It appears that all but one member of the Cubs understood what the script was. Outfielder hits home run. Cubs shut out Pirates. Cubs win. To be fair, that’s a lousy script. It isn’t the dead ball era. That isn’t really a repeatable strategy. The Cubs offense is supposed to be way more potent than this. I should, I suppose be happy with two out of three on the road. But why settle when more is there for the taking?
Tyler Chatwood did his thing. He walked three batters in just over two innings. Two of those walks came around to score. But Joe had a quick hook this time and four Cubs relievers combined on six innings of scoreless relief. The four relievers combined to allow just one walk the rest of the way. So it wasn’t an umpire thing. The Pirates drew no walks on Friday, so it wasn’t a Pirate thing. It continues to just be a Tyler Chatwood thing.
I don’t know which party is adverse to a DL stint with Chatwood. I’ve been advocating that for months. Call it shoulder inflammation, call it a back problem. Just call it something. Get him two or three weeks of nothing. Then you can have him try to work out his problems on some minor league field and not with the Chicago media and fans watching his every move. Whichever party, be it Tyler and his agent or the Cubs, is being stubborn and this lost season just droned on and on.
As for the bats, the Cubs certainly miss Kris Bryant’s bat. The minor league season is running out of days and so I hope they get him on a rehab stint soon. After the off day this coming Monday, the Cubs will play 23 consecutive games including all six of the remaining games against the Brewers. I’d like to have Bryant’s bat back on September 1 to be sure. It sounds like Brandon Morrow and Yu Darvish should be back around then as well. Though if you haven’t heard, it sounds like Morrow is going to fight through some health issues the remainder of the way. The Cubs did know what they were getting when they signed him. Fortunately, it is a very deep bullpen and though Morrow makes it all the more dominating, they are not one man dependent.
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 122, August 18 - Cubs bats held to one again in 3-1 loss (71-51)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Randy Rosario (.093). Randy doesn’t see the early innings of a game often. But pressed into action early he threw scoreless third and fourth innings, allowing just one hit.
- Hero - Tommy La Stella (.079). One of the more perfectly executed hit and runs you’ll ever see. With Willson Contreras in motion ahead of him, Tommy singled through the spot vacated by the shortstop as he moved over to cover second. That set up the Cubs best scoring chance of the night with first and third and only one out.
- Kid - Jesse Chavez (.062). Jesse too threw two scoreless innings. His were a mixed bag. He did strike out three. But he also allowed three hits.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - Tyler Chatwood (-.223). Tyler lasted just two innings, allowed two hits, three walks and three runs. This may be the last time this year Tyler throws a pitch in a game the Cubs are tied or leading in. Unless there are a few more lopsided wins.
- Goat - Javier Baez (-.168). Batting in the middle of the order, a slump will kill your Heroes and Goats cumulative score. Javy was hitless in four at bats, striking out twice. He also grounded into a double play after Anthony Rizzo reached base to start the second.
- Kid - Addison Russell (-.130). He struck out after the Tommy La Stella single. That seemed like the pivotal moment in the game. Russell was hitless in three at bats before leaving. He struck out twice. Joe Maddon for some reason says Russell is fine. I have eyes. Russell is not fine. He can barely swing the bat. If he isn’t hurt, then his mechanics are so bad that he should be getting several days off for that reason.
WPA Play of the Game: Tyler Chatwood issued back to back walks to start the bottom of the second. That brought Adam Frazier to the plate and he split the gap in right center for an RBI double to give the Pirates their first run of the series. (.133)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Tommy La Stella’s single in the fifth to put runners on first and third with one out. (.079)
- Superhero - Javier Baez 19.5
- Hero - Pedro Strop 17
- Sidekick - Ben Zobrist 16
Up Next: The two teams complete their four game series and play their final Pittsburgh game of the season this afternoon. The two teams will meet for their final four games of the year in Chicago in late September. Jose Quintana will make the start for the Cubs. Jose is 10-9 with a 4.46 ERA in what has been a disappointing season for Jose. Over his last seven starts, he’s 4-3 with a 4.81 ERA. But he’s lost three of his last four starts and the results have been boom or bust. In the three losses, he’s allowed at least five runs in each. In the one win, he allowed only one run in six innings. Hopefully, he can bounce back and have a good one. Last time was one of the bad ones. Against the Brewers on Tuesday he lasted only five innings allowing six hits, a walk and five runs. He did strike out five, but he allowed three home runs. He has yet to face the Pirates this year. Last year in two starts against them he threw 12 innings and allowed 10 hits, three runs and one walk. He struck out 15. So that’s encouraging.
Jameson Taillon is on the other side. Jameson is 9-9 with a 3.66 ERA. Jameson has already thrown more innings this year than he has ever thrown at the big league level with over a month remaining. It will be interesting to see if he starts to wear down at some point. His recent numbers show little sign of that. He’s 4-3 over his last seven with a 2.89 ERA. Last time out he didn’t pitch all that badly, but he took the loss. He threw six innings and allowed seven hits, one walk and three runs. He struck out four. He has faced the Cubs once this year and he won that start. He lasted 6⅔ innings and allowed seven hits, two walks and three runs. Last year the Cubs were 2-1 against him in three stars. They scored 11 runs on him in 16⅓ innings of work. Hopefully the bats can finally break out and put a crooked number or two on the board.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Tommy La Stella