Sometimes I’m pretty amused with the picture I come up with for the cover. On a game like this, I love to get a couple of guys who made key contributions. This one is perfect because it has Anthony Rizzo and Jake Marisnick (spoiler alert, they took the top two spots). It also has Javier Baez who didn’t make it into one of the top spots, but had three hits including a homer on the day. I’m also amused with this picture because of how gigantic Rizzo looks in the photo. Certainly, he’s a tall dude, but he looks like a man among boys in this photo.
But enough about the cover photo. That is certainly not the story of what is going on at Wrigley Field over the last six days. The story really isn’t even that the Cubs are 5-1 over that stretch, though that’s an awfully good story. The story is that a team that looked poised to set records for offensive ineptitude has put 55 runs on the board in 6 games. That’s more than nine runs per game. They hadn’t scored more than five at any point in their first 13. Now they’ve done that three times and had multiple innings of more than five runs.
They had one of those more than five-run innings, scoring six in the first inning on Friday. Then for good measure, they scored four more in the second. That made life pretty easy on Kyle Hendricks today. Kyle wasn’t dominant, but he was more than adequate on a day that the bats were clicking.
I’m not sure I can ever remember the Cubs flipping the script this significantly. My memories of teams that started out looking like a team walking the green mile are that they end up walking that mile. They lose and lose often. This team has rebounded. They’ve rebounded so significantly that I legitimately don’t know which team was the mirage. The team that played the first 13 games, I wondered if they would lose 95 games. The team that has played the last six games, I wonder if they could get back to the National League Championship Series.
I’m always trying to stay level, but this year is really challenging me. I really was pretty down about this Cubs team seemingly coming up on the end of the line and having to really look long and hard about trading some of the players we know and love this summer. Now, I’m really just in love with this whirling dervish that has shown up on the north side and has hung double digits on three different teams. Let me add to that: Three different teams all with postseason aspirations. And not just the idea that most teams think that they have a chance when they break camp, the type that has prognosticators picking them to win.
Every bad team looks good at some point, at least for a few days. Every good team looks bad at some point, at least for a few days. I guess this is one of those two scenarios. But which one?
With that, we’ll turn our attention to Heroes and Goats. As you’ll recall, 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 19, April 23: Cubs 15, Brewers 2 (10-9)
- Superhero: Anthony Rizzo (.119). 2-4, HR (4), 2B, 2RBI, 2R
- Hero: Jake Marisnick (.116). 2-4, HR (1), HBP, 2B, 5RBI, 3R
- Sidekick: Kyle Hendricks (.072). 6IP (24 batters faced), 6H, BB, 2R, 6K, HBP (W 1-2)
- Billy Goat: Willson Contreras (-.028). 1-4, HR (6), BB, 3RBI, R, 2K
- Goat/Kid (tie): Matt Duffy/Eric Sogard (.000). Each 0-1 (Duffy K)
WPA Play of the Game: Marisnick batted with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning, the Cubs already up 2-0. He doubled, clearing the bases and making it 5-0. (.114)
*Brewers Play of the Game: Kolten Wong led off the game with a single for the Brewers. (.036)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Kris Bryant (3H)
Javier Baez (3H, including HR)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel +9
- Willson Contreras +7.5
- Dillon Maples +4
- Ian Happ -5
- Matt Duffy -5.5
- Zach Davies -8
Up Next: These two teams meet again on Saturday, the eighth meeting of the season between them. The Cubs will be hoping to move to 4-4 on the season against the Brewers. If they do, for what little it’s worth this early, they’ll be tied for first place. Adbert Alzolay is scheduled to start. Adbert is going to start wondering what the lineups look like in the rest of the NL. This will be his third start of the season — all of them against the Brewers. Tough draw, kid. Third time is the charm?