On Saturday night, the Cubs matched their season high by winning their fourth straight game. Some things you can see coming and some you really can’t. To my eye, the Cubs have been playing better of late. I have zero surprise that the Cubs have hung in there against a Red Sox team that, despite a very good record, just doesn’t appear to be a world beater. But I’m beyond shocked that they won those two games.
I’d have figured the Cubs would maybe have played two of those games that were a one-run game in the sixth but ended up a four- or five-run loss. Then if you doubled down and told me that Friday’s starter would get knocked around in the first two innings, down four after the top of the second, that just has to be a loss. And then on Saturday, your starter lasts two batters? No way that’s a win.
This is some pretty crazy stuff. But on top of that, with David Robertson saving the first two games, and your bullpen having to string together 8⅔ innings on Saturday, you’d have to figure the bullpen would be completely blown out heading into Sunday, right? Wrong. Thanks to a stellar performance by Mark Leiter Jr., the Cubs bullpen wasn’t used hard on Saturday. Mychal Givens and David Robertson were the only other relievers called on for this one. Pretty crazy. The Cubs bullpen is rested for the most part and ready to back up Keegan Thompson should a winnable game emerge.
You’d have to have gotten pretty long odds coming into the series that the Cubs could sweep, but at this point that outcome isn’t farfetched. Don’t get me wrong, they’ll likely lose. But they are not going to be heavy underdogs heading into Sunday afternoon’s finale.
The sad part is that good baseball broke out so late, that this really doesn’t matter. The Cubs would have to be able to win another 10 or more consecutively to even begin to make things interesting. We can only hope for two things. 1) That the tradable pieces on this team are enhancing their value and 2) that the young developing players are getting valuable on the job experience, now in competitive games.
With a quick turnaround to Sunday’s afternoon game, let’s get to the three positives of Saturday’s game.
- Mark Leiter Jr. has to get the top spot. It took him only 18 batters to record 16 outs He did allow three hits and a walk, but struck out five.
- Mychal Givens faced six batters and retired them all.
- Patrick Wisdom had a pair of hits, scored a run and drove in another. He also stole a base.
And now we take a look at the Heroes and Goats from Saturday’s win.
Game 78, June 2: Cubs 3, Red Sox 1 (32-46)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Mark Leiter Jr. (.234). 5⅓ IP (18 batters), 3H, BB, R, 5K (W 2-2)
- Hero: Mychal Givens (.210). 2IP (6 batters)
- Sidekick: David Robertson (.104). 1⅓ IP (6 batters), H, BB, 2K (Sv 11)
- Billy Goat: Willson Contreras (-.085). 1-4, DP
- Goat: Yan Gomes (-.054). 0-3
- Kid: Ian Happ (-.028).1-4, 3K
WPA Play of the Game: The Cubs were winning 2-0 in the sixth inning and the Red Sox had runners on first and third with nobody out. Rafael Devers was facing Leiter when he hit the ball right back to Leiter. The Cubs turned a double play. The Red Sox cut the lead to one, but the bases were cleared. (.122)
*Red Sox Play of the Game: Right before the key double play, Jarren Duran singled with a runner on second with no outs setting up an excellent scoring opportunity. (.098)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Mark Leiter, Jr.
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 +17.5
- Christopher Morel +14
- Daniel Norris -7.5
- Yan Gomes -15
- Jason Heyward -16.5
Up Next: The third and final game of the season and series against the Red Sox. Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.34) will start for the Cubs. Connor Seabold will get the start for Boston.