Well, that was a bit of a frustrating weekend. By and large, the Cubs played well Saturday and Sunday. There were a few miscues and more walks than anyone is ever going to be completely happy with. But by and large, the Cubs played the Brewers tight. If this Brewers team is the mediocre team that is going to be roadkill in the National League, then people are seeing something that I’m not. Their pitching staff is tough. Their lineup is far from a powerhouse, but they were able to put runs on the board over the weekend even with Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich out. I know I picked the Cardinals, because I suffer from PTSD in the NL Central, but for all intents and purposes, until someone proves otherwise, that Brewers team is the team to beat.
So, the good news from the weekend was that the Cubs hung tight with the Brewers in both games, despite some strong pitching from them. Obviously, with the blowout Friday, the Cubs significantly outscored the Brewers over the three games. The bad news, the Cubs dropped two of three and have lost six of nine to the Brewers already on the season. If this team has postseason aspirations, the Brewers are going to be a mighty big obstacle.
Taking a step back, with 21 games played, I’m as confused as ever as to what this team is. Certainly, the Cubs don’t have the top to bottom talent to be a real World Series threat. But, at the same time there are a lot of pieces there. Could they win the division? Probably. In that, they are basically who we thought they were. Of course, part of who we thought they were was a team with some talent but just not quite enough depth to be a real contender. It’s too soon to draw final conclusions, but that looks like it might be the right paint brush.
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 21, April 25: Brewers 6, Cubs 0 (10-11)
- Superhero: Jake Arrieta (.182). 6IP (24 batters faced), 2H, 3BB, 1R, 8K, (L 3-2)
- Hero: Alec Mills (.101). 2IP (8 batters faced), 2H, 0BB, OR, 0K
- Sidekick: Matt Duffy (.020). 1-2
- Billy Goat: Jason Adam (-.151). 0IP (6 batters faced), 3H, 2BB, 5R, 0K, HBP
- Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.148). 1-4, 2B, 2K
- Kid: Kris Bryant (-.135). 0-4, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: With a runner on first and no outs in the sixth inning, Avisail Garcia hit a grounder to short off of Jake Arrieta. Javier Baez was aggressive in trying to scoop the grounder and turn two, but instead the ball went under his glove and the Brewers had first and third with no outs in a 1-0 game. (.097)
*Cubs Play of the Game: One out later, Keston Hiura batted with runners on second and third, the score still 1-0. Jake Arrieta came up with a huge strikeout and kept the score where it was. (.072)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel +9
- Jake Arrieta +6
- Willson Contreras +5.5
- Andrew Chafin/Ian Happ -3
- Jason Adam -6
- Zach Davies -8
Up Next: The Cubs head to Atlanta for the first of four Monday evening against the Braves. Zach Davies is scheduled to start for the Cubs. Zach is still trying to find himself a bit in this Cubs rotation. Hopefully, Monday night will be a step in that direction.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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Someone else (leave in comments)