The woes continue. The team continues to sink lower and lower. Yesterday night, the Cubs became the first team in the majors this year to allow a grand slam to the fourth batter of the game. That’s one of those “oh, duh” records in MLB that no one bothers to keep track of. Every so often someone does it and obviously, it can’t be beaten. But it isn’t as cool as, say, the immaculate inning (three strikeouts on nine pitches). So no one remembers the last time it happened. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen that achievement.
I also haven’t gone looking for other people’s recaps on last night’s game. But I can’t recall two pitchers allowing seven runs in a game before either. I’m sure it has happened, but that one has to be pretty rare. This one is much easier than the usual what if sequencing. But it is ironic after the fact that if one or both of the pitchers had been pulled earlier and not allowed to allow seven runs, then the 10 runs that the Cubs put on the board posthumously might have mattered. Surely they wouldn’t have. Surely the Phillies too let things get where they did because of how lopsided the score was.
Obviously, when you are getting your brains beat in every day, managing is different. So the Cubs tried to get a few innings out of Jake Arrieta and then they tried to get a few out of Trevor Williams. If you were in any meaningful type of pennant chase, neither would have had that much rope.
Javier Baez hit two homers to fuel the empty comeback. For those who will ask, he doesn’t appear on one of the Hero podiums because he did his damage while the game was well out of reach. To that end, I’ll expect that Javy will get tabbed by some as a guy who puts up his numbers in garbage time. Certainly, he’s had his best week or so of sustained production during this losing skid. Hopefully, none among my readers will go there. Javy has had his struggles the last year plus, but that should never erase the number of significant moments in Cubs history that he authored. Certainly, when you compile the list of guys the Cubs wouldn’t have won a championship without, Javy is near the top of that list. I was at the Cueto game when he literally provided the game’s only run.
It’s certainly frustrating and disappointing to feel like I’ve gone from an internet sports writer to someone writing an obituary. I imagine Jake Arrieta is about to come down with the old “having an unimaginably bad year” injury. I still wonder if there could have been any value to trying him out of the bullpen. I won’t label him as a guy blocking that kind of move, because I literally haven’t seen anyone discuss it. The bullpen was so good for so long and rotation is so under manned, certainly that wasn’t on the top of everyone’s minds. But certainly many a pitcher has been able to find some later career success by seeing hitters only once and being able to really reach back and give max effort for a few batters. Not to mention, cherry picking usage to a large extent.
All of this is so darn depressing. Let’s just 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 85, July 5: Phillies 15 at Cubs 10 (42-44)
- Superhero: Joc Pederson (.037). 2-4, 2B, 2RBI, 2R
- Hero: Kris Bryant (.036). 1-5, RBI
- Sidekick: Rafael Ortega (.022). 1-1, R
- Billy Goat: Jake Arrieta (-.422). 1⅔ IP (15 batters faced), 6H, 2BB, 7R, 4K (L 5-9)
- Goat: Trevor Williams (-.077). 3⅔ IP (20 batters faced), 6H, BB, 7R (3ER), 3K
- Kid: Anthony RIzzo (-.042). 0-3, 3K
WPA Play of the Game: Andrew McCutchen was just the fourth batter of the game and he hit a grand slam. This game was basically over four batters into the game. (.172)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Joc Pederson doubled with runners on first and second and no outs in the third inning. A run scored, cutting the Phillies lead to 7-1 (.060)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Rex Brothers (1 1⁄3 IP, 4 batters faced)
Javier Baez (2-4, 2HR, 4RBI)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel +18
- Kris Bryant +17
- Jake Marisnick +14
- Rex Brothers/PJ Higgins/Eric Sogard -9.5
- Jake Arrieta -14
Up Next: It is Alec Mills’ turn to try to stop the bleeding Wednesday night at Wrigley. Mills is 3-2 with a 4.85 ERA. He’ll face Zack Wheeler who is only 6-4 despite a 2.05 ERA.