Pardon the brevity today, I’m on the road again. I’m on an 8:45 ET flight back to the Chicago area. Once there, I’ll pick up a moving truck, making one stop in Northwest Indiana and a second in Peoria. Then Thursday morning I set out on a two-day drive in said moving truck to State College, PA, where my oldest daughter will begin her graduate work. I plan to bring you all of the Heroes and Goats over the week, but it is possible that one or more recaps will be later than usual and/or shorter than usual. Time will tell. Thanks for your patience.
On the field, the Cubs won a game Tuesday night by a score of 8-3. That’s the good news. The bad? Kyle Hendricks was only able to throw three innings. There were several reports that his velocity was off, and it was reported he left the game with a shoulder issue. If Kyle can’t get some velocity on his fastball, then his changeup can’t be a deceptive pitch. There has to be a spread between the two pitches and they both have to have some credibility.
A velocity drop after missing some time not long ago is definitely worth some shallow breathing. However, we aren’t going to get into speculation or get ahead of ourselves. Certainly, this bears watching, but there can be all kinds of reasons that don’t involve anything that might be lasting or require time on the injured list. Let’s take a deep breath, let things play out and then see where we are with this.
We circle back to the good news. The Cubs put eight runs on the board against a very good Brewers team. The offense was a balanced attack with seven different Cubs combining for 10 hits and drawing three walks.
Let’s get right into the positives from the win.
- Welcome back to the lineup, Seiya Suzuki! The early returns on Seiya’s season are a mixed bag. But the last two nights, we’ve gotten a glimpse of the kind of player he can be.
- The Cubs bullpen. After only three innings out of Kyle, the Cubs were trailing 2-0 and facing six innings out of the pen. The pen was led by Rowan Wick, who recorded six outs while facing only five batters after inheriting a bases-loaded, no-out situation. Oddly, we tend to not want to credit moral victories on a bad team. But if this team was good, we’d note that Justin Steele pitching into the seventh inning on Monday made it easier for the Cubs to cover six innings out of the pen on Tuesday. The Cubs allowed a single run over six innings of bullpen work.
- Rafael Ortega continues to make contributions. He had a pair of hits and drew a walk. His two-run triple in the sixth inning blew the game wide open.
With that, we turn our attention to the Heroes and Goats from Tuesday’s win.
Game 81, July 5: Cubs 8 at Brewers 2 (33-48)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Rafael Ortega (.192). 2-3, 3B, BB, 2RBI, R, SB
- Hero: Seiya Suzuki (.169). 2-4, HR, 3RBI, R
- Sidekick: Rowan Wick (.115). 2IP (5 batters), K
- Billy Goat: David Bote (-.138). 0-3, K
- Goat: Kyle Hendricks (-.076). 3IP (13 batters), 2H, 2BB, 2R, 4K
- Kid: Nico Hoerner (-.019). 1-5, R
WPA Play of the Game: The big blow for the Cubs was Seiya Suzuki’s two-run homer with one out in the fifth. It broke a 2-2 tie. (.207)
*Brewers Play of the Game: Roddy Tellez continued his season-long power surge with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to put the Brewers on top early. (.123)
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.
We saw an unusually large amount of movement at or near the top of the list from this one. Five of the six point earners in this one are in the top 10 with Justin Steele and Seiya Suzuki sliding into 9th and 10th (Steele +6, Suzuki +4.5).
- Nico Hoerner +16
- David Robertson +15.5
- Christopher Morel +12
- Daniel Norris -7.5
- Yan Gomes -15
- Jason Heyward -16.5
Up Next: The third and final game of the series Wednesday afternoon in Milwaukee. The Cubs continue to hang in against the Brewers, splitting the first 12 games between the two teams. On Wednesday, they can go for the series win and the lead in the season series.
Adrian Sampson (0-0, 3.38) starts for the Cubs. The Brewers counter with Corbin Burnes (7-4, 2.36). The Cubs will have their work cut out for them after playing well in the first two games of the series.