This is one of the more unusual lines you’ll see here. But WPA accounts for when things happen. As in, all but one of those runs scored after he left the game. The line was 5.2 innings, three hits, four walks and four runs allowed. Kyle presently sports the highest walks per nine innings, the highest home runs per nine inning and the lowest strike out rate of his career. He’s been a much better pitcher from July to the end of the season historically. Let’s hope that happens again this year.
- Sidekick - Jason Heyward (.111). This guy is blistering hot. On the season, he now has a .283/.345/.429 line with a 109 wRC+. Going all of the way back to 4/19, he has a line of .309/.362/.477 in 166 PA. That’s good for a 125 wRC+. With four more hits last night, Jason Heyward remains in beast mode.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - Randy Rosario (-.501). The third largest negative WPA game of the year so far for the Cubs. Rosario was greeted with a grand slam and then allowed three more singles after that. He was charged with two runs of his own and allowed three of Kyle Hendricks’ runs.
- Goat - Anthony Rizzo (-.109). Reached base just once in four plate appearances and that was via the hit by pitch. Most of the remaining wind in the Cubs sails was released when he was called out on strikes with the bases loaded in the seventh.
- Kid - Addison Russell (-.087). Addison had just one walk in his four plate appearances.
WPA Play of the Game: The grand slam allowed by Randy Rosario checks in as the fourth largest individual WPA event of the season for the Cubs. (.457)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Javier Baez came to the plate in the third inning with runners on first and second and one out in a scoreless game. He laced a two run double to give the Cubs an early 2-0 lead. (.202)
- Superhero - Pedro Strop 16
- Hero - Jon Lester 13
- Sidekick - Javier Baez 9.5
Oh look. He’s back. The season of Javy resumes.
Up Next: The Cubs will be hoping the rains stay away and let them get back at it tonight. You never want to have to stew too long on a game like last night. Jose Quintana will be the Cubs starter tonight. He’ll be looking to snap a Reds four game winning streak. They’ve now won seven of nine. Jose is 6-5 with a 4.09 ERA. Over his last seven outings, he’s 2-3 with a 3.72 ERA, so he’s stepping in the right direction. Last time out, he threw five innings against the Cardinals and picked up a loss. He allowed four hits, two walks and two runs. He faced the Reds in May and was terrific throwing seven innings and allowing one hit. He did walk four but struck out seven and didn’t allow any runs. He has never lost to the Reds in his career.
The Reds counter with Luis Castillo who is 4-8 with a 5.77 ERA. Over his last seven, he is 2-4 with a 5.02 which would actually register as progress. Last time out he lasted five innings in losing to the Pirates. He allowed six hits, two walks and three runs. He did face the Cubs once this year back in May. His results were a mixed bag. He allowed six hits and five walks in just five innings of work. But he only allowed one run and struck out four. That’s quite a tight rope act. He’s made two career starts against the Cubs and has an 0.82 ERA. That has to change.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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