I had to double check to see if my memory is accurate and I was right. This is the first appearance of Ildemaro Vargas as a Superhero. It’s well earned after Vargas keyed the Cubs’ third inning rally. After a the Cubs opened the inning with a double and a single, Vargas drove in the first two runs with a triple and then he scored via sacrifice fly. So Vargas accounted for all three of the runs. Vargas had been swinging a pretty hot bat at Iowa and so it’s good for him to carry that over to the big club.
Unfortunately, that was about all of the good for the Cubs on Friday night. Drew Smyly had also thrown two scoreless innings to start. But he gave all three runs right back in the bottom of the inning, deflating any momentum that might have been created by a rally from the bottom of the order. He allowed the go ahead run the next inning and that was just about it.
The Cubs offense managed a total of five hits and drew four walks in this game. The third-inning rally accounted for three of the hits. They put together only two hits and three walks the rest of the way and so it was largely a matter of time before the Diamondbacks put it away. So many times we see the Cubs post a bunch of hits but due to poor sequencing very few runs. This was just the opposite. They did a very good job of sequencing what they did get all into three batters in the third inning. That allowed them to score three on a night when the offense was by and large stifled.
The schedule is finally starting to let up a bit on this team. They are going to face some teams that are less overpowering. We’ll see if the Cubs can turn that into some wins and some confidence. If they don’t put together a hot streak and soon, then as the calendar creeps towards and into June, it’s going to be a month of waiting to see who is traded and what the return might be.
Let’s try to find three positives from Friday’s game.
- Vargas. I have to give him the top spot given that he contribute to all of the scoring.
- Frank Schwindel. Two hits for Frank. If only that long fly in San Diego had a few more feet, this would be quite the feel good trip after a horrible start to the season.
- Conner Menez. I have to admit to not having seen the move to acquire him, or the one bringing him to the team. But he threw a scoreless inning in his debut.
With that, we move onto the Heroes and Goats from last night’s game.
Game 31, May 13: Diamondbacks 4, Cubs 3 (11-20)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Ildemaro Vargas (.070). 1-3, 3B, 2RBI
- Hero: Ian Happ (.054). 0-2, 2BB
- Sidekick: Chris Martin (.031). ⅓ IP (1 batter), K
- Billy Goat: Alfonso Rivas (-.250). 0-4, K
- Goat: Jason Heyward (-.160). 1-4, 2B, R, DP
- Kid: Drew Smyly (-.149). 6IP (28 batters), 10H, BB, 4R, 7K, WP (L 1-4)
WPA Play of the Game: The one scoring opportunity the Cubs had after the first inning was in the eighth when they used an error and two walks to load the bases for Alfonso Rivas. They were trailing by one with two outs at the time. Rivas flied to short center and that ended the scoring chance. (.176)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Vargas’ two-run triple with no outs in the third gave the Cubs a lead and set up the third run. (.148)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave your suggestion in the 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 +14
- Willson Contreras +9.5
- Scott Effross +9
- Frank Schwindel -7
- Yan Gomes -9
- Jason Heyward -11
Up Next: In game two of the three-game set, Kyle Hendricks (2-3, 4.38) takes the hill. Kyle was magnificent last time out. He’ll face Zac Gallen (2-0, 0.95) who has been fantastic in five starts this year. He’s been largely unhittable, allowing only 16 hits across 28⅓ innings. The only surprising thing in his line is that a pitcher who has been that dominant is still averaging fewer than six innings per start. Still, he’s made the most of what he’s had. This looks like a tough one. Hopefully, the Cubs bats can figure him out a bit tonight and give Kyle something to work with.