Friday afternoon, the Cubs made their return to Wrigley Field. Coming home as the winners of two straight felt a lot better than things have in a while. The team then jumped out to an early lead, and it looked for a little while that they might win a third straight. As a fan, these situations are the absolute worst for me. I’m fine with them rebuilding, reloading, retooling, remodeling or any other word you’d like to pick. (Though I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone choose “remodel” as the word yet.) Either way, their organizational goals right now are very much looking for results in the future.
Intuitively then, losing a game to the Royals is the best thing. But I can’t find myself openly rooting for them to lose. Playing spoiler against the Reds for two days this week was fun. They haven’t exactly been cordial through the years and so if we’ve reduced their odds ever so slightly of making the playoffs, I’m not losing sleep over that and in fact find some joy in it. Against another team well out of contention, though, the loss is the best outcome.
But I just can’t root for that. The Cubs won two straight and then they jumped out to a 3-0 lead. They were rolling. If you haven’t read any of the recaps of this game and didn’t watch, go find a good one. Things have gotten so bad that they were leading 3-0 and then lost 6-2. Yes, there is a replay challenge involved and yes, I’m pretty sure they got the call right. But, for a moment the score showed as 3-0 and they went on to lose 6-2. Pretty weird stuff.
Ian Happ takes the Superhero spot today. Ian has gotten hot (finally!) and has been the team’s biggest weapon lately. Patrick Wisdom hit a home run as well, supplying the other run. Zach Davies continued his lost year, struggling yet again. There just wasn’t enough positive in this one and once again, the team looked largely over matched, even against a Royals team that has been pretty bad.
And so, while it’s hard to openly root for, it is soothing when the Cubs keep losing and slowly improve their draft position. It’s starting to look like they have a good shot at a top five pick for next year’s draft. Also, a reminder, under the current rules the Cubs would also get the fifth largest international spending budget in baseball. They can continue to add pieces as they build for the future. It’s quite a salve for the ego knowing that each loss does help with that future Cubs team.
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 124, August 20: Royals 6 at Cubs 2 (54-70)
- Superhero: Ian Happ (.076). 1-3, BB, RBI, 2K
- Hero: Rex Brothers (.034). IP, 3 batters faced, K
- Sidekick: Patrick Wisdom (.031). 1-4, HR (19), RBI, R, K
- Billy Goat: Zach Davies (-.212). 6IP, 24 batters faced, 5H, 4R, 1BB, 5K (L 6-10)
- Goat: Frank Schwindel (-.137). 0-4
- Kid: Ryan Meisinger (-.050). IP, 6 batters faced, 2H, BB, R
WPA Play of the Game: Salvador Perez batted with the bases empty and one out in the sixth game. The game was tied when he stepped up. The Royals led by one after he sat down. (.172)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Patrick Wisdom led off the bottom of the second with his 19th homer of the year to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. (.107)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)
- Kris Bryant +26
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Rafael Ortega +19
- Patrick Wisdom +13 (+1)
- *Nico Hoerner +12
- Rex Brothers/*PJ Higgins -.9.5
- Zach Davies -14 (-3)
- Ian Happ -18 (+3)
- Jake Arrieta -19
Up Next: Game number two of the three game set. The Cubs are scheduled to start Keegan Thompson (3-2, 2.21). The Royals are scheduled to start lefthander Kris Bubic (3-6, 5.09).