The Cubs certainly weren’t going to go forever without losing consecutive games. They’ve done that now for the first time since getting swept in Cleveland May 11 and 12. It’s easy to forget with how awesome their May was that the Cubs actually lost three in a row starting May 9 with an off day mixed in. So even within this really great run that the Cubs have been on, they’ve had some losses.
These two losses feel a little bit worse though. In May, seven of the eight losses the Cubs recorded were by a single run. That meant that the Cubs were competitive every single night. Save for the joy of some early homers the last two games, the Cubs have generally appeared overmatched. They’ve fallen behind in both games relatively early and appeared at least a little outclassed.
This Giants team is on a run of its own. They have a roster not all together dissimilar to the one the Cubs opened the season with: A group of guys who were stars a few years back, but have lost some of their luster over the last year or two. And, also not all that different from the Cubs, some of those veteran Giants players have gotten into a groove and they are really looking and feeling like world beaters at the moment. Surely, both of these teams are headed for some turbulence in the months ahead. But this is a fun reminder of why they play the games and don’t just skip to the postseason. The Dodgers and Padres are certainly lurking and when all is said and done, they might be the top two teams in the NL West and the top two teams in the NL. Right now, it is the Giants atop the league and the Cubs are a team that swept both the Dodgers and Padres on their way to first place in the NL Central.
I was again able to catch the first few innings of this one before heading off to bed. The most difficult thing to watch was Jake Arrieta. Jake had about a season and a half of being about as good as anyone I’ve ever had the privilege of watching up close. He was often able to dominate even the best hitters. He’s had some moments this year, but increasingly he looks like the one who is overmatched. It’s always hard to watch a former star as they battle Father Time. This isn’t to say that Jake can’t reinvent himself. We’ve seen so many players do it through the years. He takes care of his body and so certainly it remains possible. Until then, it’s a little hard watching the shell of Jake Arrieta struggling to string together enough pitches to get out of an inning against a talented offensive club.
Rather than dwell on that sadness, we’ll turn our attention 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 57, June 4: Giants 8, Cubs 6 (32-25)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.240). 1-3, HR (13), BB, 2RBI, R, K
- Hero: Joc Pederson (.066). 1-4, HR (6), 2RBI, R, K
- Sidekick: Willson Contreras (.027). 1-3, BB, 2R
- Billy Goat: Jake Arrieta (-.501). 2IP (13 batters faced), 6H, 2BB, 6R, K (L 5-6)
- Goat: Keegan Thompson (-.096). 2IP (10 batters faced), 2H, 2BB, 2R, 5K
- Kid: Anthony Rizzo (-.075). 0-4
WPA Play of the Game: With runners on first and second and two outs in the second inning, the Giants were already ahead 3-2. Jake Arrieta was still on the mount and Alex Dickerson was at the plate. Jake could not put Dickerson away and Dickerson ultimately launched a back breaking, three-run homer. The Cubs were never closer than two runs again. (.220)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Kris Bryant followed a Willson Contreras leadoff single with a two-run homer. (.162)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Patrick Wisdom (1-3, BB)
Dillon Maples (IP, 3 batters faced)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant +19
- Craig Kimbrel +15
- Adbert Alzolay +10
- Zach Davies/Ian Happ/David Bote -8
- PJ Higgins -8.5
- Javier Baez -11
Up Next: Game three of the four-game set is Saturday, a little earlier in the evening. Kohl Stewart will make his second start as a Cub. His first one was excellent, as he allowed only one unearned run over five innings of work. He’ll have a tough matchup though as the Giants counter with Kevin Gausman who was the Pitcher of the Month in the NL for May. It’s way too early to talk about Cy Young candidacy, but he’d certainly be in the mix to this point in the season.