When you write or even talk about baseball a lot, you end up making predictions that you’d never otherwise make. Objectively, looking at a series in Milwaukee in 2022 for the Cubs, I’d have to give you this analysis before the series began. The math points to three wins for the Brewers. Sweeping a team is hard, plus Kyle Hendricks has pitched better of late, so maybe the Cubs steal one. I might even note that they’ve played better of late, so maybe they hang around in these games.
I’d never predict that they would be a blown David Robertson save from a sweep of the series. But I did recently make that comment that undoubtedly there would be a stretch of baseball where this Cubs team would play good to very good baseball. I talked about it in the context of how hard it is to exist at the far extremes in baseball. Everything tends to pull you back to the middle.
And that’s the gravitational pull for the Cubs right now. They probably were a bit worse than would be expected based on talent level over the first 60 games. And so, the proverbial water is finding its level. The Cubs have done a fantastic job in consecutive series against the Red Sox and Brewers. It’s a small sample and thus a bit of an oddity, but they’ve played playoff caliber baseball recently. Of course, the giant hole is that playoff baseball isn’t a few hot weeks, it is being good week in, week out with few exceptions for months.
At this point, all we can do is hope they carry this on for a few weeks or longer and that some of their key young players can gain meaningful experience from this stretch. The Cubs head to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers now for four games. The Dodgers and Yankees are arguably the two best teams in baseball and the Cubs are 0-6 against the two of them. The Cubs are 34-42 against the rest of baseball, a .447 winning percentage of about a 72-win pace. Or you might say, they are who we thought they were otherwise.
A win sure makes it easier to pick three key positive performances, so let’s get right to it.
- I’m going to give the top spot to Adrian Sampson. He faced 20 batters and allowed only four hits and a single run. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out five. Against a team expected to make the playoffs, that’s a top notch performance.
- The Cubs only managed six hits, but two of them were by Alfonso Rivas. He had a double that was one of three Cubs doubles (and a triple) among their six.
- David Robertson threw a perfect ninth inning for the save. An honorable mention to Christopher Morel with a triple, a walk and a key run scored.
With that, we turn our attention to the Heroes and Goats from Wednesday’s win.
Game 82, July 6: Cubs 2 at Brewers 1 (34-48)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: P.J. Higgins (.232). 1-4, 2B, RBI, K
- Hero: David Robertson (.207). IP (3 batters), K (Sv 12)
- Sidekick: Adrian Sampson (.141). 5⅔ IP (20 batters), 4H, R, 5K
- Billy Goat: Nico Hoerner (-.187). 0-4, 2K
- Goat: Ian Happ (-.181). 0-4, K
- Kid: Nelson Velazaquez(-161). 0-4, 4K
WPA Play of the Game: P.J. Higgins had the big hit of the night, a two-out double with a runner on second and score tied against Josh Hader in the ninth inning. (.359)
*Brewers Play of the Game: Keston Hiura’s two-out homer in the fifth broke a scoreless tie. (.155)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Christopher Morel (3B, BB, R)
Someone else (leave suggestion in 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.
- David Robertson +17.5
- Nico Hoerner +13
- Christopher Morel +12
- Daniel Norris -7.5
- Yan Gomes -15
- Jason Heyward -16.5
Up Next: The Cubs head to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers. The Dodgers are 52-29, have won six of their last seven, and are in first place in the NL West. Mark Leiter Jr. (2-2, 4.85) makes the start following his fine relief outing last Saturday. The Dodgers have Tony Gonsolin (10-0, 1.54). Gonsolin is trying to put together a Cy Young season and is off to a fantastic start.