Tuesday night, the Cubs found enough healthy players to win a game. It wasn’t pretty, but they did squeak one out. With four wins and a couple of close losses, the Cubs have hung in against the Brewers surprisingly well so far in 2022. I guess if you can’t actually compete to win the division, at least be annoying?
Realistically, there are one or two divisions every year that are decided by one team crushing a bottom tier team in its division while their nearest rival struggles against that team. Certainly the Brewers are capable of winning all or most of the remaining games between the two teams, but they haven’t been able to will their way to rolling over on the Cubs to date.
On Tuesday, it was largely the bats carrying the team to victory. They pounded out 12 hits (three of them left the yard) and drew five walks on their way to plating seven runs. The pitching wasn’t very effective, but credit to Mychal Givens and David Robertson for shutting the door after the Brewers had tied the game 7-7. That gave the offense their chance to shine.
Let’s look at three positives from Tuesday’s win.
- Patrick Wisdom was one of three Cubs with two hits and he also drew a walk. But the big blow was his eighth-inning homer that gave the Cubs the lead for good. This will not be the last time this is mentioned.
- P.J. Higgins. After Victor Caratini’s three-run homer in the sixth put the Brewers a 6-3 lead, it felt like the usual descent into loss. But then Nick Madrigal started the bottom of the inning with a single and PJ homered for a second straight day.
- With a hat tip to the back of the bullpen guys who shut this one down, I’m going three for three on the home run guys. Willson Contreras also went deep for a second consecutive game. With a line of .264/.387/.486 (wRC+ 148), Willson continues to be one of (if not the) most productive catchers in baseball. Should the Cubs elect to trade him, he should be one of the most valuable pieces on the market.
With that, we turn our attention to the Heroes and Goats from Tuesday’s win.
Game 49, May 31: Cubs 8, Brewers 7 (20-29)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Patrick Wisdom (.226). 2-4, HR, BB, RBI, R, K
- Hero: Mychal Givens (.196). 1⅓ IP (4 batters), K (W 4-0)
- Sidekick: Andrelton Simmons (.171). 1-2, RBI, R, K
- Billy Goat: Rowan Wick (-.340). IP (6 batters), 2H, 3R, K, HBP
- Goat: Brandon Hughes (-.194). ⅔ IP (5 batters), 2H, BB, R, K
- Kid: Nico Hoerner (-.118). 0-5, K
WPA Play of the Game: Victor Caratini’s three-run homer off of Rowan Wick with two out in the sixth broke a 3-3 tie.
*Cubs Play of the Game: Patrick Wisdom’s eighth inning solo homer produced a little less WPA, but it did propel the Cubs to victory. (.292)
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.
- Willson Contreras +14.5
- Nico Hoerner +14
- Keegan Thompson +10
- Yan Gomes -6
- Kyle Hendricks -9
- Jason Heyward -11.5
Up Next: The fourth and final game of this series is Wednesday night at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks (2-5, 5.20) has had a few very good starts and a few very bad starts. Traditionally, Kyle gets better as the pages flip off the calendar. Hopefully, June sees him head in a positive direction. The Brewers counter with Jason Alexander, who will be making his first major league start. He’s been very effective for the Brewers Triple-A affiliate. Still, it doesn’t feel impossible that the Cubs could steal a series split.