Home cooking wasn’t enough to stop the bleeding for the Cubs on Monday night. Zach Davies didn’t pitch all that badly. We often describe a start as just good enough to win. How to describe this one instead? He didn’t quite pitch well enough to keep them from losing. Five innings of two run ball. It’s not awful. But with the regression monster eating the Cubs bullpen alive, it really isn’t good enough.
The offense once again managed two runs before garbage time. They did add a third run, on a solo homer, after the game was pretty much out of reach. They only struck out six times before the game was out of reach. I suppose there is some progress there. They managed eight hits and two walks. That’s kind of meh. You’ll win some games with that production, but certainly not a ton of them.
Eric Sogard pitched again. He finally allowed runs. I’d tell him not to quit his day job, but I’m pretty sure his day job would have gone away once David Bote and Matt Duffy were healthy. Now I’m not so sure. There will be trades. That might allow Sogard to continue to be roster filler through the end of the year. Very much to the chagrin of the average Cubs fan. I’m having trouble remembering a Cub less well liked than Sogard. Slightly odd to me in a city that often loves quirky backup guys. But not this one.
I’m sometimes reminded of a line from the football movie Necessary Roughness. After a loss, it was remarked: “We didn’t block anyone, but we made up for it by not tackling anyone.” This team kind of feels like that right now. We didn’t get a lot of hits. But we made up for it by allowing a ton of runs.
This is not a real fun time to be a Cubs fan. I just keep reminding myself that from 2015 until now, has been one long, wild ride that was WAY more good than bad, despite several of the seasons coming to frustrating ends. These guys have been fun to watch and good and by all known accounts good guys off the field too. That’s a great trifecta.
It’s been a great ride. It’s really, really painful to watch them struggle like this. It feels like watching your teenage child go through growing pains. You just want to be able to give them a big hug and tell them it is all going to be okay like you did when they were young and they skinned their knee. As they age, those hugs have less and less value and the falling down becomes so much worse than skinning a knee. Still, you try to help them back up and point them back in the right direction. There are almost always better days ahead. You just have to ride out the bad.
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 85, July 5: Phillies 13 at Cubs 3 (42-43)
- Superhero: Javier Baez (.151). 2-3, HR (19), 2B, BB, 2RBI, R
- Hero: Jake Marisnick (.068). 1-4, HR (5), RBI, R, K
- Sidekick: Jason Heyward (.045). 1-1
- Billy Goat: Rex Brothers (-.189). ⅓ IP (3 batters faced), H, BB, 2R, K (L 2-2)
- Goat: Joc Pederson (-.125). 0-4, K
- Kid: Patrick Wisdom (-.105). 0-2, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: Rex Brothers faced Andrew McCutchen with a runner on first and one out in the sixth inning. He allowed an RBI double, giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead. They’d never look back. (.182)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Javier Baez batted with a runner on first, one and the scored tied at one in the third inning. He hit an RBI-double giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. (.134)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Nico Hoerner (2-4)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel +18
- Kris Bryant +15
- Jake Marisnick +14
- Rex Brothers/PJ Higgins/Eric Sogard -9.5
- Jake Arrieta -11
Up Next: The Cubs will try again to end their losing streak tonight at Wrigley against the Phillies. I saw over the weekend there are still some people holding out optimism. I love you and I love your enthusiasm. But I’ll point out yet another thing about how bad the struggles have been this year. I’d noted a week or so ago that the Cubs had three stretches of losing five out of six games without using any single game in two different streaks. That number is now four and will become five tonight regardless if they win or lose, the only question will be if it will be a five of six or six of six streak. In addition to those streaks, There are two stretches that don’t overlap any of those where they’ve lost four of five.
I suppose this is all a very long winded way of saying this team is really streaky. I just can’t see how a team with stretches like this could turn on a dime and just start winning at the type of clip that it would take to catch a Brewers team that is playing .600+ ball and has a six game lead. We aren’t quite at the point where we’d need the entire major league team to be suspended for the rest of the season, but we are getting closer to that point than we could possibly be happy with.
Also, Jake Arrieta is starting tonight. Jake has graded out as the worst or one of the worst starters in baseball all year long and is coming off of one of his worst starts, possibly of his career last time out. He is 5-8 with a 5.57 ERA. Aaron Nola, who has been a very good pitcher in his own right, is also struggling this year. He is just 5-5 with a 4.44 ERA. I’d bet he’s salivating at the idea of facing the largely impotent Cubs lineup.