Once again, the Cubs fell flat on the road. They allowed a total of six homers, fell behind 7-0 by the third inning and never really challenged in this one. The offense managed seven hits and four walks, but only one run on a late solo homer. Cubs pitchers allowed 18 hits, three walks and 10 runs. The final 5⅓ innings were thrown by pitchers who have spent the majority of the year in Iowa.
With the score out of hand early, the Cubs got Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez some time off. With any luck, they’ll be rested and ready to go for the finale Sunday. The chance of finally winning another road series has gone by the board for this series. Now, the Cubs can only hope they can salvage a tie in the series.
It feels over done to get into gnashing of teeth at this point. We all have the same eyes, see the same things. This team is extremely talented on paper, but it just hasn’t equated at all on the road. Certainly, there is enough talent to have a chance at winning post season games if they get there, This team is fortunate that it plays in a division with very mediocre teams, giving it a reasonable chance of holding on to win the NL Central. But, for whatever reason, the sum of the parts is less that the individual value of the players. It’s odd and somewhat had to watch.
It’s hard to imagine that the front office won’t do anything to shuffle the deck in the off season. It just isn’t working anymore with this group of players. I don’t know if it is a Joe Maddon thing or if they need to change the core of this team. It’s hard to make anyone the scapegoat. I don’t think it is any one person or thing.
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 117, August 10: Cubs 1, Reds 10 (64-54)
- Superhero: Anthony Rizzo (.046). Anthony was hit by a pitch leading off the second inning and then walked with one out in the fourth. So he had no official at bat in this game before leaving early.
- Hero: David Bote (.031). David reached three times in just four plate appearances. He had a walk, a single and a double on the day.
- Sidekick: Tony Kemp/Victor Caratini (.001). Two of the guys who came off of the bench to play reach the last spot. Tony had two hits in two at bats. Vic had a walk and a strikeout in two plate appearances.
- Billy Goat: Kyle Hendricks (-.332). In one of the worst starts of his whole career, Kyle allowed 12 hits in just 2⅔ innings. Three of those 12 left the yard. He struck out two and didn’t walk anyone.
- Goat: Javier Baez (-.049). Javy was hitless in his two at bats before leaving the game.
- Kid: Albert Almora Jr. (-.046). I’d love to be angry that Almora led off, but the whole team struggled and Albert was the least of the worries. Still, he was hitless in five at bats and struck out twice.
WPA Play of the Game: Josh VanMeter had a double with two outs and a runner on second in the first inning. (.101)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Anthony Rizzo’s hit by pitch leading off the second inning and Josh VanMeter being caught stealing to end the top of the first both had the same value. (.040)
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
- Kris Bryant 24.75
- Anthony Rizzo 22
- Javier Baez 14,5
- Jason Heyward/!Carl Edwards Jr. -12
- Pedro Strop -17.5
Up Next: The Cubs will look to snap a two-game skid and to split the series at two games apiece. The Reds will look for a third straight win and yet another series win against the Cubs. They lead the overall series nine games to six with just four games remaining. The Cubs will have to win all four if they want to win the season series.
The Cubs will send Jon Lester out looking for his 10th win of the season. He is 9-8 with a 4.39 ERA in 123 innings. Over his last seven starts, he has a 2-3 record and a 5.53 ERA in 50⅔ innings. He’s lost his last two starts and hasn’t won a game since July 13. Last time out, he got demolished by the A’s in Wrigley Field. He allowed 10 hits, 11 runs (nine earned) and three walks in just four innings of work. He’s faced the Reds once this year and he is 0-1 and allowed four runs (three earned) in just 5⅔ innings. Current Reds have 197 plate appearances against Jon with a .712 OPS. Joey Votto has the most PA (45) but only a .717 OPS. Eugenio Suarez has done the most damage to Jon. He has four homers in just 41 PA and an OPS of 1.096.
The Reds have Luis Castillo on the mound. Luis is 11-4 with a 2.63 ERA in 137 innings. He is 4-2 with a 2.76 ERA in his last seven starts, covering 45⅔ innings. He’s won his last two starts. In the last one, he won against the Angels in Cincinnati. He allowed only three hits, one walk and two runs over seven innings while striking out 13. He’s faced the Cubs three times already this year. He is 2-1 and has allowed only six runs in 17⅓ innings. Current Cubs have 198 PA against Castillo with a .720 OPS. Anthony Rizzo has 22 PA with a .634. Kyle Schwarber has done well against Castillo. He had three homers in just 18 PA and a 1.643 OPS.
This looks like another tough one for the Cubs.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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Once again, there really wasn’t one.
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