Now that’s more like it. That’s a fantastic start to the series in Colorado. The Cubs jumped on the Rockies with three runs in the first, sending eight men to the plate in the inning before a double play ended it. I love a three-run homer as much as the next guy, but I have to be excited when I see most of the lineup getting involved. Five of the first six batters had hits in the inning and they added a hit by pitch for good measure.
Justin Steele started and looked pretty good again. The one disappointing thing was an error by Jonathan Villar in the first inning. Villar was trying to make a quick play, hoping to turn an inning ending double play on a grounder to short near the second base bag. Kris Bryant had hit the ball and we all remember that Kris can get down the line in a hurry. Jonathan booted the ball and not only didn’t the double play happen, but they didn’t get any outs. That really led to Thompson having to labor in the first inning and probably used his pitch count up prematurely.
I wouldn’t expect Villar to get much time at short this year, but he did hit the ball with authority in Pittsburgh and had great numbers against Kyle Freeland. I still can’t decide what to make of the Villar signing. I remember his 24-homer season for the Orioles a couple of years back but I can’t say I really remember him leading baseball with 62 steals (in 80 attempts) back in 2016. It’s as if I was paying a whole lot more attention to some other team that year. Villar had a pair of hits in the game before leaving for a defensive replacement at the end.
Keegan Thompson was the story of this game. He faced 13 batters, retiring 10 of them and only allowing three hits. He came in with the bases loaded and the Cubs holding a one run lead and he just slammed the door while the offense went back to work, pushing the lead back to three.
I was surprised that David Ross didn’t find a way to get Willson Contreras’ bat in the lineup against a lefty. I’ve openly wondered if he’ll be willing to DH Willson, particularly against a lefty. Willy is really scalding the ball in the early going with some of the best hard hit stats in baseball. But the Cubs were able to win one with him out of the lineup. Hopefully he can contribute to a couple of more wins over the weekend on fresh legs.
Let’s go to the numbers.
Game 6, April 14: Cubs 5 at Rockies 2 (4-2)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Keegan Thompson (.300). 3⅓ IP (13 batters), 3H, K (W 1-0)
- Hero: Justin Steele (.165). 4⅓ IP (20 batters), 5H, 2BB, 2R, 4K
- Sidekick: Frank Schwindel (.145). 2-4, R, 2B, DP
- Billy Goat: Ethan Roberts (-.201). ⅓ IP (4 batters), H, 2BB
- Goat: Patrick Wisdom (-.092). 0-4, 2K, DP
- Kid: Clint Frazier (-.019). 0-3, BB
WPA Play of the Game: With two outs in the fifth, CJ Cron batted with runners on first and second and one out against Ethan Roberts. He doubled. The one silver lining was the outfield did a nice job getting the ball back into the infield and even with two outs, only one run scored. (.119)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Frank Schwindel homered leading off the sixth. After a rough bottom of the fifth, that was a key homer, giving Keegan Thompson a little breathing room. (.115)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Jonathan Villar (2-4, 2B, R)
Someone else (leave in comments)
Up Next: Game two of the four-game set. Marcus Stroman takes the hill looking for his first win as a Cub.