Due to familial obligations, I didn’t watch yesterday’s game. From what I gathered checking in on the game from time to time, I didn’t miss a thing. Given that for an enormous part of the population today is a holiday, we’ll try to hit the high points and try to forget about this game.
Yu Darvish made another start. Amazingly, he had been the last Cub starter to allow a run when he allowed two runs in the first game of the Marlins series. Five hits, three walks and two home runs is not a good thing. I’m told the wind was howling in. But the Cubs allowed three homers. I always hate when the weather only effects one of the teams.
It’s easy to blame Yu for this one. He got knocked around a bit after all. But, the Cubs bats managed four hits and two walks. The Cubs didn’t mount any kind of offensive in this. You can’t know that things wouldn’t have been different if the offense hadn’t been working uphill against a guy who has a very warm place arranged for him in the Hall of Very Good. Zack Greinke has had a rough start to his 2019 campaign, but just a day earlier another pitcher who is likely headed for the HoVG bounced back from his own rough start to the season in Kyle Hendricks.
I don’t love that the Cubs mustered only one hit in three innings against Tony Clarke who was making his major league debut.
Sometimes this will happen on getaway day ahead of a holiday. What? There is a game on Sunday? This wasn’t a getaway day? Heavy sigh.
I hope everyone enjoys any holiday they are recognizing this weekend. If this is extra time with your family, enjoy that. Also, please, please don’t send all of your mental negative energy at Tyler Chatwood who is starting to the Cubs. Our collective negative energy probably plays no role whatsoever in the struggles of Chatwood and Darvish. But it certainly can’t help that every time one of them goes to the mound there is a collective ire and apprehension that is palpable. We all know, those two guys have underwhelmed. But the final chapter hasn’t been written for either, so let’s just watch it play out.
Darvish loss, Chatwood, off day, three games with the Dodgers. Buckle up, there is some chance that this will be another frustrating week in Cub Nation. IF this week should go south, remember that the Cubs have already bounced back from one rough week. Baseball works like that. One week you are on top of the world. The next week you are the stuff stuck to the bottom of a shoe.
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 19, April 20: Cubs 0, Diamondbacks 6 (9-10)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.054). Kris had a double and a walk in four plate appearances. I’m told the double was flat out crushed but died in the wind. Did I mention how much I hate when the weather only effects one team? KB is such a good hitter that he’s had a terrible slump over the first 19 games and he has a line of .239/.349/.380 (wRC+ 99).
- Hero: Willson Contreras (.050). Contreras had a single and a walk in three plate appearances before the Cubs decided to actually let Taylor Davis see some playing time.
- Sidekick: Randy Rosario (.002). This feels like an innocent bystander placing at .002, but he did actually throw two scoreless innings, keeping alive what little chances the Cubs had at a miracle comeback. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out two.
- Billy Goat: Yu Darvish (-.131). Five innings, five hits, three walks, three runs. Seven strikeouts. As bad starts go, that one isn’t terrible. But I get it, we’re all frustrated. I bet Yu is more frustrated than all of us.
Goat: Jason Heyward (-.120).
All he does is ground into double plays. Nah, that’s totally unfair. Sure, he is tied for the MLB lead in grounding into double plays. But, he is also 15th in MLB in OPS at 1.054. That includes seventh in MLB in OBP at .465 (one notch behind Contreras at .478). Jason did have one single in three at bats. But the double play (-.073) lands him here.
- Kid: Allen Webster (-.099). Allen recorded five outs. That’s the good news. The bad? He allowed six hits and three runs (two earned). He allowed a homer and struck out two. It is rarely okay when a reliever allows more hits than the starter he followed.
WPA Play of the Game: This one didn’t take long. Just the second batter of the game took Yu deep (and so did the third). That turned out to be all the DBacks needed in this one. (.103)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Kris Bryant hit a ground rule double leading off the fourth inning. (.063)
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
(# = returned to minors)
- Willson Contreras 7
- Jason Heyward/Daniel Descalso 6
- Albert Almora Jr. -6
- Yu Darvish/#Carl Edwards Jr. -8
Up Next: Each team has been hot, with the Cubs having won six of their last eight and the Dbacks having won five of their last six. Each is also looking to win the series. The Cubs will have Tyler Chatwood making his first start of 2019. Tyler has a 6.00 ERA in just six innings of work on the year. Of course, he’s coming off of leading the major leagues in walks allowed last year. With Jon Lester not quite ready to return and Mike Montgomery also hurt, Tyler pretty much had to get a start.
So here are some gory numbers. Tyler Chatwood with six or more days rest as a starter. Opponents have an OPS of .891. Tyler has made 32 such starts and is 7-16 with a 6.44 ERA. But, the numbers aren’t all horrible. The DBacks have put up a .771 OPS against Tyler in 12 games totaling 265 plate appearances. Tyler is 5-3 with a 4.31 ERA in those 12 games (10 starts). That amounts to 59⅔ innings of work. Players currently on the Diamondbacks 40 man roster have a total of 88 plate appearances against Chatwood. The player he’s most likely to see today with the largest number of plate appearances is David Peralta. Tyler has held Peralta to a .625 OPS over 16 plate appearances.
Left-hander Robbie Ray starts for the Diamondbacks. I’m not above recycling a joke that is probably only funny to a small part of the audience. I can only ever think of Robbie Ray as the Marvel character Ghost Rider/Robbie Reyes. Robbie the pitcher is 0-1 with a 4.64 ERA in 21⅓ innings of work on the year. Last time out, he was knocked around by the Braves in Atlanta. He allowed seven hits, four walks and five runs in just six innings of work. He last won a game... in September of 2018 when he threw six innings of one hit, four walk shutout ball against... the Cubs.
Current Cubs have a total of 63 plate appearances against Ray. The largest number of plate appearances against him by a Cub are by Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo has 12 PA against Ray and has an OPS of .258. One walk and one single in 12 plate appearances. Wouldn’t be the worst time in the history of the world to give Rizzo a day off ahead of an actual day off, something Joe has always liked to do. Ray has very pronounced career splits. He allows a .753 OPS to right handed hitters and .646 to lefties. The differences come from .060 points less of on base percentage and .047 points of slugging percentage. Expect a heavier than usual dose of right handed bats today including Albert Almora Jr., David Bote and Mark Zagunis to get playing time.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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