I don’t know about you guys, but I saw a compelling baseball game Wednesday night. It was close and well played for the most part (though an error did possibly play a huge role in the game). It had drama and star players involved in the action during some of the biggest moments of the game. There was a key play late in the game overturned on a replay review. And there was one of the weirdest endings I have seen in person to a baseball game.
The game I was watching was surely not the game those of you who watched baseball on Wednesday night watched. I was at the Rays/Yankees game. That game ended 3-1 in 10 innings, in favor of the Yankees. Yankees fans are about what you’d expect up close and personal. If you’ve not had the privilege, maybe you haven’t missed anything. Unfortunately, I imagine you all were following along with the most recent train wreck at Wrigley Field where the Cubs lost 8-2 in a game that actually wasn’t as close as the score would indicate.
The Cubs fell behind 4-0 early and never recovered. The two runs were scored in the bottom of the ninth and by then, no one appeared to really care. To add insult to injury, Nico Hoerner left the game with an apparent injury. That kid has had some tough injury luck early in his career. I keep telling myself that these are the fluke type of injuries and there is no reason to believe he is going to be injury-prone. But I sure hate to see him miss playing time down the stretch where his development along with a handful of other players is really key to the rest of the season.
The only people who could have found any joy in the last few innings of this Cubs game are those people that have Kris Bryant in one of those fantasy leagues where one game at a position qualifies him. Because congratulations, you can now slot him in at shortstop. That reminds me of something I heard not too long ago that made me laugh. Someone implied that Bryant couldn’t play second. I only wish that someone had said that to my face so I could laugh at them. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that even if he’s never played a single inning there, he could just pick it right up. Not to diminish playing second base, but the guy has played enough positions that I’m sure he could make that transition. Besides, in the modern game, with shifting, you almost get some de facto work at other positions because of some of the odd situations that shifting creates. Just one more feather in the cap for a player who has done pretty much everything this organization has asked and will now almost certainly be traded over the next day and a half.
Fun times. 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 103, July 28: Reds 8 at Cubs 2 (50-53)
- Superhero: Nico Hoerner (.051). 2-3, 2B, K
- Hero: Patrick Wisdom (.030). 2-4, 2B
- Sidekick: Adam Morgan (.011). IP (3 batters faced), 0H, 0BB, 0R, 2K
- Billy Goat: Zach Davies (-.152). 6IP (28 batters faced), 7H, 4BB, 4R, 8K (L 6-7)
- Goat: Jason Heyward (-.139). 0-4, K, DP
- Kid: Rafael Ortega (-.067). 0-3, BB
WPA Play of the Game: Jesse Winker batted with a runner on first and one out in the third inning, the Reds already up 1-0. Winker doubled and a run scored. (.115)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Nico Hoerner doubled with the bases empty and one out in the second inning, the Cubs were only down one at the time. (.046)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 4/Bottom 4)
- Kris Bryant +26
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Nico Hoerner +12
- Patrick Wisdom +11
- PJ Higgins -9.5
- Rex Brothers -10.5
- Jake Arrieta -14
- Ian Happ -16
Up Next: The fourth and final game of the series at Wrigley Field against the Reds on Thursday. It’ll also be the last game before the trade deadline, so it could be the last game to see some of your favorite Cubs in blue pinstripes. Friday night they’ll play in Washington, a few hours after the deadline has passed. That’ll be the first of many remaining games between two teams who have turned their attention to next year. But first, the series finale. In this one, Alec Mills will start for the Cubs. Alec is 4-3 with a 4.55 ERA. I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks Alec has performed a bit better than his final numbers look. He’s had some strangely bad luck at times. He’s certainly a guy you want to look at down the stretch and decide if you want him to be part of your 2022 roster. The Reds will counter with Luis Castillo who is having the worst year of his career. He is 4-10 with a 4.20 ERA. The Reds are licking their chops, looking to take three out of four as they try to stay relevant in the National League playoff picture.