Well, that pretty much sucked. After the joys of beating Lucas Giolito and then the very successful debut of Adbert Alzolay, Friday afternoon’s game was quite a killjoy. I’d love to comfort you all with the old “every team has an airball from time to time,” but the airballs are getting more and more frequent and I know it is getting old.
Even with this being a game that I said would probably be a surprisingly bad matchup, I’m still frustrated by the loss. On a day where the offense was subpar, not one but two runners were lost on the bases. That stuff just shouldn’t happen for a perennial championship contender. The Cubs don’t even have an excuse like the Cardinals who lost a game Thursday night when a pitcher was picked off of second base for the final out.
This one was just a stinker. Hopefully, the Cubs can fumigate the park and get right back to it Saturday afternoon against a woeful Mets team that seems to crave giving games away. Fortunately, the Brewers continue to slide and got beat once again by the Reds on Friday night to preserve the Cubs’ 1½-game lead in the division. June is too early to worry about such things, but at the same time, better to be up than down any time.
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 75, June 21: Cubs 4, Mets 5 (41-34)
- Superhero: Addison Russell (.197). One of Friday’s starting second basemen at Wrigley Field makes millions of dollars, bats third and has a line of .233/.282/.378. The other makes a touch over 10 percent as much money and has a line of .239/.301/.413. Neither team’s fanbase is probably all too happy the player in question is under contract. Addison hit a two-run homer. It was his only hit in three at bats.
- Hero: Rowan Wick (.036). One inning of work, no one put the ball in play. Three strikeouts, one walk.
- Sidekick: Brad Brach (.024). Brad allowed a hit to the first batter he faced, then retired the next two. Brad doesn’t get the negative WPA that followed when that runner became the winning run.
- Billy Goat: Yu Darvish (-.198). Yu had a big day at the plate (.154), but couldn’t quite balance the ledger by limiting the damage on the mound. He allowed four runs on four hits and two walks in six innings. Four hits and two walks usually aren’t going to produce four runs, but he allowed two long balls.
- Goat: Willson Contreras (-.159). Willson had a hit in four trips to the plate. But that single ended up with negative WPA thanks to an Anthony Rizzo base-running blunder (-.067).
- Kid: Mike Montgomery (-.123). Mike allowed a hit to the first batter he faced. That allowed the runner he inherited from Brach. He then retired four more hitters while allowing one more hit and a walk.
WPA Play of the Game: Addison Russell (.252). Addison batted with Darvish on first and no outs in the fifth. The Cubs were trailing 3-2. Russell hit his fifth homer of the year to give the Cubs a short lived lead.
*Mets Play of the Game: Jeff McNeil (.210). McNeil batted with one out and a runner on first in the third inning. He went deep and gave the Mets a 3-2 lead.
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
- Kris Bryant 14
- Anthony Rizzo 13
- Cole Hamels 8
- Yu Darvish/Carl Edwards Jr. -9
- Jason Heyward -18
Up Next: The Cubs seek their third win in four days while the Mets attempt to avoid losing their third in four games. Jose Quintana is the Cubs starter. Jose is 4-6 with a 3.87 ERA in 83⅔ innings on the season. Over his last seven, he’s 0-4 with a 4.34 ERA. Last time out he allowed two runs on six hits and three walks over five innings of a no decision against the Dodgers in LA. Q faced the Mets once last year and he got the win with six shutout innings allowing three hits, two walks and no runs. Current Mets have a .621 OPS in 67 plate appearances. Robinson Cano leads the way with 22 PA (.935 OPS).
The Mets send Zack Wheeler to the hill. Zack is 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA. The 29-year-old righthander is 2-3 with a 5.60 ERA over his last seven starts. Last time out, he was a loser in a six inning start in Atlanta. The Braves had 10 hits, two walks and five runs (four earned). Wheeler faced the Cubs in New York last year and got a no decision. He threw six innings and allowed seven hits, two walks and two runs. He struck out four.
Current Cubs have just 71 plate appearances (.959 OPS) against Wheeler. Jason Heyward leads the way with 25 PA and an OPS of 1.027. On the season, Wheeler has been pretty split neutral (.726 v RHH and .731 v LHH). Like Vargas yesterday, Wheeler has done better at home. (.623 at home, .815 road).
This looks like one that the Cubs should win.,
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Yu Darvish, hitter
Other (please leave your suggestion in the comments).