Starting from the top, let’s look at some numbers that I’ve been following. First, the Cubs are now 17-7 in May (with all seven losses by a single run). Next, Adbert Alzolay was Friday’s Superhero. That makes him the 17th different Cub to finish in the top spot in 24 games. Finally, I’d noted that the Cubs don’t have a shutout to their credit. Well, they do now. With Friday’s victory, the Cubs are now 25-3 when they hold the opposition to three runs or fewer.
On a miserable day at Wrigley Field (and also if you had movers at your house), the Cubs managed to eke out a 1-0 win. They did that with three things. First, awesome bullpen work. The bullpen has been the most consistent aspect of this Cubs team so far this year. On Friday, it was 3⅓ innings, two hits, no walks, no runs. Second, they got a great start from Adbert Alzolay. The rotation is surging and has been contributing increasingly to victory. Lastly, they got a solo homer from David Bote. The wind was howling in and it would seem to have been a day where a homer wasn’t possible. But Bote managed to get one out, it gave the Cubs a single run and the pitching staff made it hold up for the victory.
In the comments yesterday, someone made a comparison of this team to the 1989 team. I haven’t thought long enough on it for accuracy, but that was certainly another Cubs team like this one where the team just got really fun to watch. That’s what they are right now — a really fun team to watch. At an even 50 games played, this team has provided a lot of interesting memories already and with over 110 games to go, there is a lot of time left to make more.
We interrupt the fun and games for a look at the numbers from Friday afternoon’s game. 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 50, May 28: Cubs 1, Reds 0 (28-22)
- Superhero: Adbert Alzolay (.283). 5⅔ IP (26 batters faced), 5H, 3BB, 0R, 6K (W 3-4)
- Hero: Andrew Chafin (.164). 1⅓ IP (5 batters faced), 2H, 0BB, 0R, K
- Sidekick: Craig Kimbrel (.156). IP, 0H, 0BB, 0R, K (SV 12)
- Billy Goat: Willson Contreras (-.087). 0-3, 2K
- Goat: Kris Bryant (-.061). 1-4, K
- Kid: Eric Sogard (-.058). 0-3
WPA Play of the Game: In the seventh inning, Tyler Stephenson batted with runners on first and second and only one out. Andrew Chafin was on the hill and the Cubs were leading 1-0. Chafin coaxed a double play grounder to get out of the inning. (.170)
*Reds Play of the Game: Tyler Naquin had the second of two one-out singles off of Chafin to set the table for the Cubs Play of the Game.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
David Bote (HR, RBI)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant +15
- Craig Kimbrel +14
- Keegan Thompson +9.5
- Zach Davies, David Bote -9
- Javier Baez -13
Up Next: Game two of the three-game set on Saturday afternoon. Zach Davies is scheduled to go for the Cubs. Zach is 2-2 with a 4.96 ERA on the season, but he’s been better of late. Last time out, he threw five scoreless innings as part of this Cubs winning streak. Let’s hope he can do it again.