The Cubs‘ recent woes continued Friday night. They fell too far behind the Reds and couldn’t complete a late comeback for the second straight game. The loss was the Cubs’ third straight overall and they are now only 5-10 since starting the season 13-3. Fortunately, every other team in the NL Central is under .500 and the Cubs still lead the division by three games (though there are now three teams within four games of first).
Kyle Hendricks had a rough start, allowing 10 hits and five runs over six innings (though he didn’t walk anybody). The offense ultimately tallied five runs, but the final run they allowed put the game too far out of reach.
This series with the Reds figured to be a tough one. Now they have to bounce back and play two more games against the Reds on Saturday. If the Reds were to sweep the two games, they would only be two back of the Cubs.
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) 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. With that, let’s get to the results.
Game 31, August 28: Reds 6, Cubs 5 (18-13)
- Superhero: Jason Heyward (.126). J-Hey returned to the lineup on Friday and reached base three times with a pair of walks and a ninth inning homer. With the nice day at the plate, Heyward now has a .270/.389/.500 line (wRC+ 140). He’s also walked as many times as he’s struck out (14 each).
- Hero: Kyle Schwarber (.068). Schwarbs had two hits and scored twice. One of his two hits left the yard. Kyle has a line of .231/.333/.471 (wRC+ 115). Those numbers are down a bit from 2019, but aren’t too far off of his career numbers.
- Sidekick: Dan Winkler (.015). Dan threw a scoreless seventh inning, walking one and striking one out. Because of the shape of this game, the Cubs had only four players who produced positive WPA.
- Billy Goat: Kyle Hendricks (-.255). As noted above, 6 innings, 10 hits, five runs, all earned. He struck out six and didn’t walk anyone.
- Goat: David Bote (-.140). David was hitless in four at bats with a strikeout. He has a .203/.280/.392 line. He has not produced since largely taking over for an injured Kris Bryant. Dating back to 8/12 when his playing time spiked, he had a line of .217/.280/.370 (prior to last night’s hitless game).
- Kid: Victor Caratini (-.118). Vic was hitless in four at bats with two strikeouts. I was one who scoffed at the idea that the DH wasn’t going to help the Cubs a whole lot. Vic has been one of the primary DH. His line on the season is .254/.342/.328. The Cubs haven’t gotten a ton of production out of their DH platoon. Heading into last night, they had a combined total of .251/.342/.447. Fangraphs does have that as the #14 overall group.
WPA Play of the Game: Eugenio Suarez has long been a Cubs killer. He batted with two outs and runners on second and third in the fifth. The Cubs were leading 3-2. Suarez singled in two to give the Reds a 4-3 lead. (.155)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Anthony Rizzo hit a solo homer with one out in the first to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. (.098)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Yu Darvish 12
- Ian Happ 11
- Kyle Schwarber 10
- Willson Contreras -8.5
- Anthony Rizzo -9.5
- Kris Bryant -10
Up Next: The Cubs and Reds play two this afternoon. Yu Darvish starts the early game. He faces Trevor Bauer in a duel of two guys who are likely to be in the running for the Cy Young Award. The odds favor the Cubs in this one. In Game 2, it will be Alec Mills against Tejay Antone. Antone has allowed only five hits and eight walks in 16⅔ innings so far this year, with 22 strikeouts. The Cubs should have a fighting chance in each of these two games. But these Reds are a developing team. Let’s hope the Cubs can pick up at least one win.