I think I started being nervous about Thursday’s game on Wednesday. The Cubs managed just two runs in winning Wednesday’s game and a total of three runs for the three games in St. Louis. None of the Cubs big four hitters is particularly locked in right now and so the offense is pretty inept right now. And so it is that the road woes continue.
About the only positive thing to say about Thursday’s game is that all of the newcomers got into action. Accordingly, there are a bunch of new faces in today’s Heroes and Goats spots. So I guess that is a positive. The only one of the July acquisitions who had a particularly rough day was Derek Holland, who was not used in a way to play up his strengths. We knew ahead of time that he is only effective against lefthanded hitters. So of course, the first righthanded hitter he faced in this one hit a homer.
As it turns out, none of that really mattered. The Cubs offense never left the starting gate and so the Cardinals could have scored one run or 100 runs and on this night it appears likely the result would have been a Cubs loss.
54 games remain, exactly 27 at home and 27 on the road. If they win two of every three home games but only one of every three road games, they’d only make it to 84 wins. I feel pretty certain they’ll have to beat that number. So they are going to need to win something like three out of four at home or something like half of the road games. Their current pace simply doesn’t seem to be good enough.
They are home for the next six games. Those six games are against the struggling Brewers (who just took two of three from the Cubs last weekend) and the Athletics who are making a playoff push in the American League. After that, the Cubs head out on an 11-day, three-city, 10-game road trip to play the Reds, Phillies and Pirates. It really feels like all of the margin of error on this season has been used up.
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 108, August 1: Cubs 0, Cardinals 8 (57-51)
- Superhero: Nicholas Castellanos (.029). A single and a walk in four plate appearances. The Cubs managed only three base-runners and Castellanos was two of them.
- Hero: Kyle Schwarber (.004). He had the other hit in the game. He had one hit in three at bats.
- Sidekick: David Phelps (.000). I had to break a tie from several players who all finished at .000 for this spot. Phelps faced two batters and retired one. Everyone else who finished with .000 was either a pitcher who allowed a run or a hitter who was hitless.
- Billy Goat: Jon Lester (-.127). Five innings, five runs on nine hits. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out six.
- Goat: Kris Bryant (-.082). Kris struck out all three times he batted.
- Kid: Tony Kemp/Javier Baez (-.054). Each hitter was hitless in three at bats.
WPA Play of the Game: Kolton Wong’s two-out RBI-single in the fourth made it 2-0. (.104)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With first and third and one out in the fourth, Jon Lester struck out Matt Wieters. (.063)
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
- Kris Bryant 25.5
- Anthony Rizzo 22
- Kyle Hendricks 14
- Jason Heyward/!Carl Edwards Jr. -12
- Albert Almora Jr. -12.5
- *Pedro Strop -17
Up Next: The Cubs will look to continue their hot play at Wrigley Field. When they were last at home, they were taking seven of nine to start the second half. The Brewers just dropped two of three themselves to the A’s. Overall, they’ve lost three of four including the last game of the series against the Cubs.
Jose Quintana will be the Cubs starter in this rematch of the July 28 game between the two teams. Jose is 8-7 with a 4.47 ERA in 116⅔ innings. He is 4-1 over his last seven starts with a 5.68 ERA in 38 innings. Those numbers are significantly inflated by one start in which he allowed nine runs (eight earned) over 4⅓ innings against the Mets. Last time out, he received a no-decision against the Brewers. In that one, the Cubs jumped out to an early lead and then Q had to be replaced in the fifth. He lasted 4⅔ innings and allowed four hits, two walks and three runs. He struck out three. Over his last five against the Brewers he is 1-2 with a 5.19 ERA in 26 innings of work. Current Brewers have 305 plate appearances against Q with a .652 OPS. Lorenzo Cain has the most PA (95) and a .740 OPS.
The Brewers counter with 26-year-old righty Zach Davies. Zach is 8-4 with a 3.56 ERA in 118⅔ innings. Over his last seven starts, he is 1-3 with a 4.71 ERA in 36⅓innings. Against the Cubs last weekend he was tagged for seven runs in just five innings. Over his last five starts against the Cubs he is 1-2 with a 3.58 ERA in in 27⅔ innings.
Davies has allowed a .839 OPS to left-handed hitters. Davies has allowed a .692 OPS to righties. He’s been better on the road (.730) than at home (.805). Current Cubs have 299 plate appearances against Zach with a .718 OPS. Kris Bryant leads the Cubs in PA (46) and has been very productive (.938). Only Kyle Schwarber has a higher OPS with more than 10 PA. Schwarber has a .990 OPS in 29 PA.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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