2022 is shaping up to be a big game of whack-a-mole. Early on, the Cubs were hitting well, but the starting pitching was uneven at best. The starting pitching evened out and the bats tailed off. The starting pitching has bounced back and now the bullpen has become unreliable. The bullpen had been pretty consistent to start the season, but did have a meltdown last weekend. But in Sunday afternoon’s game, the bullpen blew three separate leads. The Cubs led 1-0 in the ninth. 3-1 in the 10th. And 4-3 in the 11th. The White Sox were able to tie it up all three times and then won it in the 12th.
All in all, a frustrating Sunday afternoon game. The sour grapes silver lining is that the Cubs aren’t good. Because they aren’t good, we don’t have to spend too much time sweating the presence of Robert Gsellman in the bullpen. We don’t have to contemplate the diminished effectiveness of David Robertson.
I recognize that for being as cold as it is. But at this point, I feel like the Cubs have two priorities. One is finding opportunities for young players to selectively and intelligently expand their skill set. The other is to find opportunities to showcase those players who might have value on the trade market. Trying to squeeze as much solid play and competitiveness out of this team just doesn’t feel like a high priority.
As I veer into the negative, I’ll try to pull it back. Let’s look at three positives from Sunday’s game.
- Marcus Stroman. Right before he missed time, Marcus had his best start as a Cub. On Sunday, he had another stellar outing. He faced only 27 batters in throwing seven shutout innings.
- Patrick Wisdom reached base three times in five plate appearances. He had a single and drew two walks.
- Rafael Ortega. The offense was largely inept in this game and the bullpen not good, so I have to dig down to a guy who grounded into not one but two double plays. But Ortega had a hit and a walk and stole a base. He also scored a run.
And now, we turn our attention to the Heroes and Goats from Sunday’s loss.
Game 46, May 29: White Sox 5, Cubs 4 (19-27)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Marcus Stroman (.446). 7IP (27 batters), 3H, 2BB, 2K, WP
*This is the best WPA score of the season for a Cubs player. Stroman has two of the three top scores so far.
- Hero: P.J. Higgins (.401). 0-3, BB, Sac, R, K
- Sidekick: Mychal Givens (.134). IP (4 batters), H, K
- Billy Goat: Scott Effross (-.316). IP (6 batters), 2H, BB, 2R (1ER)
- Goat: David Robertson (-.315). IP (5 batters), 2H, R, K, WP
- Kid: Robert Gsellman (-.269). 1⅓ IP (6 batters), 2H, 2R (0ER)
WPA Play of the Game: Jose Abreu batted with runners on first and second with one out, the White Sox down 3-2 in the tenth. He singled and a run scored, tying the game. (.380)
*Cubs Play of the Game: PJ Higgins led off the tenth inning with the bonus runner at second. PJ laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Reynaldo Lopez made an error on the play. Higgins reached safely and Nico Hoerner who had been the bonus runner came all of the way around to score. (.234)
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.
- Nico Hoerner +12
- Willson Contreras +11.5
- Keegan Thompson +10
- Patrick Wisdom -8.5
- Kyle Hendricks -9
- Jason Heyward -11.5
Up Next: The Cubs and Brewers play twice on Monday at Wrigley Field. It is one of those long days at the ballpark. The teams will play at 12:05 p.m. CT with Matt Swarmer making his major league debut as the Cubs deal with both a doubleheader and the loss of Wade Miley to another injury. The second game will see Drew Smyly (2-5, 4.08) start for the Cubs. The Cubs have started another brutal stretch of games (11 games in nine days) with a split on the road. All 11 of these games are to be played in Chicago and all of them are against teams who believe they are squarely in the postseason hunt.