Well, at least the Cubs won the first game of this series. This one looked like more of the same that we’ve seen on the road this year. The Cubs fell behind while the bats looked inept early. To be fair, this one wasn’t hard to see coming. Trevor Bauer had been a perfect 3-0 in regular season starts against the Cubs and now it is 4-0. Bauer allowed three hits, two walks and one run while striking out 11 in seven innings.
Meanwhile, Yu Darvish continued to pound the zone. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out nine in six innings. He allowed only four hits, but that became four runs due to three homers allowed. Almost all of Yu’s numbers are the best he’s had in years. Unfortunately, his HR/9 and his FB % are both career highs. Some pitchers appear to have been hurt more than others by the changes to the baseball. Darvish seems to be one of them.
The Cubs did make some noise in the eighth inning of this one, but only pushed one run across the board after the first four batters reached. I’m told that Javy Baez hit a ground ball with the bases loaded that just missed getting through. That obviously would have changed things significantly. Most days, a few feet here, a few inches there would totally change the outcome.
Eight games remain on this road trip, including two more in Cincinnati. I for one am interested to see how the Cubs respond to this loss.
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 116, August 9: Cubs 2, Reds 5 (63-53)
- Superhero: Anthony Rizzo (.275). Anthony reached based three times in four plate appearances, including being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth inning.
- Hero: Kris Bryant (.149). KB reached three times in four plate appearances as well, twice via the walk.
- Sidekick: Nicholas Castellanos (.075). Nick homered in the first inning to extend his hitting streak as a Cub to his first nine games. That was his only hit and he ended up striking out twice.
- Billy Goat: Ian Happ (-.269). Ian takes a step back with two strikeouts in four hitless at bats. This is his first negative appearance after six straight positive appearances to start his year.
- Goat: Javier Baez (-.228). Javy was hitless in four at bats with one strikeout.
- Kid: Kyle Schwarber (-.194). Kyle was also hitless with two strikeouts in four at bats. The three hitters that land here at the bottom all batted consecutively starting with no outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning.
WPA Play of the Game: Aristides Aquino homered with a man on in the second inning to give the Reds a 2-1 lead they never relinquished. (.150)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth inning, driving in a run to cut the deficit at the time to 5-2. (.116)
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
- Kris Bryant 24.75
- Anthony Rizzo 19
- Javier Baez 16.5
- Jason Heyward/!Carl Edwards Jr. -12
- Pedro Strop -17.5
Up Next: The Cubs will look to get back in the win column with Kyle Hendricks on the mound. Kyle is 8-8 with a 3.06 ERA in 126⅔ innings. He is only 1-3 over his last seven starts despite a 2.35 ERA in 38⅓ innings of work. Last time out, Kyle got a no decision against the A’s. He threw 6 1⁄3 innings and allowed one hit, two walks and two runs. He struck out five. Hendricks has made three starts against the Reds this year and he is 1-0 and has allowed six runs in 20 innings of work. His one win was the only start he made in Cincinnati. Current Reds have 227 plate appearances versus Kyle with a .658 OPS. Eugenio Suarez has the most PA (39), but hasn’t done much (.664). The player to watch is Joey Votto. Joey has crushed Kyle. in 38 PA, he has 10 H including two doubles and three homers. He’s also walked 12 times. That amounts to a 1.387 OPS. Oddly enough, with the three homers, he’s only drive in three runs.
The Reds have 29-year-old right-hander Sonny Gray on the mound. Sonny is only 6-6 on the year with a 3.25 ERA in 123⅔ innings. Over his last seven, he is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in 45⅔ innings. Last time out he got a tough luck no decision despite throwing seven shutout innings at Atlanta. He allowed four hits, four walks and struck out seven. Gray has started three games against the Cubs this year and is 1-1 with seven runs allowed in 17⅓ innings. Current Cubs have only 92 PA against Gray with a .670 OPS. Jason Heyward has the most PA (13) but despite one homer, he has only a .385 OPS (the only time he reached base was the one homer). Nick Castellanos has a double and a triple in eight PA (1.625).
Tough pitching matchup, but Kyle Hendricks is the de facto ace of the Cubs. If he pitches like he has the last couple of times out, I believe the Cubs will win.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Jason Heyward (2B, BB)
Other (please leave your suggestion in the comments below).