Who knows if things might have gone differently if Adrian Sampson hadn’t been pulled from this game early. From what I’ve seen, it appears that they were trying to make sure they could replace Sampson on the roster when they go to Toronto. That’s an odd piece of maneuvering. Sampson has been starting. After starting on Sunday, you wouldn’t expect him to be available Monday through Wednesday. Of course, there is a loophole that allows them to look at a couple of players, in a season that is much more about player development than winning, I get it.
It does feel like a little baseball karma for getting cute with the roster though. Sean Newcomb didn’t have it and got rocked. I certainly liked the move to bring Sean in and give him an opportunity to work through some things. It just doesn’t feel like it is working out. I’m certainly going to be fine if you want to extend a non-roster invitation to spring training in case he doesn’t get a better offer somewhere else. We’ve certainly seen situations where a guy seemingly loses it only to find it the next season. It’s been since 2018 now that Sean last had a full, productive season. The odds of regaining diminish considerably. This is already his age-29 season.
Aside from Newcomb blowing up, the game actually went quite well for the Cubs. They scored seven runs against three Brewers pitchers (two other Brewers pitchers threw scoreless innings). The pitchers other than Newcomb threw seven innings and allowed three runs. That’s just slightly better than the textbook definition of a quality start. Though a large part of the point of the quality start metric is that one player do it, obviously.
Certainly, this time of the year can really start to feel like you are playing out the string and just waiting for the season to end. So this one gets a bit of the tip of the cap, not only did the Cubs plate seven runs, but they came from behind after being down 9-4 after six innings. It’s real easy to mail it in when it gets out of hand like that. But this team fought and made it competitive. I’ve been critical of David Ross, so I have to be fair and acknowledge that this team has fought hard down the stretch when they could really be mailing it in.
Three positives from Sunday’s loss:
- Franmil Reyes - double, homer, walk, two runs driven in, two runs scored.
- Nico Hoerner - three hits, one a homer, three runs driven in, run scored
- Ian Happ - two hits, one a double, two runs scored
And now we look at the Heroes and Goats from this one.
Game 128, August 28: Brewers 9, Cubs 7 (55-73)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Nico Hoerner (.287). 3-5, HR, 3RBI, R
- Hero: Seiya Suzuki (.123). 1-3, RBI, R, 2BB
- Sidekick: Adrian Sampson (.082). 3⅓ IP (15 batters), 5H, BB, R, 2K
- Billy Goat: Sean Newcomb (-.624). IP (10 batters), 6H, 2BB, 6R, 2K (L 1-1)
This was the second largest negative WPA performance of the season by a Cub
- Goat: Yan Gomes (-.126). 0-3, RBI, BB, SF, K
- Kid: Willson Contreras (-.085). 0-1, DP
WPA Play of the Game: The Brewers were trailing 2-1 in the fourth with runners on second and third when Sean Newcomb allowed a single against Garrett Mitchell. Two runs scored on the play and Mitchell ended up at second. The Brewers took the lead and never relinquished it. (.164)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Nico Hoerner homered with a man on in the fifth to trim a three-run lead to just one. (.133)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Franmil Reyes (2-4, HR, 2B, 2RBI, 2R, BB)
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 +21.5
- Scott Effross +17
- Christopher Morel +14
- Patrick Wisdom +13.5
- Daniel Norris/Frank Schwindel/Rowan Wick -9.5
- Yan Gomes -15
- Jason Heyward -15.5
- Rafael Ortega -16.5
Up Next: The Cubs travel to Toronto for a three-game set north of the border. The Blue Jays are 68-58 and in third in the AL East. They lost three straight to the Angels in Toronto over the weekend. Even with those three defeats, they maintain a 1½-game lead on their division rival Baltimore Orioles for the third and final wild card slot.
Rookie Javier Assad (0-0, 0.00) makes his second big league start for the Cubs. The Blue Jays will start Jose Berrios (9-5, 5.28). The Blue Jays are a young, dynamic team. This ought to be an interesting series.