After Sunday’s loss, I talked about the number of one-run ballgames the Cubs have been in lately. Tuesday night, they lost 3-2, marking the sixth consecutive one -un game that they’ve been involved in. They’ve also played eight of them over their last nine games if you go back just a little bit further. So there’s been a lot of tight baseball. To be sure, a couple of those games weren’t really, really tight the whole game, but one team or the other got close late.
When you play all of that close baseball, just a play or two is often the difference between a win and a loss. One play made or not made could be everything. And when margins are that small, you want your best group on deck. Unfortunately, injuries are really eating away at this roster. Matt Duffy, Jake Marisnick and Eric Sogard were all players who were not initially considered regular players. All of them have been getting regular playing time due to injuries. Of course, Marisnick recently joined the ranks of the injured and has gone on the injured list.
Someone better bubble wrap Joc Pederson (who himself has already spent time on the injured list), as he played in center in Tuesday night’s game after Kris Bryant left with unspecified illness. Unless I’ve missed someone being out there for a couple of innings at some point, everyone who has played center this year other than Bryant has spent time on the injured list already.
The Cubs were widely expected to be a borderline or worse team heading into the season. Certainly, adding a half dozen or so injuries was never going to help that. Still, this team has hung around. They still have at least a puncher’s chance. Their best hope is going to be to ride out this storm, not be too far out of the hunt and then hope that they find some lightning in a bottle with some of these depth pieces. Duffy is already one who has surely provided way more value than anyone ever anticipated.
Rather than dwell on the walking wounded, we’ll 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 35, May 11: Cleveland 3, Chicago 2 (17-18)
- Superhero: Willson Contreras (.165). 2-3, BB, RBI
- Hero: Anthony Rizzo (.054). 1-2, 2BB, 2B, R
- Sidekick: Brad Wieck (.046). IP (3 batters faced), 0H, 0BB, 0R, K
- Billy Goat: Matt Duffy (-.307). 2-5, K, DP
- Goat: Ildemaro Vargas (-.228). 0-4, 2K
- Kid: Eric Sogard (-.135). 1-4, HR, RBI, R, 2K, DP
WPA Play of the Game: With two outs and a man on second in the fifth inning, Cleveland trailed 2-1 with Cesar Hernandez stepping to the plate. Cesar took an Adbert Alzolay pitch out of the park for a two-out, two-run homer and gave Cleveland a lead they’d never relinquish. (.274)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Eric Sogard led off the top of the inning with a solo homer off of reigning AL Cy Young award winner Shane Bieber. That gave the Cubs a short lived 2-1 lead. (.135)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Rex Brothers (IP, 3 batters, 2K)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: Top 3/Bottom 3
- Craig Kimbrel +10
- Jake Marisnick/Kris Bryant +7
- Ian Happ -7
- David Bote/Zach Davies -8
Up Next: The finale of this quick two game set is Wednesday afternoon. Zach Davies is scheduled to start for the Cubs. Zach is coming off of his best start of the year for the Cubs and might finally be pointing things in the right direction. The Cubs will need a good performance out of him if they are going to prevent the mini sweep in Cleveland.