Saturday night in Los Angeles was another one of those frustrating ones for the Cubs. They have lost all six games to the Dodgers. The Dodgers systematically dismantled the Cubs in dominating a three-game set in Wrigley Field earlier this year. And now in this one, the Cubs have led in all three games only to have their bullpen falter late. You can take your pick of which of the three games in this series was most frustrating.
As baseball fans, we seem to have a pretty innate awareness that hitters pile on their numbers against lesser pitchers. Oh, you might have a big game against one of the Cy Young contenders. But by and large, you pile up your numbers against back of the rotation guys and middle relievers. The back end relievers and the front end starters tend to dominate everyone.
People seem to have less awareness that pitchers do a similar thing. They tend to pile up their good numbers against the worst teams. That isn’t to say that they might not have a clunker against a bad team. They also allow the majority of their damage to the better teams. Though they may turn in a strong outing occasionally against one of those better teams. The effect can be less pronounced, but it exists.
So it isn’t particularly surprising when guys like Scott Effross and Rowan Wick get roughed up a little bit (or a lot) by the Dodgers. Effross was able to work through his inning. But Wick wasn’t able to find three outs against seven Dodgers hitters. Though two runs isn’t exactly out of this world support, Wick’s inning was clearly where this one flushed down the drain.
Even in defeat, we can find three positives.
- Marcus Stroman returned from the injured list. Considering missed time and the opposition, he was excellent, needing only 15 batters to get through four scoreless innings against one of the best teams in baseball. Definitely the kind of time when you wonder what might have been had this team been healthy this year.
- Seiya Suzuki had a pair of hits and scored a run. Seiya is another one of the players who Cubs fans were dreaming on when the season started who have missed a not insignificant amount of playing time to injury. But he’s looked good so far in his return.
- Nico Hoerner just keeps hitting. He had a double against a dominant Clayton Kershaw and also hit a ground ball that turned into an error and a run. It has felt to me all year like Nico is an ascending star. Successful at bats against a Kershaw add to a growing resume.
Let’s take a look at the Heroes and Goats from Saturday’s loss.
Game 85, July 9: Dodgers 4, Cubs 2 (34-51)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Patrick Wisdom (.226). 1-3, 2B, BB, R, SB, 2K
- Hero: Marcus Stroman (.209). 4IP (15 batters), 2H, BB, 3K
- Sidekick: Nico Hoerner (.184). 1-4, 2B, K
- Billy Goat: Rowan Wick (-.542). ⅔ IP (7 batters), 5H, 3R
*This is the second worst WPA game score of the year by a Cubs player.
- Goat: Ian Happ (-.188). 0-4, 2K, DP
- Kid: Scott Effross (-.117). IP (5 batters), 2H, R, K
WPA Play of the Game: With the score tied at two in the seventh inning, Freddie Freeman batted with the bases loaded and two outs. You just knew he’d deliver and he did with what turned out to be a game-winning, two-run single
*Cubs Play of the Game: With no outs and a runner on first in a scoreless fifth inning, Nico Hoerner hit a ground rule double. (.140)
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.
- Christopher Morel/Nico Hoerner +15
- David Robertson +14.5
- Daniel Norris/Rowan Wick -7.5
- Jason Heyward -16.5
- Yan Gomes -17
Up Next: The fourth and final game of the series and the seventh and final game of the season series. The Cubs will activate Drew Smyly from the injured list as they look to win one game in the season series. Julio Urias will go for the Dodgers.