Baseball will always give you some odd occurrences. This Cubs team has struggled. They’ve reached 100 games played and have won 49 of them. Not horrible, but well off the pace in both the NL Central and in the NL Wild Card race. Strangely, one might think they would want to move to the NL West. Sure, the NL West has likely been baseball’s best division this year. With the Dodgers and Padres being two teams built to win it all and the Giants being the team that has more or less led wire-to-wire, it has been a very strong division, despite also being home to the Diamondbacks who have been one of baseball’s worst teams.
So why would the Cubs want to move West? Certainly not for all of the late start times or the extra travel. No, it’s because they’ve finished their season series against three different NL West teams. They have won the season series against all three and have a combined 13-6 mark against those three teams. Of course, this past weekend’s opponent, the league-worst Diamondbacks, were one of those teams, but so were the Padres and Dodgers. It’s hard to understand how the Cubs won five of six from the Padres and are 3-6 against the Reds, a fairly mundane team.
Of course, a huge majority of the Cubs season can be found within their games against the Brewers. The Cubs have won only three of 12 games against the Brewers. Against all of the rest of their opponents, the Brewers are a respectable 49-39. The Cubs are a not all that bad 46-42 when not playing the Brewers. That team might be looking to add rather than subtract.
Never forget, when you are building your team, you need to be built to win in your division. The Cubs might lose out in this division rate, but they’d certainly have been Wild Card contenders were it not for their disastrous record head-to-head against the Brewers. The Cubs themselves did that to the Cardinals a couple of years back. So this is certainly a thing that happens. But it is tough to watch, no doubt.
Let’s go 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 100, July 25: Cubs 5, Diamondbacks 1 (49-51)
- Superhero: Trevor Williams (.203). 6⅓ IP (24 batters faced), 5H, 0BB, 0R, 6K (W 4-2)
- Hero: Kris Bryant (.137). 1-4, HR (17), 2RBI, R, 2K
- Sidekick: David Bote (.079). 103, HR (6), BB, 2RBI, R
- Billy Goat: Javier Baez (-.025). 0-4, 2K
- Goat: Jake Marisnick (-.020). 1-4, K
- Kid: Adam Morgan (-.014). ⅓ IP (3 batters faced), H, BB, 0R, K
WPA Play of the Game: Kris Bryant batted with a runner on first and nobody out in the first inning against Caleb Smith. The game was scoreless when he stepped in and the Cubs led by two after he batted. (.154)
*Diamondbacks Play of the Game: Pavin Smith had a one-out double in the first inning. (.040)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Anthony Rizzo (2-4, HR)
Ryan Tepera (⅔ IP, 2 batters faced)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant +24
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Kyle Hendricks +10
- Rex Brothers/Anthony Rizzo -10.5
- Jake Arrieta -14
- Ian Happ -16
Up Next: No rest yet for the Cubs. Monday night the Cubs are right back at it for the first of four against the Reds. They’ll send out their best in game one. Kyle Hendricks is on the mound. He is 12-4 with a 3.61 ERA. I think I’m the only one across baseball who cares to follow it, but Kyle continues to lead MLB in wins (tied with Julio Urias). Gotta find a rooting interest in a down season. The Reds will counter with Wade Miley. Wade is 8-4 with a 2.72 ERA. This looks like a tough matchup, but the Cubs always have a good chance to win with Hendricks on the mound, down year or no.