Is it possible that we are all living in a Frank Schwindel dream? It feels like we all still have our own consciousness, but somehow this has to be a dream, right? Certainly, we saw Patrick Wisdom and Rafael Ortega in turn go berserk earlier. But, the difference now is that now only is Schwindel going off, but he’s propelling a thoroughly mediocre team to victory. Surely, one of you statheads out there can estimate the relative probability of this Cubs team winning six consecutive games.
On Sunday afternoon, it looked like Matt Duffy had propelled them to victory earlier in the game with a pair of homers and five RBI. But then the pitching staff gave the lead back and heading to the bottom of the seventh, the Cubs were trailing by a run. Schwindel came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Here’s a situation where you are just looking for a pitch to drive and hopefully find a hole and tie the game. But then he really got into one and launched a grand slam.
Schwindel has now hit 10 home runs for the Cubs in a little over a month and he’s hitting .370. We are past a month in the majors for him now, so we aren’t particularly in a tiny sample size. Obviously, it’s not a massive sample size either. But he’s having a monster month and now he’s picked the team up onto his bat. While he’s homered in six of seven games and the Cubs have won nine of 12.
This is all so far beyond belief. The next team on the calendar is the Cincinnati Reds and the last time the Cubs played them, they won two of three in Cincinnati. I’m going to say the Reds are coming into Chicago geared up. They are knocking out on the door of the second wildcard spot. I think most of us expect that the Padres will eventually get things back in gear and win that spot. San Diego does play in a really tough division. The Giants and Dodgers are two of the best teams in baseball and the Rockies, though much less good, have been very tough at home this year. There’s no question the Reds are going to come to town thinking that they are very much alive for that last playoff spot.
It sure would be fun for the Cubs to win a game or two in this upcoming series and spoil that for them. The Reds haven’t exactly been a warm and fuzzy opponent in recent years. I’m going to be really interested to see how these next few games go. With a razor-thin margin to try to get into the playoffs, we can assume that they will be the first team in quite some time who may have done some active scouting on these Cubs hitters. Can Schwindel stay hot? It’ll be fun to see.
He doesn’t need to really do another thing this season to have had a dream come true. For a guy who has never gotten meaningful playing time at the major league level, to first get a chance to play every day, then having some success and then to have it lift the team? It becomes cliche to say, but Schwindel is living out a script that Hollywood might turn down because it is just too contrived.
This one was a doozy, let’s get to those 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 138, September 5: Cubs 11, Pirates 8 (63-75)
- Superhero: Frank Schwindel (.648). 3-5, HR (10), BB, 4RBI, 2R
*This is the second highest WPA of the season for the Cubs (Highest: Matt Duffy - May 5 - .768)
- Hero: Matt Duffy (.198). 3-5, 2HR (2,3), 5RBI, SB, K
- Sidekick: Patrick Wisdom (.102). 0-3, BB, HBP, 2R, 2K
- Billy Goat: Zach Davies (-.387). 4IP, 21 batters faced, 8H, 3BB, 6R, 3K
- Goat: Rex Brothers (-.102). ⅔ IP, 5 batters faced, 2BB, HBP, R, WP, K
- Kid: Willson Contreras (-.094). 0-1
WPA Play of the Game: Frank Schwindel’s grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Cubs the lead. (.529)
*Pirates Play of the Game: The grand slam that Bryan Reynolds hit off of Zach Davies in the third inning. There were no outs and that gave the Pirates a 5-2 lead. (.216)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Ian Happ (3-5, RBI, R)
Jason Heyward (2-5, HR, RBI, R)
Adbert Alzolay (1 2⁄3 IP, 6 batters faced, H, W 5-13)
Rowan Wick, 2IP, 8 batters faced, 2BB, SV 3)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)
*This award has been named for Anthony Rizzo because he finished first in the standings three of the first six years that we calculated it.
- Kris Bryant +26
- Frank Schwindel +23 (+3)
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Patrick Wisdom +19 (+1)
- Rafael Ortega +18 (+2)
- *PJ Higgins -9.5
- Rex Brothers -11.5 (-2)
- *David Bote -12
- Zach Davies -17 (-3)
- Jake Arrieta -19
We missed having all six podium placers be in the top/bottom 5 by only a few places. With today’s -1, Contreras is at -7.5 (tied for eighth worst on the team).
Up Next: As noted above, the Reds come to town to begin a three-game series. The Cubs will start Justin Steele (3-2, 3.48) against Sonny Gray (7-6, 3.89) this afternoon. They’ve come this far, let’s hope they make it seven.