It feels a bit trite to open this piece by saying that for the second straight day the Cubs came from behind only to lose in the end. I suppose the effect was more or less identical. But Thursday’s comeback pales in magnitude compared to Friday’s. The Thursday comeback was against a Rockies team that, though very good at home, is playing out the string. To be fair, the general formula for a team playing out the stream looks something like play hard early and see what happens. If you grab a lead, you try like hell to bring it home. If you fall behind early, you often seem to start considering what your dinner plans are. Particularly for a mostly veteran team like the Rockies.
Of course, this Cubs team is much less experienced. It features a number of guys who for one reason or another haven’t gotten as much playing time at the major league level as they once dreamed of as a developing player. That type of team will often adopt a try hard mentality. We are seeing that play out. Surely there are a million reasons why it is apples to oranges, but this team is showing the kind of fire that recent versions of the Cubs were occasionally criticized for not having.
Before I get too far down that road, let me unequivocally say this. If I had to choose between talent and fire, you can take your team with fire every time. My team with talent is probably going to win the majority of the time over your team with fire.
So it was on Friday afternoon that the Cubs had one of the more improbable comebacks you’ll ever see. The White Sox have assembled what looks an awful lot like the murder’s row of bullpens. Basically, they already had a good bullpen, closer included, when they traded for Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel who were having amazing seasons. That made for a daunting task losing by three runs heading to the bottom of the eighth and looking at Craig Kimbrel, one of the best closers ever. I’ll never dismiss what Mariano Rivera did, but if someone wanted to make an argument for Kimbrel as the greatest, the only huge argument is longevity.
Anyway, with Kimbrel on the mound, the Cubs strung together a couple of hits and then a game-tying, three-run homer by Andrew Romine. Andrew who hadn’t homered since 2017 and Craig who had only allowed two earned runs all season. And then if that weren’t crazy enough, the White Sox plated four runs in silly baseball in their half of the 10th inning and then the Cubs scored two more runs in theirs. The Cubs scored five runs over the final three innings against one of the best bullpens, if not the best bullpen in baseball. Weird. They’ll probably have a week here before the end of the year where they struggle to score five runs total.
This is one heck of a game graph, let’s get to it. 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 111, August 6: White Sox 8, Cubs 6 (52-59)
- Superhero: Andrew Romine (.439). 2-5, HR (1), 3RBI, 2R
- Hero: Codi Heuer (.136). IP (3 batters faced), BB, K
- Sidekick: Robinson Chirinos (.087). 1-3, BB, K
- Billy Goat: Ian Happ (-.365). 1-5, 2B, R, 2K
- Goat: Manny Rodriguez (-.308). 0IP (4 batters faced), 3H, 4R (1ER) (L 0-1)
- Kid: Kyle Ryan (-.194). ⅓ IP (2 batters faced), H, R, K
WPA Play of the Game: Andrew Romine’s two out, three-run homer to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. (.445)
*White Sox Play of the Game: Ian Happ batted with a runner on second and two outs against Sox closer Liam Hendricks. He struck out to end the inning. (.279)
Who is the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Frank Schwindel (2-5, HR, 2RBI, 2R)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant +26
- Craig Kimbrel +20 (He’d have been -3 for the White Sox today)
- Patrick Wisdom +17
- Rex Brothers -13.5
- Jake Arrieta -16
- Ian Happ -20
Up Next: Game two of the weekend three game set at Wrigley Field. Adbert Alzolay starts for the Cubs. Adbert is 4-11 with a 4.85 ERA. He’ll be opposed by Carlos Rodon. Carlos is 8-5 with a 2.49. I don’t have to tell you how tough this matchup looks on paper.