I, for one, liked it better when the Cubs were winning every day. Since the morning after my surgery, I’ve written every night (when there was a game) before bed. As it turns out, there is a lot more energy and the words flow so much more easily while the team is rolling. Tonight, as I sit here, I just feel tired. The end is near. Just press through to the end.
With the strong finish to the season, my eyes have turned a lot to the future. There appears to be a light shining at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, it’s not a mirage, Lucy doesn’t move the football and the competitive window begins to open as we head into the offseason.
But my brain today isn’t in the future, it’s in the past. If indeed the competitive window is reopening, I’m excited that I’ve largely been able to come through the last two seasons with a lot of positivity. Certainly, with close to 180 losses over two seasons, it’s nigh impossible to be constantly positive. But, as rough seasons go, these weren’t bad.
The 2021 Cubs competed and were in contention into the start of June. Then, that team actually became kind of fun watching the trio of Patrick Wisdom, Frank Schwindel and Rafael Ortega rally those around them and win a lot more games than would initially have been expected.
The 2022 Cubs had the bottom fall out on them quickly. But they competed hard and in August, things flipped pretty quickly and this team has not been overmatched down the stretch. Certainly there were times throughout the season when the talent differential was just too much. But to be fair, that happens even to some very good teams at times.
The weight of expectations can change so much. I think there were probably times in 2018 and 2019 when I was way more frustrated than I’ve been here over these two seasons. Of course, it’s not only failed expectations that leads to frustration. Those of us who were around Bleed Cubbie Blue back around 2012 when I came here lived through some of the most contentious sports discussions I’ve ever been around.
To that end, I take this moment to applaud you, the BCB community. I’ve seen this place be petty and mean. Many of us live and die with this team and things can get pretty frustrating. By and large, though, the community came through these two seasons with a lot of class and respect for one another That doesn’t mean that people haven’t been able to voice their frustration with the front office, with the on field product, with some of the players. But the vast majority of it was done without being petty and mean.
There are certainly going to be some disagreements going forward as there are some difficult decisions to be made. But let’s all try to remember that we are in the same side and the we all have the same dream. That dream is to see this organization hoist that trophy again. Some of us aren’t getting any younger, sooner would be better. Let’s hope that the team takes as significant a step forward in 2023 as it did in 2022. The win/loss record did not jump forward, but again that’s in large part because the old guard was very good in May 2021.
A 3-1 loss, particularly where the one run was basically conceded in exchange for ending the game, isn’t great. But even in defeat we can find three stars.
- Michael Rucker faced three batters and struck them all out. Rucker gained some valuable experience in 2022. It’ll be interesting to see if he can take a step forward next year.
- There were only two hits plus four walks and a hit batter. With so little offense, Zach McKinstry gets my vote for the second spot. He had a single and drew a walk. He also stole a base.
- Erich Uelmen pulled off the feat of one batter, two outs. He inherited a bases-loaded, one-out jam and escaped, giving the team a chance to come back.
Let’s see how WPA scored it as we look at Heroes and Goats.
Game 150, October 3: Reds 3, Cubs 1 (73-87)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Esteban Quiroz (.079). 0-2, BB, HBP, SB, 2K
- Hero: Zach McKinstry (.077). 1-3, R, BB, SB, 2K
- Sidekick: Hayden Wesneski (.050). 6IP (24 batters), 4H, BB, 2R (1ER), 6K (L 3-2)
- Billy Goat: Seiya Suzuki (-.288). 0-4, K
- Goat: Ian Happ (-.176). 0-4, 2K, DP
- Kid: Christopher Morel (-.168). 0-3, DP
WPA Play of the Game: With second and third with one out in the sixth, Seiya Suzuki batted with the Cubs down two. He lined into a double play. (.188)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With a runner on first and no outs in the ninth, the Cubs were down three. Esteban Quiroz drew a walk, bringing the tying run to the plate. (.079)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Michael Rucker (3 batters, 3K)
Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)
The award is named for Anthony Rizzo, who finished first in this category three of the first four years it was in existence and four times overall. He also recorded the highest season total ever at +65.5. The point scale is three points for a Superhero down to negative three points for a Billy Goat.
- David Robertson +22.5
- Christopher Morel +20
- Scott Effross +17
- Nico Hoerner +10.5
- Drew Smyly/Justin Steele/Keegan Thompson +10
- Frank Schwindel/Daniel Norris/Alfonso Rivas -9.5
- Rafael Ortega -11.5
- David Bote -12
- Yan Gomes -14.5
- Jason Heyward -15.5
To update again, with two games to go, it’s a two person race. David Robertson is the leader in the clubhouse. With the Kid spot on Monday, Christopher Morel now trails by 2.5. He’ll need a Superhero with no negative performance in the other game or a Hero and a Sidekick over the final two games. Robertson again looks close to securing the award.
Up Next: Javier Assad (2-2, 3.62) looks to make it two strong starts in a row. He’ll be opposed by Luis Cessa (4-4, 4.76). Let’s get back in the win column.