I think I was just mentioning that baseball is often pretty straightforward. Good start equals good result. Bad start equals bad result. Accordingly, when the Cubs fell behind 3-0 in the first inning Tuesday night, I was already pretty pessimistic about this game. Unfortunately, I was right on. The Cubs went down to defeat 4-0 without mounting any sustained offensive all night long.
Offensive is unfortunately the best word to describe the Cubs hitting so far in 2021. It’s been downright offensive. They just aren’t getting hits. The Cubs announcers talked late in the game about how far into the season before you start to recognize patterns and trends. They didn’t stay on the subject long, but I’ll weigh in. If you were a team that was a top tier offense the year before and was expected to hit, I wouldn’t worry a lot about a slow start. But, if your team just had a historically inept offensive season and you didn’t do much to upgrade the offense, then there is probably reason for concern.
I know I’ve said this before, but when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were putting the 2016 Cubs together, I expected that this team was going to be an offensive powerhouse for years to come. I figured if they had any struggles it would be similar to those the Phillies have had in recent years... that is, losing some really high scoring games. As this team was being built, they traded for the big bat of Anthony Rizzo and drafted bats like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ among others. It was then an embarrassment of riches when Willson Contreras and Javier Baez blossomed into stars.
It just hasn’t happened. It continues to not happen. Your mileage may vary, but I can’t imagine getting to a point where I’d describe myself as not at all concerned about the general woes of the offense. I still think in a weak NL Central that this team can compete and win the division. But it would be a multiple standard deviation outcome for this team to make a decent run in the playoffs. Ho hum.
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 5, April 6: Brewers 4 at Cubs 0 (3-2)
- Superhero: Dillon Maples (.021). 2IP (8 batters faced), 0H, 2BB, 0R, 4K
- Hero: Dan Winkler (.016). IP (3 batters faced), 0H, 0BB, 0R, 2K
- Sidekick: Matt Duffy (.007). BB
- Billy Goat: Adbert Alzolay (-.191). 5IP. 4H, 2BB, 4R, 4K (L 0-1)
- Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.077). 0-4, 2K, DP
- Kid: Willson Contreras (-.071). 0-2, BB, HBP, DP
WPA Play of the Game: Travis Shaw faced Alzolay with runners on first and third with one out in the first. He slugged a three-run homer to give the Brewers more than enough offense. (.184)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With one out in the fourth inning, Kris Bryant recorded the Cubs’ only hit. He doubled into the left field corner and advanced to third on an error. That’s as far as he and the Cubs would make it on this day.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Up Next: The Cubs and Brewers will meet again to conclude the three-game set at Wrigley Field. This one is a quick turnaround to the typical Wrigley Field 1:20 start. Kyle Hendricks will look to bounce back from a rough first outing.