Friday night was not a great night for those teams that are near the top of the National League standings. Not only did the Cubs lose, but so did the Nationals, Phillies, and Cardinals. Of course, if you are the Cardinals or Nationals, you are pretty happy with your current position and thus this wasn’t a really bad thing. If you were the Cubs or Phillies, you missed an opportunity to capitalize on the losses by the other two. The Brewers and Diamondbacks kept their slim playoff hopes alive. Though in the case of the D-backs, with nine wins in 10 games, they are actually creeping into the picture at 2½ back of the Cubs.
Cole Hamels struggled once again. Should the Cubs make the playoffs, it is really hard to imagine Cole having a role with them. I hesitate to believe that he just suddenly got old in season. So my best guess is that he didn’t get all of the way healthy before coming back.
Of course, this is the problem when the team is sluggish and the price for blowing a lot of leads, particularly early in the season. The team has had to scrap and claw for everything all year. So one of the end results is a ton of guys playing banged up instead of getting rest and getting healthy when they are banged up. The depth at Iowa this year was actually pretty good and when the team has had to reach down to grab a player, they’ve definitely gotten some production. But, of course, you can’t replace a Kris Bryant, a Javier Baez, an Anthony Rizzo or a Willson Contreras. There also isn’t fantastic starting pitcher depth. And so, there has been a lot of just trying to get guys back out on the field, perhaps in some cases where they still weren’t healthy.
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 140, September 6: Cubs 1, Brewers 7 (76-64)
- Superhero: Nicholas Castellanos (.131). Nick had two hits in four at bats and drove in the only run on a solo homer.
- Hero: Kris Bryant (.027). KB had a hit in three at bats.
- Kid: Tyler Chatwood (.022). Tyler threw two scoreless innings.
- Billy Goat: Cole Hamels (-.340). Cole lasted 3 1⁄3 innings and was tagged with nine hits, two walks and five runs.
- Goat: Victor Caratini (-.067). Vic was hitless in three at bats.
- Kid: Ben Zobrist (-.055). Ben was hitless in four at bats and struck out twice.
WPA Play of the Game: Christian Yelich hit a three-run homer in the third inning, erasing an early Cubs 1-0 lead. (.223)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Nick Castellanos had a solo homer in the top of the third. (.120)
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
- Anthony Rizzo 34
- Kris Bryant 30.75
- Kyle Hendricks 16
- !Carl Edwards Jr. -12
- Pedro Strop -20.5
- Jason Heyward -21
Up Next: Game three of a four game set on Saturday. Yu Darvish will get the start for the Cubs. First and foremost, the Cubs will be hoping he’s healthy. Yu is 5-6 with a 4.25 ERA in 152 1⁄3 innings. He is 2-2 in his last seven starts with a 4.73 ERA over 43⅓ innings. Last time he started, he was superb in New York. He got a win for eight innings of five hit, one walk, one run ball. He struck out seven. He has struck out 57 and walked two in that time. He faced the Brewers once this year, in August. He was the winner in that one. He worked five innings and allowed one run on five hits and no walks. He struck out eight. Current Brewers have 114 PA with a .613 OPS against Yu. Lorenzo Cain has 15 PA but only a .343 OPS. Christian Yelich has taken Yu deep twice in only 12 PA (1.317).
The Brewers look to Gio Gonzalez. The 33-year-old left hander is 2-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 67⅓ innings. Over his last seven, he is only 0-1 with a 4.73 ERA in 32⅓ innings His last start was against the Cubs. He threw three scoreless innings, allowing four walks and no hits. He struck out two. He’s faced the Cubs four times this year and is 1-0 and has allowed only three runs in 19⅓ innings. Current Cubs have 256 PA against Gonzalez with a .619 OPS. Jason Heyward has the most PA (48) and has struggled (.429). Anthony Rizzo has actually been worse than that (36, .315).
Gonzalez seems to save his best work for facing the Cubs. Hopefully, that runs out for him this time.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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