All’s well that ends well. That’s pretty much the summation of this game. The Cubs overcame a short start by Mark Leiter Jr. With all due respect to Mark and his excellent pedigree, it just isn’t working. I don’t know enough to know if his stuff can play up out of the pen, but even on a team that likely will finish out of contention, he just can’t keep taking starts. Alec Mills has to be getting close and Wade Miley has to be on the road to returning.
Leiter got into trouble in the second. He worked around a double in the first, but then hit a batter, allowed a single and a walk in the second. David Ross had seen enough and Keegan Thompson was summoned. Keegan continued his impressive start to the season, though he did finally allow a run.
Meanwhile, Cubs bats scored a single run in the second and a pair of runs in the third. That was enough for the Cubs to carry a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the eighth. That was when another, to this point, effective reliever got scored upon. Mychal Givens didn’t appear to pitch badly, but the results weren’t good and he allowed two runs and got charged with a blown save. Despite the slow start to the season, blown saves or blown leads in general haven’t particularly plagued the Cubs (save for not holding all of the early leads they’ve created with early offense).
Fortunately, the Cubs offense broke out in the 10th inning, they plated three runs and Rowan Wick threw a scoreless 10th for his first save of the season.
Three things I liked on Wednesday:
- Ian Happ reached base three more times. He drew two walks in this one to go with a single and a sacrifice fly. Through 65 plate appearances, he has drawn 10 walks while striking out 11 times. He’s rocking a .446 on-base percentage.
- David Robertson retired all four batters he faced to close out regulation play. That was enough to land him the win in this one. The first of those four batters got out of a first and third two out situation after the Braves had tied the game against Givens. Ozzie Albies was the batter and is never an easy out. He then struck out the side in the ninth.
- Willson Contreras has had struggles with runners on base early in the season. But he started the 10th inning rally with an RBI double.
Let’s move on to the numbers from a 6-3 win in 10 innings.
Game 18, April 27: Cubs 6 at Braves 3
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: David Robertson (.240). 1⅓ IP (4 batters), 3K (W 1-0)
- Hero: Willson Contreras (.235). 1-4, BB, 2B, RBI, R
- Sidekick: Patrick Wisdom (.146). 1-4, BB, HR, 2RBI, 2R, 2K
- Billy Goat: Mychal Givens (-.450). ⅔ IP (6 batters), 3H, BB, 2K
- Goat: Frank Schwindel (-.073). 1-5, 2K
- Kid: Nico Hoerner (-.059). 1-5
WPA Play of the Game: With two outs and the bases load in the eighth inning, Mychal Givens faced Dansby Swanson. The Cubs were holding a 3-1 lead. But Swanson came through, tying the game with a two-run single. (.384)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Willson Contreras batted leading off the 10th with the free runner on second. He doubled in the go ahead run. (.225)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
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.
- Ian Happ +13
- Seiya Suzuki +8.5
- Keegan Thompson +8
- Nick Madrigal/Marcus Stroman -7
- Jason Heyward -9
Up Next: The third and final game of the series in Atlanta. The Cubs will send Drew Smyly (1-1, 2.45) to the mound looking for the series win. Drew has been the most consistent Cubs starter in the early going. He is coming off of a start where he allowed runs for the first time this season and took the loss. The Braves will start Kyle Wright (2-0, 1.06), so the Cubs bats will have their work cut out for them.