If you have been following my writing for a few years you know that I’ll occasionally come away from a game with two different points of view on the same game. Last night was definitely one of them.
On the one hand, the Cubs went into last night’s game 13-3 and lost a close one. No big deal, they still have a comfortable lead in the division and a two game lead on the entire National League. The Brewers had arguably their best starter on the hill. The Cubs scratched their fourth starter and their fifth starter was pushed into action. They had lots of baserunners and just came up a little short. As Al has described it this morning, just one bad pitch.
On the other hand, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with this Brewers team. It was far too recently that the Cubs had the division well in hand entering September 2018 only to see the Brewers win a never ending string of close games and win the division. This side of my brain would really, really feel better if the Cubs won both of the remaining two games of the series and kept from giving the Brewers any sense of hope on their way out of town.
Game 17, August 14: Brewers 4, Cubs 3 (13-4)
- Superhero: Anthony Rizzo (.117). He had a single and a walk in five plate appearances. The single came with the bases loaded and capped a three-run rally in the fifth.
- Hero: Ryan Tepera and Jason Heyward (.099). Tepera was a key part of the Cubs bullpen last night. He recorded five outs out of five batters faced in the seventh and eighth innings. Heyward had two more hits, including a single and double. He scored a run as he stays red hot. Heyward leads the Cubs in RBI and has his wRC+ up to 114.
- Billy Goat: Javier Baez (-.257). 2020 hasn’t really been kind to Javy so far and last night was particularly unkind. He struck out four times in five at bats. One of those was with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning and another ended the game. That 1-2 punch is going to put him in a Goat spot more often than not.
- Goat: Alec Mills (-.243). Even with the one bad pitch, I’m not really down about this start. First of all, Mills was perfect through four innings. Second of all, even with the three-run homer, he left with the Cubs down one. The pitcher can’t control the offense, so I’ve really gotten to the point where if the game is within reach when you left, that’s not a terrible start.
- Kid: Josh Phegley (-.199). My biggest problem with the Phegley strikeout against Josh Hader to end the eighth inning is that Kris Bryant wasn’t healthy enough to send up off the bench. Hader is going to be a tall order for literally any hitter, but if Bryant can swing a bat, that’s his spot.
WPA Play of the Game: On Thursday, there weren’t any particularly huge plays. Last night, there were so many plate appearances that could have shifted the game and provided a different outcome. Six different plays shifted the outcome by 10 percent or more and two more just under that threshold. One of them shifted it basically 30 percent. That was Christian Yelich’s three-run homer in the sixth inning. It came right after the Cubs own three-run rally in the fifth. (.299)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Kyle Schwarber’s one-out double in the eighth inning led one last charge by the Cubs offense. (.119)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Ian Happ 9
- Jon Lester/Yu Darvish 7
- Nico Hoerner -5.5
- Willson Contreras -6
- Kris Bryant -10
Up Next: Game three of the four game set has been moved up to this afternoon. The Cubs will send Colin Rea to the mound, making his first MLB start since 2016. He’ll face Adrian Houser who has been very good for the Brewers. The oddsmakers are seeing this as a Brewers win. Let’s hope they aren’t correct.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Craig Kimbrel (how did that happen?)