Sunday night while many of you were watching what appears to have been a pretty good Cubs/Cardinals game, I was attending a game. I was in Normal, Illinois, where the Normal CornBelters were playing the Clinton LumberKings. The two teams play in the Prospect League. The teams are comprised of college players from the area.
Baseball at that level is a totally different experience from MLB. It begins from parking that was like parking in the front row at your local strip mall. From there, it was an $8 ticket, a $5 margarita and general admission seating. We were able to get our choice of seating with plenty of space to get comfortable and watch the game.
My daughter is interning for the team this summer and has put her SportsCom major to good use. She is helping them create a production team for their games. She and the others in her group work on putting together a broadcast, doing the public address work, and playing walk up music. Other things she’s working on with them include a weekly podcast. All in all, a pretty good experience for a 19-year-old college student. She continues to build her repertoire around all aspects of a sports broadcast. She’s already had the excitement of being on the camera for a highlight that made ESPN’s Top 10 (women’s basketball at Bradley), calling hockey and baseball games (for ESPN3) and now getting to see how the front office of a baseball team works.
All right, papa’s humblebrag is over. There was a baseball game played at Wrigley Field and that’s what this section is really about. Let’s dive right in with three positives.
- Justin Steele rightfully earned the Superhero award for this game. Justin is having one of those seasons young pitchers often have. One start he will tantalize you with the excellence he is capable of and in another he just gets hammered. The question always becomes which side does he ultimately land on. Here’s hoping that this is a developmental season on the way to being a serviceable third/fourth starter on a good team.
- The Cubs offense. Adam Wainwright faced 30 Cubs hitters and didn’t strike anyone out. In Wainwright’s long and distinguished career, he’d never had an outing that long without a strikeout. At 40 years old, he isn’t all that he once was, but he’s still a very good pitcher and this was an accomplishment. Of course, there are no magic bullets in baseball. Wainwright lasted seven innings because he was getting good results even without the strikeouts. However, a team that puts the ball in play that much is going to expect pretty decent results.
- P.J. Higgins beats out several for the third spot for me. P.J. had a key RBI double to give the Cubs the lead late. P.J. has more than held his own in emergency duty this year. Were the Cubs to decide to trade a certain catcher in July, I would not be terrified of P.J. as a backup catcher.
With that, we turn our attention to the Heroes and Goats from Sunday night’s loss.
Game 55, June 5: Cardinals 5 at Cubs 3 (23-32)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Justin Steele (.200). 7IP (29 batters), 7H, 3BB, 2R(1ER), K
- Hero: Patrick Wisdom (.120). 2-4, 2-2B, BB, R, SB
- Sidekick: Scott Effross (.108). IP (3 batters), K
- Billy Goat: Clint Frazier (-.200). 0-1, K
- Goat: Rowan Wick (-.195). IP (5 batters), 2H, R
- Sidekick: Frank Schwindel (-.155). 0-3, SF, RBI, K
WPA Play of the Game: Harrison Bader led off the ninth inning with the Cardinals trailing by one. He tripled off of Rowan Wick to set up the tying run. (.303)
*Cubs Play of the Game: PJ Higgins batted with a runner on second with two outs in the eighth, the game tied 2-2. He doubled and gave the Cubs the lead. (.227)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
P.J. Higgins (1-2, 2B, RBI)
Someone else (leave 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
- Kyle Hendricks -9
- Patrick Wisdom -9.5
- Jason Heyward -13.5
Up Next: An off day Monday. On Tuesday, the Cubs travel to Baltimore for a two-game series against the Orioles. Cubs ace Keegan Thompson (6-0, 1.99). Kyle Bradish (1-3, 6.82) is the opponent.