Saturday night’s game wasn’t quite a carbon copy of Friday’s. The Cubs held the Brewers to only nine runs (after allowing 11 the night before). But the Cubs have now scored only one run in three straight games and four out of five. Even if you assembled a pitching staff taking free picks from the all-time greatest pitchers, all in their prime, you still wouldn’t be guaranteed a winning record scoring only one run a game. Including the six they scored in the one win over the last five, they have averaged only two runs per game. That just isn’t enough to be competitive.
One of the things about baseball is that it can turn on a dime. What’s going on right now isn’t by any means permanent. But, right now it is hard to imagine what turns things for this team. The schedule ahead remains brutal. The players on the horizon that will return from injury are more likely to make nominal/incremental change that anything significant. The players in Iowa who might be ready for their chance anytime soon are also likely to be nominal upgrade if any.
The hottest prospect from a talent/upside perspective is Brennen Davis. Brennen has only gotten his feet wet. He isn’t exactly laying waste to his league. There are two realities and the second outweighs the first, in my opinion, by a great deal. The first is that Brennen plays a position that is one of the weakest on the Cubs. He will eventually significantly upgrade the position and that could have a significant impact. But that second reality is that he needs a lot of development still. The Cubs should take their time and get that right. There is no reason to rush him up to try to make the difference between third and fourth place.
Hopefully, the proverbial worm turns for this team soon. Because things just aren’t pretty right now.
Let’s take a look at three positives from Saturday’s game.
- Scott Effross threw a perfect inning. There haven’t been a ton of those recently out of Cubs pitchers. He threw a perfect fourth at a time when the game was only 4-1 and was at least theoretically still in question.
- The two-catcher lineup. I wondered early on if David Ross would feel comfortable enough to play his two catchers. Yan Gomes is a decent backup and Willson Contreras, when healthy, has a bat that plays, not just a good bat for a catcher. Gomes hit a solo homer for the Cubs’ lone run. Contreras had a pair of hits. Together, the duo accounted for half of the Cubs six hits and the lone run.
- Patrick Wisdom. Patrick had a pair of hits including a double. He finishes the April with a line of .242/.311/.485 (wRC+ 127) and has been worth bWAR of +0.4. With plus defense at third, the Cubs are getting decent value out of Wisdom. If you were making a shopping list, upgrading third base is well down the list of priorities right now.
And now, let’s turn our attention to the Heroes and Goats from last night’s game.
Game 21, April 30: Brewers 9, Cubs 1 (8-13)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Yan Gomes (.059). 1-3, HR, BB, RBI, R
- Hero: Scott Effross (.022). IP (3 batters), K
- Sidekick: Willson Contreras (.016). 2-3, K
- Billy Goat: Justin Steele (-.262). 3IP (18 batters) 7H, BB, 4R (2 ER), 4K (L 1-3)
- Goat: Seiya Suzuki (-.084). 0-3, BB, K, DP
- Kid: Michael Rucker (-.061). 2IP (11 batters), 2H, 2BB, 2R, 6K
WPA Play of the Game: With a runner on first and one out in the first inning, the game was still scoreless when Christian Yelich faced Justin Steele. Yelich singled to center and when Michael Hermosillo misplayed the ball in center, the runners ended up on second and third, setting up the first two runs for the Brewers. (.084)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With two outs in the top of the second inning, the Cubs were trailing 3-0 and the bases were empty. Yan Gomes hit a home run off of Brewers starter Eric Lauer.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave suggestion in comments)
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 +15
- Alfonso Rivas +10
- Scott Effross +9
- Nick Madrigal/Marcus Stroman/Kyle Hendricks -7
- Patrick Wisdom -8
- Jason Heyward -9
Up Next: The Cubs will look to salvage one game out of their three-game trip to Milwaukee. The Cubs have already assured a losing road trip, having lost four of the first five games with one remaining. Marcus Stroman has had a nightmarish start to his Cub career (0-3, 6.98). The Cubs fared pretty well against Corbin Burnes (1-0, 1.75) the first time they saw him, but he is always a tall order. Stroman is going to likely have to be at his absolute best if the Cubs are going to have any chance at this one.