You never ACTUALLY believe that you won’t see that W flag again. You never really believe you are hearing “Go Cubs Go!” for the last time during a season, at least not until the last home game is played. Even when the team is bad, you kind of just hope they’ll pull it together and win one more game and they’ll fly that flag again and sing that song. Of course, the last game before the trade deadline was a home game, and then they were on the road and then all of the losses started piling up. We all had to wonder, if nothing else, how many more times we’d get to hear the song this year.
We certainly wouldn’t have guessed they’d suddenly go on a tear and we’d hear it five straight days at Wrigley Field. Not THIS team. The irony of all of this is that two or three weeks ago, it was getting old trying to find new ways to write about losing every day. I’d essentially trotted out reverse rooting and rationalizing that losing was for the greater good because draft position. Now I’m not sure how to write every day and tell you that Frank Schwindel did it again.
Surely, the vast majority of you have already seen that Schwindel is the first player in forever to have the winning RBI in four consecutive games. ESPN went back 40 years and didn’t find a similar occurrence. That’s some pretty insane stuff. I can’t think of a parallel to this. We all know that clutch doesn’t hold up as an attribute over the long run. But man, as much as we’ve talked through the years about the Cardinals and deals with the devil, if I believed in such things, I’d hate to know what Schwindel gave up to have this month plus of baseball. I’ve been saying that I’ve never seen anything like it and now we know there is truth to that.
If the Reds miss the playoffs, they are going to look at late-season games against the Cubs as where it got away. The Cubs have won three of their last four against the Reds. That’s a fairly devastating blow to the Reds’ playoff hopes. It certainly isn’t over, they sit just one game behind the second wild-card spot. They will surely come out fighting Tuesday and you’d have to imagine they’ll be heavily favored Tuesday and Wednesday both. But right now, your Chicago Cubs are the hottest team in baseball.
Nobody took a bite out of the statistic for this Cubs team and this winning streak. I’ll give this perspective. If you flipped a coin, the odds of seven consecutive results are 1 in 128. So if the Cubs were a tossup in seven straight games, you’d expect that 1 in 128. That by itself says that this would be more than a 100-year occurrence. But we all know these games aren’t tossups. One or two of them? Maybe. But, you’d have to expect the Cubs to lose at least four of seven over this stretch. At best, maybe only three. So to win all seven, it’s just beyond explanation.
And then it’s Frank Schwindel four days in a row now. It just defies explanation. On Monday, it was an eighth-inning RBI single to make it 4-3. Stunningly, the Cubs are now one game over .500 for the season aside from that last 12-game skid after they gutted the team. You certainly can’t “but for” a 12-game streak. But it is reality. This was how people looked ahead at the Cubs season and saw them getting to 85-plus wins. There were just so many winnable games down the stretch. Winning so many of them in a row, though, is a rare feat.
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 139, September 6: Cubs 4, Reds 3 (64-75)
- Superhero: Frank Schwindel (.230). 2-4, RBI, R
- Hero: Scott Effross (.194). 2IP, 6 batters faced, H, K (W 2-0)
- Sidekick: Adam Morgan (.162). IP, 3 batters faced, (Sv 2)
- Billy Goat: Justin Steele (-.108). 5IP, 23 batters faced, 4H, 2BB, 2HBP, 3R, 4K
- Goat: Patrick Wisdom (-.078). 0-4, 2K
- Kid: Rafael Ortega (-.069). 0-4, R, K
WPA Play of the Game: Frank Schwindel batted with a runner on second and one out in the eighth inning, the game was tied. He hit a go-ahead RBI single that turned out to be the game winner. (.217)
*Reds Play of the Game: Max Schrock batted with runners on first and second and two outs in the seventh inning, the Reds trailing by one. He doubled, scoring the tying run. (.186)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Ian Happ (1-4, HR, 3RBI, R)
Alfonso Rivas (1-1, R)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)
- Kris Bryant +26
- Frank Schwindel +26 (+3) - I’m fairly certain this is the first time a player has received four consecutive Superhero awards
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Rafael Ortega +17 (-1)
- Patrick Wisdom +17 (-2)
- *PJ Higgins -9.5
- Rex Brothers -11.5
- David Bote -12
- Zach Davies -17
- Jake Arrieta -19
Up Next: Adrian Sampson will get a start for the Cubs. He is 0-1 with a 1.59 ERA. He’ll face Wade Miley (11-5, 2.97). This one really feels like the end of the line. But don’t stop believing.