Ho hum. I feel like this was one of those bad 80’s sequels. On Thursday, the Cubs built an early 6-1 deficit with swingman Tyler Chatwood being charged for all six runs. On Friday, the Cubs tried to top that by building a 6-0 deficit with swingman Mike Montgomery pressed into action after starter Cole Hamels left in some discomfort. On Thursday, the Cubs came from behind, ultimately winning 9-7. On Friday. the Cubs rally came up short and they lost to the Reds 6-3.
The team has been stuck in some kind of funk. Rather than re-type it all, I’ll just re-post this from yesterday:
For a good long while, the Cubs have been running fair to cold. On May 14, the Cubs were 25-14 after winning the first game of a series in Cincinnati (where they’ll play tonight, how serendipitous?). Since that day, the Cubs have
had only two days offa record of 19-23. So things haven’t been going great. Not awful, but not great.
I said more than that, but that’s the gist of it. This team has gone through a long stretch with limited rest (and they’ve basically not spent one minute making excuses about it). During that stretch, Kyle Hendricks went down with an injury, Carl Edwards Jr. went down with an injury and now Hamels has gone down with an injury. To say that all of this is sub-optimal would be an understatement.
There was some discussion in the pre-series and pre-game threads that the Cubs bullpen could be shorthanded Friday night due to some over-usage. On the upside, the Cubs didn’t really have problems filling the innings. On the downside, Mike Montgomery got rocked and the Cubs couldn’t recover from that. On the bigger downside, the Cubs bullpen had to throw seven innings and there is still no off day on the way.
The Cubs had already announced that Adbert Alzolay would get another start in the upcoming series at Pittsburgh. It suddenly seems very likely that Chatwood will get another start unless the Cubs have a pitcher at Iowa who they feel comfortable with starting a game such as Alec Mills.
Wherever bottom is for this team, they haven’t hit it in this recent stretch (though one might argue they hit it in early April). On the bright side, the Brewers lost again and the Central just keeps getting closer.
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 82, June 27: Cubs 3, Reds 6 (44-38)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.033). Kris had a single and two walks in four plate appearances. Unfortunately, he did score despite setting the table all night.
- Hero: Kyle Ryan (.015). Kyle recorded four outs while allowing two hits, a walk and striking out one.
- Sidekick: Steve Cishek/Brad Brach (.006). Brach had the longer outing with 2⅓ scoreless innings. He allowed one hit, one walk and struck out three. Cishek had the higher leverage inning, throwing a scoreless eighth with the Cubs down three.
- Billy Goat: Mike Montgomery (-.199). Mike was pressed into emergency duty and could not put out any fires. He recorded seven outs while allowing six hits, three walks and five runs. He did strikeout one.
- Goat: Willson Contreras (-.087). Willson made the final out in the eighth inning after the Cubs got the tying run to the plate. He was hitless in four at bats.
- Kid: Javier Baez (-.077). Javy made the second out in the eighth inning with the tying run at the plate. Javy had one hit and one run along with two strikeouts in four at bats.
WPA Play of the Game: Phillip Ervin was the first batter Montgomery faced. He hit a solo homer. (.092)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning after Kris Bryant had already drawn a one out walk. (.046)
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
- Anthony Rizzo - 17
- Kris Bryant - 14
- Willson Contreras - 12
- *Carl Edwards Jr. -9
- Yu Darvish -12
- Jason Heyward -14
Up Next: Game two of the series will see the Cubs looking to get back in the winning column, while the Reds look for back-to-back wins. The Cubs will have Jose Quintana starting. Jose is struggling a bit. On the season, he is 4-7 with a 4.50 ERA in 88 innings of work. Over his last seven starts, he is 0-4 with a 5.65 ERA in 36⅔ innings. Jose is clearly trending in the wrong direction. Last time out, he was shelled against the Mets. In that one he allowed nine runs (eight earned) in just 4⅓ innings. He allowed nine hits, two walks and struck out three.
Quintana has already faced the Reds twice this year and is 0-2 and has allowed nine runs (eight earned) in 10⅓ innings of work. Current Reds have 196 career plate appearances against Q with a .795 OPS. Jose Iglesias leads the way with 32 PA (.594 OPS). Joey Votto has only 20 PA, but he’s had quite a bit more success (1.200 OPS).
The Reds have talented, young, right-handed pitcher Luis Castillo on the mound. Luis is 7-2 with a 2.56 ERA in 91⅓ innings. In his last seven games, Luis is 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 35 innings of work. Last time out, he took a loss in Milwaukee when he allowed six runs (four earned) in just 3⅔ innings . He allowed five hits, five walks and struck out six. He’s faced the Cubs once this year, actually in a game started by Jose Quintana. Castillo threw 5⅓ innings in that game against the Cubs and got a win. He allowed only two hits, one walk and two runs. He struck out six.
The 26-year-old right handed pitcher has been much better against RHH (.503 OPS allowed) than LHH (.667). He’s also been much better at home (.465 OPS) than on the road (.725). Current Cubs have 146 plate appearances against Castillo with a .712 OPS. Anthony Rizzo has the largest number of PA at 16 (.466 OPS). Daniel Descalso (14 PA, 1.274) and Kyle Schwarber (12, 1.611) are two Cubs who have had some success in a limited number of PA.
Yet another tough matchup on paper. The Cubs are going to need a very strong start out of Q today.
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