I spent Sunday afternoon getting a bit of sunburn at the beach. I hope some of you are finding some entertaining ways to spend your weekends. Maybe not all of it, but this isn’t the season to obsess over every minute of the remaining games. Don’t get me wrong, if you are here, reading what I write every day, you aren’t a fair-weather fan. You don’t want to miss the stories every day. The rumors leading up to the inevitable trades. But spend a little extra time with your spouse, your family, your friends this summer. It doesn’t quite work to “bank” it for the next time they are good. But it’s a show of good faith.
PSA over. There was baseball on Sunday. If you were holding out hope for a miracle zombie-like rise from the dead for this Cubs team, then Sunday was third of 10 games that you had to be hoping they’d win at least eight of, despite playing seven of them on the road. That’s an unrealistic clip to win at, to be sure. But the Brewers are winning at an unrealistic rate, so you just don’t have any choice. Don’t even get me started looking at the wild card race. By the way, as for the Brewers, the Cubs won two out of three on the road over the weekend — and lost a game in the standings. Without even doing the digging, I know I’ve seen teams erase nine-game deficits with 69 to play. But this team just doesn’t have that kind of juice. I also can’t really imagine Craig Counsell and the Brewers swooning like that. I’m pretty sure if I had to pick one manager to manage one game, win or go home, I’m picking Counsell.
The Cubs scored two in the ninth after using three in the ninth on Saturday to steal a win. Unfortunately, the Cubs allowed two in the eighth to make those ninth-inning runs relatively meaningless. The culprit there was today’s Billy Goat, Dan Winkler. Dan’s last two times making it into Heroes and Goats have been Billy Goats and that has him moving from +4 down to -6 on the season. Rex Brothers took the Kid spot today. His last positive appearance in Heroes and Goats was on June 14 when he tied for the Sidekick position. He’s lost six points as well and now appears in the dreaded bottom three positions.
Yesterday’s Billy Goat was another guy heading in the wrong direction. Ian Happ lost seven points in three games Saturday to Saturday and is now tied for last. Jake Marisnick joins the ranks of those dropping like a rock. A guy who was in and out of the top three early on has now lost seven points over his last four appearances here. He’s down to just +7. One guy heading in the right direction is Javier Báez. He picks up a Hero position today. He’s now +7 dating back to July 4, with just one Kid position along with four appearances on the positive side. He’s jumped all of the way up to +3.5. That ties him with another guy moving in the right direction. Jason Heyward and Báez both spent a fair amount of time in or near the bottom three. But he has +8 over his last four appearances here to reach that +3.5 mark.
Let’s get to the actual numbers and let you see it as we move our attention to the series in St. Louis. 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 93, July 18: Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 4 (46-47)
- Superhero: Adam Morgan (.202). ⅔ IP (2 batters faced), 0H, BB, 0R, 0K
- Hero: Javier Báez (.172). 2-4, 2RBI, R, 2K
- Sidekick: Kris Bryant (.091). 2-4, 2 2B, RBI, 2R, K
- Billy Goat: Dan WInkler (-.207). ⅔ IP (5 batters faced), 0H, 2BB, 2R, 0K, HBP, WP (L 1-2)
- Goat: Jake Marisnick (-.179). 0-3, DP
- Kid: Rex Brothers (-114). 1⅓ IP (7 batters faced), H, 2BB, 2R, 0K, WP
WPA Play of the Game: With the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, the game was tied at two. Adam Morgan was able to get a double play off of the bat of Kole Calhoun to end the inning. Very likely the highlight of Morgan’s time with the Cubs. (.209)
*Diamondbacks Play of the Game: With a runner on first and no outs in the seventh inning, the game was still tied at two. That’s when Jake Marisnick grounded into a double play against Merrill Kelly. (.127)
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 +17
- Kyle Hendricks +10
- Rex Brothers -10.5
- Jake Arrieta/Ian Happ -14
Up Next: The Cubs continue their road trip with four games in St. Louis. The Cubs and Cardinals are tied for third place, both just two games behind the Reds in what could very well be a three-way race for second. Alec Mills will make the start for the Cubs. It feels as if Mills has pitched better than his 4.84 ERA would suggest. He is 4-2. The Cardinals will start Jake Woodford who is 1-1 with a 4.62 ERA. Once again, this one looks fairly close on paper.