This just in, getting only three hits in a baseball game is not good. That’s what the Cubs managed on Thursday night. To their credit, they managed to score two runs on those three hits. Without doing a lot of statistical research, I’ll say that scoring two runs while recording just three hits is probably in the 90th percentile or better of results. Just the same, teams that score two runs lose the overwhelming majority of the time. The Cubs managed just 14 runs in the four-game series in St. Louis. That’s not hard to figure out, it’s 3.5 runs per game. Marginally better, but still poor.
So much of it is the same old story. When one of the core players isn’t scorching hot, the offense stops. Anthony Rizzo is ice cold right now, Kris Bryant is out of the lineup. Willson Contreras is scuffling. Javier Baez just had a hot stretch, but even that didn’t really push the team to too many victories.
This team has below-average starting pitching and below-average offensive production. That’s a horrible combination for winning baseball games. That’s how it is that the Cubs have dropped 23 of their last 32 games. That kind of pace translates to about 45 or 46 wins over a full season. The talent level of this team is a bit higher than that. But the Cubs have now come through a nine-game stretch that was softer than what they’d been facing in June and early July. They came through that nine game stretch with five losses. Granted, seven of the games were on the road. But again, not good. They’ll come home for three more of those “soft” games. The Diamondbacks have been historically bad on the road.
But this team looks so much like a team going through the motions. Or better yet, like a team holding its collective breath. You have to wonder at some point if some of them might prefer being traded than being part of the group left behind to pick up the pieces and make the most of it. It’s pretty clear that over the next year or two that the overwhelming majority of this roster is going to be gone. How many of them want to stay and be part of the transition? They’ll all tell us that they want to be here. But this has to suck as much if not more for them than it does for us.
On the bright side, there are only 65 pages left to be turned on this season, no matter how bad things get. Let’s get 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 97, July 22: Cardinals 3, Cubs 2 (47-50)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.088). 0-0, BB
- Hero: Dan Winkler (.068). ⅔ IP (3 batters faced, 0H, BB, 0R, 0K
- Sidekick: Jake Marisnick (.058). 1-4, 2B, 2RBI, K
- Billy Goat: Robinson Chirinos (-.179). 0-1, DP
- Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.124). 0-4, K
- Kid: Willson Contreras (-.105). 0-4, K
WPA Play of the Game: Jake Marisnick batted with two outs and runners on first and second, the Cubs down three in the fourth inning. He doubled and two runs scored, cutting the deficit to one. (.180)
*Cardinals Play of the Game: With no outs and a runner on first and no outs in the eighth inning, Robinson Chirinos pinch hit for the Cubs and grounded into a double play. (.179)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel/Kris Bryant +20
- Kyle Hendricks +10
- Rex Brothers/Anthony Rizzo -10.5
- Jake Arrieta -14
- Ian Happ -15
Up Next: The Cubs return home to start a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Zach Davies will get the opener. He is 5-6 with a 4.35 ERA. He’ll face another Zac, in Zac Gallen. Gallen is 1-4 despite a 3.86 ERA. He was pretty good when the Cubs saw him last week. But again, the D-Backs have been historically bad on the road this season. Hopefully, this is a weekend with a bit more joy in it ahead of next week’s breaking up the band games.