Jake Marisnick is a guy I hadn’t really seen much of or known much about before he came to the Cubs. For those of you who haven’t followed along with me through the years, I have a bit of tunnel vision regarding baseball. I don’t really watch or follow anybody but the Cubs. I don’t watch highlight shows, etc. So I don’t know much about guys who don’t play on either the Cubs or in the NL Central unless a guy is a real big star. Marisnick obviously has never ascended to stardom. Oh, I’ve seen him linked to Cubs in rumors over the years, so I knew the name. But this is really the first time I’m seeing him play.
I loved today’s picture. You have to love guys who are having a good time with playing baseball. The season can be a grind and you just can’t be locked into serious mode all of the time. But more than just having fun, he’s made some very solid contributions to this team. Jake has all of the classic earmarks of a guy who if you deploy him properly and don’t overexpose him, he can give you some very good production. At least that’s my early perception. When he’s been used selectively, he’s given basically elite-level performance in those games. When he was used a bit more, he tailed off a bit. That has all of the hallmarks of a guy who is better in a secondary role than a primary role. But a guy who can rake with good defense and very good speed in a secondary role is an extremely valuable piece. Even if you do have to press him into more action, that last part about the glove and the speed can let you “suffer” through the lesser production as speed and glove always play.
Today’s bright side to the loss? Five innings of two-run ball from Jake. The Dodgers aren’t the team they’ve been over recent years yet. But you can’t sleep on them. They are an enormously talented group. Two runs over five isn’t anything to turn cartwheels over, but against a team that capable and on the road, that’s a really solid performance. If Jake could consistently give the Cubs outings that look like two runs over five or three over six, this team would be in very good shape for the regular season.
The downside to this loss? Ryan Tepera finally got touched. You knew it was going to happen eventually. He’s really avoided the Goat side of the ledger all year long (I’m on the road and don’t have the official tally) and that’s a tough thing to do for a leverage reliever. But he lands in the Billy Goat spot for last night’s game. I certainly would have loved for the Cubs’ leverage relievers to have held the Dodgers down and maybe the Cubs could have stolen a second win out of this very tough series. But it just wasn’t to be.
A lesser downside was that Tommy Nance got roughed up a bit too. He has been avoiding the bad outing, but he too was tagged. I always like to think of the bullpen as similar to shift changes in the NHL. When the game is going good, you send Chafin, Tepera and then Kimbrel over the wall. When the game is tied or you are losing close you are sending guys like Dan Winkler, Keegan Thompson and Nance over the wall to hold it close. The “big three” out of the pen have been gobbling all of the headlines, but the rest of the pen has also consistently held it together. The Cubs haven’t stolen many games with big comebacks, but because the Cubs have been holding down the fort effectively with both the “A team” and the “B team” out of the pen, they give themselves the opportunity for a big comeback or two down the line.
The bullpen has been so good that I don’t want to dwell on it any more. I’d like to turn the page, but before we can do so, we have to look at the numbers from Friday night’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 76, June 25: Dodgers 6, Cubs 2 (42-34)
- Superhero: Jake Marisnick (.176). 1-2, BB, K
- Hero: Jason Heyward (.156). 2-2, 2BB, R
- Sidekick: Keegan Thompson (.079). 1⅓ IP (6 batters faced), 0H, BB, 0R, K, WP
- Billy Goat: Ryan Tepera (-.341). ⅓ IP (3 batters faced), H, BB, 2R, 0K (L 0-1)
- Goat: Willson Contreras (-.091). 0-3, 3K
- Kid: Anthony Rizzo (-.066). 0-3, BB, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: The batter that did in Ryan Tepera was A.J. Pollock. With a runner on second and nobody out, he slugged a two-run homer, breaking a 2-2 tie. (.282)
*Cubs Play of the Game: In the seventh inning, the Cubs were trailing 2-1 when Jake Marisnick stepped to the plate with a runner on first and no outs. Jimmy Nelson was on the mound. Marisnick grounded a single to right and put runners at first and second and no outs. (.109)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Up Next: Game three of the four-game set is a late afternoon game in Los Angeles (early evening Chicago time). The Cubs will send Alec Mills to the hill. Alec is 3-1 with a 5.18 ERA. Most of the Dodgers have never seen him. Alec gave the Cubs a very good outing in his last start, let’s hope he can do it again. The Cubs will be facing Julio Urias. Urias is 9-3 with a 3.99 ERA on the season. The core Cubs have seen Urias a couple of times and Javier Báez, Jason Heyward and Kris Bryant have all taken him deep. Urias has been a rising star in the NL seemingly forever, but he has never quite taken that last step and joined the elite pitchers of the league. Make no mistake, though, he is a formidable opponent. This is another tough matchup on paper.