I did some digging Friday night while I was writing this, but I came up empty. I can certainly remember seeing games that were won with only two hits, both being homers. For the Cubs, that hadn’t been done since 1985. But two hits and both are two-run homers? That has got to be a singularly small slice of baseball history.
Such was the feat of Ian Happ. Spoiler alert, he’s taking all of the top spots in this one. Ian homered in the seventh to break up a Brewers no-hit bid and give the Cubs a 2-1 lead. He homered in the 10th to give them a 4-2 lead. That’s pretty awesome stuff. With a bit of a late season surge, he is up to a line of .280/.353/.463 (wRC+ 127). Even before the two homer game, he was sitting at fWAR of 2.7, the highest mark of his career. And that’s the thing, Ian is arguably having the best season of his career.
Ian gets most of the credit in this one, but he can’t have all of it. Justin Steele got things started off well with 5⅓ innings of one run ball before leaving with low back soreness. Justin is really coming into his own. Let’s hope this injury doesn’t linger. Erich Uelmen faced five batters and retired them all. Sean Newcomb faced two batters and retired both of them.
That basically covers our three positives in this win. Nothing from the offense outside of Ian.
- Ian Happ - Two homers
- Justin Steele - 22 batters and 16 outs, one run
- Erich Uelmen - five batters, five outs
And now, we move to Heroes and Goats from Friday night’s Happ-powered win.
Game 126, August 26: Cubs 4 at Brewers 3 (55-71)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Ian Happ (.476). 2-4, 2HR, 4RBI, 2R
This is the fifth highest WPA game score by a Cub this season
- Hero: Sean Newcomb (.208). ⅔ IP (2 batters) - (W 2-0)
- Sidekick: Manuel Rodriguez (.198). IP (5 batters), 2H, BB, R (0ER), K, WP (Sv 1)
- Billy Goat: Brandon Hughes (-.296). IP (5 batters), H, BB, R, 3K
- Goat: Nico Hoerner (-.112). 0-4, CS
- Kid: Mark Leiter, Jr (-.071). ⅓ IP (3 batters), BB
WPA Play of the Game: With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the tenth, the Brewers trailed the Cubs by one run. Manuel Rodriguez induced a double play ball off the bat of Jace Peterson and the Cubs were winners. (.536)
*Brewers Play of the Game: Rowdy Telez hit a homer leading off the ninth against Brandon Hughes to tie the game at 2-2. (.437)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Erich Uelmen (5 batters, 5 outs)
Somebody 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.
- David Robertson +22.5
- Nico Hoerner +17.5
- Scott Effross +17
- Christopher Morel +16
- Patrick Wisdom +13.5
- Daniel Norris/Frank Schwindel -9.5
- Yan Gomes -13
- Jason Heyward -15.5
- Rafael Ortega -16.5
Up Next: Game two of the three-game set. Drew Smyly (5-7, 3.47) for the Cubs and Brandon Woodruff (9-3, 3.51). Woodruff is a tough customer, but the Cubs are seeing him for the second time in less than a week and third time this season. Let’s see if that helps them at all.