It feels like it’s becoming a regular occurrence: Trotting out the Green Day song “Wake Me When September Ends” to describe late season Cubs baseball. I know we are supposed to be watching for player development and keeping our attention on the future and not the present. But in the meantime, the on field play of this Cubs team is almost criminally bad. This team feels like the team that the “evil owner” in the movie Major League was trying to put together. You know, before it turned out that they actually put together a really good team.
Only this isn’t a really good team. This isn’t a team that’s going to figure itself out. With Willson Contreras and Nico Hoerner on the injured list, it isn’t clear how many of these guys currently wearing Cubs uniforms will have any meaningful impact on the Cubs future. We like to hope that guys like Patrick Wisdom and Rafael Ortega will at least have some impact in the short run. But how many of us would make a serious bet that they will? Am I saying that neither will even be here next year? Of course not. That would be a fool’s bet. One would think it’s pretty safe that Ortega and Wisdom will go into spring training as the de facto starters in center and at third.
But can they replicate any of this year’s success again next year? Let us hope. But it’s just not usual that older guys suddenly break through and become year over year contributors. And so, we are likely looking at flash in the pan seasons. I hope I’m not right about that, but even if I am there is a lot there to be remembered and appreciated about this season, particularly for Wisdom who will forever be etched in Cubs history as a guy who slugged 20 homers in a season. For Ortega that memory will be on Cubs who hit three homers in a single game.
Saturday, Wisdom accomplished the 20 homer season feat, but he also accomplished having the only hit in a game. That’s 900 consecutive games the Cubs have had at least one hit. And so he preserved a bit over five seasons plus a pandemic season worth of work. That’s certainly the only thing offensively that was a positive today. Keegan Thompson was ok in his start. Codi Heuer, Manuel Rodriguez and Trevor Megill all were sharp in their ongoing bid to consider themselves part of the 2022 Cubs bullpen.
There are now only five teams in baseball with more losses than the Cubs. The Royals now have three fewer losses than the Cubs. They will leave town with a better record than the Cubs no matter what happens Sunday. There are 37 more games remaining in this Cubs season, but it is looking like the Cubs will challenge to be in the top five with their pick in next year’s first round. They should hopefully be able to add an impactful player with a pick that high. Perhaps even someone who can be at least a little fast-tracked to the big leagues.
Let’s go the numbers on this game. 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 125, August 21: Royals 4 at Cubs 2 (54-71)
- Superhero: Patrick Wisdom (.051). 1-4, HR (20), 2RBI, R, K
- Hero: Codi Heuer (.028). IP, 3 batters faced
- Sidekick: Trevor Megill (.027). IP, 3 batters faced, 2K
- Billy Goat: Rafael Ortega (-.091). 0-4, K
- Goat: Michael Hermosillo (-.082). 0-3, 2K
- Kid: David Bote (-.076). 0-3, K
WPA Play of the Game: Patrick Wisdom hit a two-run homer with no outs in the seventh inning to cut the Royals lead from four to two. (.115)
*Royals Play of the Game: Nicky Lopez batted with runners on first and second with one out in the second inning, the Royals already leading by one. He singled, increasing the lead to two. (.102)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Manuel Rodriguez IP, 3 batters faced, K
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)
- Kris Bryant +26
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Patrick Wisdom +16 (+3)
- Rafael Ortega +16
- *Nico Hoerner +12
- *PJ Higgins/Rex Brothers -9.5
- Zach Davies -14
- Ian Happ -18
- Jake Arrieta -19
Up Next: The third and final game of the series between the two teams is Sunday afternoon at Wrigley Field. Alec Mills (5-5, 4.19) is scheduled to start for the Cubs. The Royals will counter with Carlos Hernandez (3-1, 4.33).