I think if I’m doing this right, I’m supposed to start this out with a joke about the Bears and the Bengals. As if the Bears could score 15 runs.
Since this was a game started by Kyle Hendricks, the good news is that this game wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Kyle worked the first six innings of this one and it was 9-2 after six. Regardless of what outcome you are looking for this July, you wanted to see Kyle continue to show signs this his usual second half surge is in the works. If you are following the early trade rumblings, Kyle’s name is out there. He’s going to be a real interesting one because his existing contract runs beyond that one and may not look like a bargain for next season. My take on trading him would be simple. I’m not swallowing money and I’m not taking a weak package. You are going to trade for him like he’s a star with tons of post season experience or I’m keeping him. I’m not begging anyone to take a guy who is still at least capable of being a mid-rotation guy off of my hands.
The game was lopsided because Patrick Wisdom led a dynamic Cubs offense that put seven runs on the board in the first three innings with Patrick personally driving in five of them. Unsurprisingly, there was a grand slam involved in that as there usually is when you see a guy with that many RBI. He added a second homer on what was quite a night for him at the plate.
But you can’t score 15 runs without
facing a lousy team contributions top to bottom. The Cubs sent 12 different hitters to the plate and seven of them had multiple hits. five of them had multiple runs and four had multiple RBI (largely because Wisdom did so much damages). The oddity for a lopsided game is that the Cubs only drew three walks. Without walks, you need a lot of hits to produce 15 runs. The Cubs had 23 of them. Once again, I’m reminded of the old This Week in Baseball “How About That” tagline.
This game had an abundance of positives, Wisdom and Hendricks could both easily qualify, but let’s go with three different ones.
- Christopher Morel has responded to being moved down in the order. He had a five-hit game. Of the thousands of players that go through Major League Baseball, many of them never reach this plateau. Morel did it in five plate appearances, snazzy and efficient. There was a double, a homer, he drove in two and scored three. Al is correct when he says that it is very possible Mr. Morel is playing his way into some downballot Rookie of the Year support.
- Narcisco Crook got into the game in his Major League debut against the team that originally drafted and developed him. He had three plate appearances and turned that into a pair of hits, a double an RBI and a run scored. He’ll never forget this one.
- So many directions I could go for the last one, but sticking with the “Iowa” Cubs theme, I have to tip the cap to P.J. Higgins. He had his first career three hit game. He had a homer, drove in two and scored two. As will happen for a guy without a lot of playing time, this turbo game boosted his numbers and he now has a line of .304/.371/.536 (wRC+ 151). He’s clearly not that kind of hitter, but I think there was always an impression that his bat might produce at the big league level.
And now, we go to the Heroes and Goats on last night’s win.
Game 76, June 30: Cubs 15, Reds 7 (30-46)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Patrick Wisdom (.276). 3-6, 2HR, 6RBI, 2R, SB, K
- Hero: Kyle Hendricks (.136). 6IP (24 batters), 6H, BB, 2R, 7K (W 4-6)
- Sidekick: Ian Happ (.091). 2-3, BB, R
- Billy Goat: Nico Hoerner (-.064). 3-6, 2R, K
- Goat: Rafael Ortega (-.051). 0-2, BB, SF, RBI, DP
- Kid: Yan Gomes (-.043). 1-4, 2B, RBI, R, HBP
WPA Play of the Game: Patrick Wisdom’s two-out grand slam in the second inning made it 6-0 and the rout was on. (.179)
*Reds Play of the Game: In the bottom of the first with runners on second and third with one out, the Cubs were leading 1-0. Reds starter Graham Ashcraft struck out Nico Hoerner. (.065)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Patrick Wisdom — 2 homer/6 RBI game
Kyle Hendricks — six strong innings
Christopher Morel — five-hit game
Narciso Crook — two-hit MLB debut
P.J. Higgins — first career three-hit game
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 +18
- David Robertson +14.5
- Willson Contreras +13.5
- Daniel Norris -7.5
- Yan Gomes -13
- Jason Heyward -16.5
Up Next: The Boston Red Sox come to town for three games. The Red Sox come in at 43-33 and tied for second in the AL East. The Red Sox will start Rich Hill (4-4, 4.09) and the Cubs will go with Adrian Sampson (0-0, 1.69). I assure you it only feels like Hill was pitching in the majors before Sampson was born. Hill actually debuted in 2005 and Sampson was born in 1991. Hill is another one of those guys who points out how much the win has died for starting pitching. Hill has hung around long enough to pitch in 338 games and he has just 78 wins in his career. That’s despite pitching in five different postseasons including for two teams that lost in the World Series. He’s seen some things.