Sunday night’s game was an echo back to the games from this past April, the timeframe when it really looked like this Cubs team was just flat out overmatched and might be one of the worst teams in the league. The offense was inept. Though in fairness, Clayton Kershaw has been doing that to opponents for a long, long time. The pitching staff wasn’t awful... if you could ignore one inning.
Of course, you can’t ignore one inning. But all of it works together. Adbert Alzolay lost quite a bit of command in the second inning, loaded the bases without the benefit of a hit and then they were unceremoniously emptied with one hit, in this instance a grand slam. Then to make matters worse, Javier Baez made an error with two outs and the Dodgers launched another home run to complete a six-run inning.
Clayton Kershaw has been tough to beat for years. Clayton Kershaw handed six runs by the end of the second inning is an assassin. You just aren’t going to beat him after he gets that large of a lead, particularly at home. The rest of the game was anti-climactic as one would expect. The Cubs lost the second inning 6-0. The rest of the game was played at 1-1. The whole series was fairly evenly played, but the Dodgers had some really timely home runs and the Cubs couldn’t cash in their opportunities.
This is the thing with the Dodgers. They are a really well-put-together team. They just keep finding creative ways to add talent without having their team salaries get too far into the stratosphere. That is helped by a steady pipeline of internal talent to supplement their frequent forays into free agency. The Dodgers remain a scary team. For a variety of reasons, including the injuries that seemingly every team is going through, they haven’t yet hit their full stride. Without their full stride, they sit at 47-31, the second-best record in the NL. Of course, the other side of that coin: They are in second place in their division. If the Giants don’t come back to the pack or the Dodgers can’t get hot enough to overtake them, the Dodgers face the specter of a one-game playoff against the Padres with the loser going home. The Giants are playing one heck of a spoiler as the season approaches the halfway mark.
Yet another game that I can’t wait to turn the page on. So let’s look at the numbers and move along. 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 78, June 27: Dodgers 7, Cubs 1 (42-36)
- Superhero: Patrick Wisdom (.006). 1-3, 2K
- Hero/Sidekick: (tie) Javier Baez/Tommy Nance (.005). Baez 1-4, HR (18), RBI, R, 2K; Nance 3IP (12 batters faced), 3H, 0BB, R, 5K, WP
- Billy Goat: Adbert Alzolay (-.352). 3IP (18 batters faced), 5H, 3BB, 6R (4ER), 3K (L 4-7)
- Goat: Willson Contreras (-.039). 0-3, 2K
- Kid: Kris Bryant (-.027). 0-3, K
WPA Play of the Game: Zach McKinstry batted with the bases loaded and no outs in the second inning against Adbert Alzolay. He slugged his first career grand slam. That made it 4-0 and the Cubs never recovered. (.170)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With a runner at first and one out, Adbert Alzolay coaxed a double play grounder off the bat of Justin Turner and escaped the first inning unscathed. (.049)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel +18
- Kris Bryant +12
- Patrick Wisdom +11
- Willson Contreras/Eric Sogard -8.5
- Jake Arrieta -9
- PJ Higgins -9.5
Up Next: The Cubs open a three-game series in Milwaukee Monday night. It’s hard not to let yourself feel like these three games are pretty important. The Brewers have got things going in the right direction and jumped out to a three-game lead in the division while the Cubs were losing Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In a nightmare scenario, the Brewers could sweep this series and be up six games in the division. That would put Jed Hoyer into a strange spot if it did occur. Do you dismiss everything good that happened in May and early June because of six really bad days in late June?
So this series feels really important to at least grab one game and it sure would help to take two. Certainly, there will still be half a season left after this series. Regardless of a sweep in either direction, both teams would be very much alive and very much in contention with one another as the season moves forward. Of course, if the Brewers stay hot, the pressure that it puts on the Reds (now six back) and Cardinals (up to eight back) is getting very real. The Cardinals look as disheveled as I’ve seen them in a long, long time. Of course, that franchise has a long history of bouncing back, so I’m not even writing them off just yet.
Anyway, as to this series. The Cubs have their two best pitchers lined up for the first two games, so that’s a good thing. That means it is Kyle Hendricks tonight and Zach Davies tomorrow. Jake Arrieta will throw the finale on Wednesday. Despite last night’s rough outing, I think I have to still consider Alzolay the third starter if we were lining things up. As for the Brewers? They have their three main guys lined up for this series. This is my shocked face. That means Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes are the starters for the series. So things won’t be getting any easier for Cubs hitters. This figures to be another tough series.