Same old stuff, different day. The scene changed from Cincinnati to Philadelphia, but the results didn’t change so much. With last night’s game, the Cubs have now managed 11 runs over the last four games. What’s worse is that they managed six in the one win. Put more eloquently, in the three losses, the Cubs have managed a total of five runs. The starting pitching was by and large pretty good. But the bullpen allowed two runs in two innings of work.
Cubs hitters managed only five hits in this one. They also coaxed five walks for those suggesting the offense isn’t patient enough. Nicholas Castellanos was added to address the Cubs offensive woes against left-handed pitching. He had a single, a homer and scored both runs. The rest of the team managed three hits as this team continues to not hit against left-handed pitching.
The bullpen was both inefficient and not good. After starter Jose Quintana allowed two runs over six innings, four relievers combined to allow two runs on four hits. With four relievers being used in this game, the team both lost and won’t have a fresh bullpen on Wednesday night. None of the pitchers who were used would likely be headed back to Iowa if Craig Kimbrel is to come off of the injured list on the first available date. From the reports earlier in the day, I do not expect that he will be activated.
With this loss, the Cubs reach the halfway point of this trip at 2-3. After a 5-1 homestand against two pretty good opponents, some were hoping that maybe this team was starting to gel at just the right time. I don’t see the evidence of that. Every team gets ambushed occasionally like Saturday night’s loss in Cincinnati. So I’m not suggesting that there is a “typical loss” that identifies a contender as opposed to a pretender. My problem is all too often if feels like the other team was just better on a given day. This one felt that way to me. However, when I go to the statistics, I get a mixed bag. The Phillies offense had a combined wOBA of .343 while the Cubs had just a .276. That’s a significant difference. On the flip side, Phillies pitchers had a FIP of 6.00 while the Cubs had a 1.84. Mixed messages for sure.
Bottom line, the Cubs offense didn’t answer the bell and the B team relievers weren’t up to the task of holding on to a tie game.
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 119, August 13: Cubs 2, Philles 4 (64-55)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.105). KB had a walk and a double in four plate appearances. Both times on base followed Nick Castellanos getting on base and served to up the odds of a Cubs win.
- Hero: Nicholas Castellanos (.102). Nick also had two hits in four at bats. One was a solo homer, the other was a single. He scored both Cubs runs.
- Sidekick: Jose Quintana (.050). Jose certainly deserved better in this one. In six innings, he allowed five hits, two walks and two runs. He struck out a career-high 14.
- Billy Goat: David Phelps (-.167). Phelps faced three batters, struck out one and allowed an RBI double.
- Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.159). With the two guys in front of him getting on four combined times, the four hitless at bats of Rizzo were magnified.
- Kid: Ian Happ (-.155). Happ was also hitless in four at bats.
WPA Play of the Game: With two outs and a runner on first in the seventh inning, David Phelps allowed an RBI-double to J.T. Realmuto, allowing the go ahead and eventually decisive run to score. (.248)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Castellanos lead off the sixth inning with a solo homer to tie the game at two. (.168)
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
- Kris Bryant 30.75
- Anthony Rizzo 20
- Javier Baez 14.5
- Jason Heyward/!Carl Edwards Jr. -12
- Pedro Strop -17.5
Kris Bryant crosses the 30 point plateau and has opened more than a 10 point lead as we close in on the final 40 games of the season.
Up Next: The Cubs have now lost three of their last four. The Phillies win was only their second in their last seven. Cole Hamels will be making his first-ever road start against the Phillies. He is 6-3 with a 3.09 ERA in 107⅔ innings. Over his last seven starts, he’s been even better with a 2-1 record and a 2.13 ERA in 38 innings. Those seven starts date back to June 7 due to time lost to an injury. Cole has no W/L record since coming off of the injured list. He’s allowed five runs, four earned in just eight innings of work. All of those runs allowed came in Cincinnati in just three innings of work last Thursday. He’ll look to improve on that in just his second ever start against the Phillies. The last one was in May when he got a no decision for a four inning outing. He allowed nine hits, two walks and three runs in that one. Current Phillies have 169 PA against him lead by Bryce Harper (46, .662 OPS). Of those with more than 10 PA, J.T. Realmuto has the best results (12, .962).
On the other side, the Phillies throw their best in Aaron Nola. The 26-year-old right-hander is 10-3 with a 3.67 ERA in 147⅓ innings. Over his last seven, he’s 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA over 43⅓ innings, but the one loss was the last time out. In that one, he allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks in just five innings of work. Aaron has had very little success against the Cubs in his career. He is 2-1, but has a 5.11 ERA in 24⅔ innings. He faced the Cubs earlier this year and recorded a win despite allowing three runs in just 5 1⁄3 innings. He allowed four hits and four walks in that one.
Nola has allowed only a .672 OPS to right-handed hitters while allowing a .763 to lefties. He’s also been better at home (.682) than on the road (.757). Current Cubs have only 99 PA against the Phillies starter and have recorded a .705 OPS. Only two Cubs have more than 10 PA against Nola. Anthony Rizzo (12, 1.694) has crushed Nola with two homers among four hits and also three walks. Kyle Schwarber has decent results as well (12, .733), including a triple and two walks.
The Cubs must find a way to beat Nola and the Phillies if they want any chance at a series win in Philadelphia. Despite the decent numbers, Nola will be a tough draw in this one.
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