All good things must come to an end, as Al headlined his recap.
The seven-game winning streak was fun and it sure would have been fun to have played spoiler against the Reds for the fourth time in five games over the last month. Alas, this was a night where the Cubs showed tantalizing signs but just couldn’t ever get over the top. A bounce here or a few feet there, this might have been a different game and the Cubs might have eight straight wins.
Starter Adrian Sampson appeared to get stronger as his start went on. Unfortunately, his start included two first-inning homers allowed. In fact, Sampson allowed two homers and a double to the first four batters he faced. But he only allowed three hits over his other four innings of work.
Trevor Megill had a dominant outing. He threw two perfect innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced. Michael Rucker retired the only two batters he faced out of the pen, stranding two runners he’d inherited from Dillon Maples.
But this game was doomed by two rough innings. The first, with Sampson on the hill, and the eighth when Manuel Rodriguez was touched for two more runs. Rodriguez allowed three hits, including a double, and a walk (intentional) in his inning of work.
On the other side of the ball, the Reds unearthed an old Fergie Jenkins plan. If you are going to allow a homer, make sure it’s a solo. The Cubs did have eight hits, but they drew no walks. And so, their three homers amounted to exactly three runs.
The Reds moved back into a virtual tie with the Padres, though by way of having played two more games than the Padres, the Reds are percentage points behind the Padres for the second wild card spot. The Cubs can still play spoiler one more time if they can bounce back and win tonight.
Before we can worry about tonight, let’s recap last night and begin with 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 140, September 7: Reds 4 at Cubs 3 (64-76)
- Superhero: Trevor Megill (.110). 2IP, 6 batters faced, 3K
- Hero: Ian Happ (.109). 3-4, HR (20), RBI, R
- Sidekick: Rafael Ortega (.078). 1-1, HR (10), RBI, R
*The Cubs now have nine players with 10 homers this year. They still have David Bote (8) and Jason Heyward (7) with some chance at getting there.
- Billy Goat: Matt Duffy (-.203). 1-4
- Goat: Sergio Alcantara (-.173). 0-4, K
- Kid: Manuel Rodriguez (-.168). IP, 7 batters faced, 3H, BB, 2R, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: With runners at first and second with two outs in the eighth inning, the Reds were leading by one. Mike Moustakas faced Manuel Rodriguez. The veteran got the best of this one and came up with an RBI single. (.121)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Willson Contreras homered with two outs and the bases empty in the third inning. That cut a two-run deficit to one. (.109)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)
- Kris Bryant/Frank Schwindel +26
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Rafael Ortega +18 (+1)
- Patrick Wisdom +17
- *PJ Higgins -9.5
- Rex Brothers -11.5
- David Bote -12
- Zach Davies -17
- Jake Arrieta -19
Up Next: The final game of this series and the season series between the Reds and Cubs today. The Cubs have won seven and lost 11 against the Reds this year. Alec Mills (6-6, 4.25 ERA) is scheduled to start. The Reds will have Vladimir Gutierrez (9-6, 4.17) on the hill.