What if a corner is already being turned? I know, I know. It’s the Reds. They started the season looking like they could challenge history in a bad way. For a while they tread water and then they appear to be collapsing again. A team that didn’t appear to have a whole lot to begin with traded pieces away at the trade deadline.
So I get it. Before the Reds, it was the Nationals. In fact, it will be the Nationals again Monday through Wednesday. I get that these teams were gutted over the last few years. They appear to both be several years from fielding competitive squads. But are the Cubs? Are they years away?
Sixty-three games into the season, the Cubs were 17 games under .500. 49 games later, they are 18 under, so that’s one game under .500 over a 49-game stretch. To narrow it further, they were 23 games under .500 after 91 games. They are 13-8 since then. The Cubs are 5-27 against the collection of the Dodgers, Yankees, Orioles, Padres, White Sox and Giants. At least three of those teams are heading to the postseason and the other three are hanging around.
So this team has already figured out some of the “beating teams you are supposed to beat” and a little bit of hanging around in the other games. For about two months now, the Cubs have generally been competitive even when they’ve lost. I spent time here being critical of both David Ross and the collective front office. So now I’m giving credit, they really course corrected with this team.
I’ll leave it right where I started: What if the corner has already been turned?
Let’s talk positives from Saturday’s win.
- Ian Happ had a pair of hits including a homer and drove in four. Even after going through a bit of a slump Ian carries a line of .278/.356/.434 (wRC+ 116) and has been worth 2.6 fWAR.
- Franmil Reyes had a couple of more hits including his first homer as a Cub. When the Cubs picked up Reyes, I had to wonder exactly how the Guardians gave up on Reyes. I don’t know how a small market team can let go a talent like that, even in a down year. Obviously, they are hoping to nab an AL Central crown, still just odd to me. Reyes is a potentially huge pickup.
- Willson Contreras’ homer was late after the game was pretty well in hand, but even before that he had a hit and a walk. He scored twice.
And now, we turn our attention to Heroes and Goats from Saturday’s win.
Game 112, August 13: Cubs 7 at Reds 2 (47-65)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Sean Newcomb (.300). 2IP (8 batters), 2BB, 5K (W 1-0)
- Hero: Ian Happ (.252). 2-5, HR, 4RBI, R, K
- Sidekick: Franmil Reyes (.199). 2-4, HR, 2RBI, R, K
- Billy Goat: Adrian Sampson (-.143). 4IP (21 batters), 6H, 3BB, 2R, 6K
- Goat: Zach McKinstry (-.118). 0-4, K
- Kid: Seiya Suzuki (-.077). 0-5, R, K, DP
WPA Play of the Game: Franmil Reyes homered with a runner on first in the fourth inning, giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. (.209)
*Reds Play of the Game: Kyle Farmer singled with runners on first and second with no outs in the fifth, a run scored and cut the Cubs lead to 3-2. (.124)
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 5/Bottom 5)
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 +23.5
- David Robertson +22.5
- Scott Effross +17
- Christopher Morel +15
- Patrick Wisdom +10.5
- Daniel Norris/Frank Schwindel -9.5
- Yan Gomes -13
- Rafael Ortega/Jason Heyward -15.5
Up Next: The third and final game of this series Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati. Keegan Thompson (9-5, 3.35) has been the Cubs’ most consistent pitcher. He will seek his 10th win of the season. Justin Dunn (0-1, 5.75) is making his second start of the season and second start as a Red after making 25 starts over three years for the Mariners.