If you are following any significant quantity of Cubs baseball then I’m not either the first or the last who will use this next line, in fact, Al used it in his recap. Christopher Morel homered leading off the game and it was pretty much downhill from there. Keegan Thompson has been the brightest star, by just about any measure, on this Cubs team. On Tuesday, Keegan got hammered and the Cubs never recovered.
With the loss, the Cubs have dropped back to a season-low 10 games below .500. My brain followed this game unfolding and couldn’t help thinking that the Cubs were getting crushed by one of the worst teams in baseball. Unfortunately, the Cubs are also one of the worst teams in baseball. So it was not completely out of character. That doesn’t make it any less disappointing.
Games like this are exactly why I moved to a three positives format. It is so easy to get down on the team after a lopsided loss like this. But there is a whole team busting its collective butts out there. We’re going to continue to challenge ourselves to find three positive things to say about this one.
- Alec Mills was back and he threw five innings in relief, saving the rest of the bullpen (which also had a day off on Monday and another set for Thursday. Effective out of the pen normally means a bunch of zeroes. Here, throwing in a game that was already lopsided, just providing length is the value.
- Christopher Morel was the only Cub with multiple hits. He had two of them including his first-inning leadoff homer. He also tripled later.
- Willson Contreras is having such an excellent year at the plate that you do not need to attach the caveat of “among catchers.” His offensive season would play at just about any position. He drew a walk and hit a solo homer.
With that, we turn our attention to the Heroes and Goats from last night’s loss.
Game 56, June 7: Orioles 9, Cubs 3
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Christopher Morel (.076). 2-4, HR, 3B, 2RBI, R, K
- Hero: Ian Happ (.053). 1-4, BB, K
- Sidekick: Nico Hoerner (.024). 1-4
- Billy Goat: Keegan Thompson (-0.428). 3IP (16batters), 5H, BB, 7R, K, 2HBP, (L 6-1)
- Goat: Frank Schwindel (-.079). 1-5, 2K
- Kid: Rafael Ortega (-.077) 0-3, K
WPA Play of the Game: The Orioles were leading 2-1 in the second with one out when Jorge Mateo hit a three-run homer, effectively putting the game out of reach. (.184)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Christopher Morel’s homer to lead off the game. (.100)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
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 +13
- Willson Contreras +11.5
- David Robertson +9.5
- Kyle Hendricks -9
- Patrick Wisdom -9.5
- Jason Heyward -13.5
Up Next: The final game of this brief two-game series between these two teams. Marcus Stroman (2-5, 5.32) is scheduled for the Cubs. Marcus has been a much better pitcher on the road than at Wrigley so far this season. He’ll face Jordan Lyles (3-4, 4.50). The Cubs will hope to leave town on the heels of a series split.