Over the weekend, the pitching was good (save for the ninth inning on Sunday), but the hitting was absent after a Friday outburst. The net result? Two losses in three games. On Monday night, the bats put together seven runs. Unfortunately, Cubs pitching didn’t get the job done and the result was a third straight Cubs loss. The Cubs have now given back three of the four games they gained against the break-even mark last week.
It is, of course, early to be too fixated on break-even or first place. Those things will take care of themselves if you play good baseball. But the Cubs are certainly not playing good baseball. At a glance, they do at least appear to be playing better baseball than they were a few weeks ago. But still, it’s just not good enough.
It doesn’t make me one of the great prognosticators of all time to be someone who thinks that this Cubs team has some strong pieces but overall is just not stacked up to compete over the long haul with the better teams in the league. Regardless of where you looked in the offseason, that was the narrative. The Vegas oddsmakers thought they’d struggle to be much better than break-even. Most of the so called baseball experts said the same. So this isn’t any great revelation. But, by and large, a team losing a bunch of one-run games is probably a team that is just lacking some key pieces.
Cubs starting pitching hasn’t been good enough. That has led to needing extra innings out of the pen. The pen is trying to find itself. Cubs relievers walk too many hitters and the Cubs are seeing that bite them in the butt some right now. The offense is really feast or famine. That lack of consistency, of course, puts more pressure on the pitching. That combination is not translating to superior results.
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 22, April 26: Braves 8, Cubs 7 (10-12)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.223). 1-4, HR (5), BB, 4RBI, R
- Hero: Matt Duffy (.097). 1-1, BB, R
- Sidekick: Tony Wolters (.052). 0-0, BB, R
- Billy Goat: Zach Davies (-.348). 3⅔ IP (22 batters faced), 6H, 5H, 4R, HBP. 4K
- Goat: Brandon Workman (-.302). IP (6 batters faced), 2H, BB, 3R, K (L 0-2)
- Kid: Jason Heyward (-.119). 0-4, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: Freddie Freeman batted with runners at the corners and two outs in the fifth inning. The game was tied at five. With one swing of the bat, Freddie untied the game. He hit a three-run homer and the Cubs never fully recovered. (.306)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Kris Bryant batted with the bases loaded in the third inning with the Cubs trailing 4-0. His grand slam tied the game at four. (.298)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Willson Contreras (1-5, HR, 2RBI, 2R)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel +9
- Jake Arrieta +6
- Willson Conteras +5.5
- Andrew Chafin/Ian Happ +5
- Jason Adam -6
- Zach Davies -11
Up Next: Game two of the four-game set on Tuesday night. Trevor Williams is scheduled to make the start as the Cubs look to even the series at one win apiece.