One month does not a season make. However, in April, we saw the Kris Bryant who is a former National League MVP. It’s a shame that we are seeing that in what looks to be a season headed for trouble. With Friday night’s loss, the Cubs finished April at 11-15. Certainly, that’s not all together devastating, but this team looks undermanned on both sides of the ball.
In this one, we saw the familiar script play out. Sure, there was a glimmer of hope as the Cubs plated the first two runs. However, the next eight runs were all scored by the Reds. All too often, the Cubs pitching just hasn’t been good enough. As has often been the case, it was really one bad inning that did them in. The Reds plated four runs in the fourth inning to push this game to 7-2. That ended up being a bridge too far.
Different than many of the other games, the Cubs offense continued scoring runs and threatened all of the way down to the final out. The game ended with the tying runs standing on second and third base. In the end that final rally that added two runs in the ninth and four runs over the final three innings came up a bit short. It was good to see them fighting down to the end. But in the end, a loss is still a loss.
There have been far too many losses in the early going. There’s time left to turn things around, but I’m just not sure what is going to be the solution that’s going to make a significant change. Conceivably, I guess, the pitchers could get it together and that would at least give the Cubs a fighting chance. Certainly, Kyle Hendricks has to be better than this if he’s healthy. Zach Davies should be better than this if he’s healthy. Adbert Alzolay has been fairly decent. Jake Arrieta has had some good starts and that’s probably what you can expect from him at this stage of his career. It is largely the starting pitchers that have held the Cubs back. The bullpen has not been too bad.
Obviously, we’re not going to solve all that ails the Cubs. So instead, we’ll just get to the numbers. 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. And now, let’s get to the results.
Game 26, April 30: Reds 8, Cubs 6 (11-15)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.196). 2-3, HR (7), 2B, 2BB, 2RBI, 2R, K
- Hero: Jake Marisnick (.113). 1-4, 2B, BB, RBI, 2K
- Sidekick: Eric Sogard (.044). 1-1, BB, 2R
- Billy Goat: Jake Arrieta (-.424). 3⅓ IP (18 batters faced), 7H, BB, 7R, 2K (L 3-3)
- Goat: David Bote (-.215). 2-5
- Kid: Javier Baez (-.122). 1-4, SF, 2RBI, K
WPA Play of the Game: Joey Votto batted with a runner on first and two outs, the Reds trailing 2-1. Jake Arrieta has had trouble with Votto throughout their respective careers and this game was no exception. Votto launched a two-run homer to give the Reds a lead they’d never give up. (.231)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Kris Bryant homered with one out in the first inning to give the Cubs the first run of the game. (.100)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Justin Steele (2IP, 8 batters, 5 K’s, 1R)
Dillon Maples (2IP, 6 batters, 4K’s)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel +9
- Jake Marisnick +7
- Kris Bryant +6
- Jason Adam -6
- Ian Happ -8
- Zach Davies -11
Up Next: Game two of the three-game set. Zach Davies will look to start turning around his dreadful start to the season. Some comparisons have been made of Zach Davies to Kyle Hendricks. Those of you who have followed Kyle know that, though he’s been pretty good in all situations, he’s struggled most in the month of April. That is true of Davies as well. Of course, this year’s disastrous start figures into the numbers. But Davies has a lifetime 5.24 ERA in 25 April starts. But as with Hendricks, for Davies the numbers largely get better and better as the season wears on. Let’s hope that Saturday’s game is the first step forward on the road to a much better performance than we’ve seen so far.