Saturday, what most of us have known or at least suspected most or all year long. The Cubs cannot and will not finish with a winning record. They lost their 81st game Saturday. With 23 games left, it’s reasonable to guess that 92 losses are very much in play (11-12 the remainder of the way) and that 95 losses (9-14 or worse) is a very real possibility.
It looked for a while like this team had turned a corner. But the losses are once again mounting. On August 20, the Cubs had reached 52-67, just 15 games under .500. The Cubs are 6-14 in the 20 games since then. Once again, they seem just overmatched all too often. Even in some games on this homestand against teams like the Reds and Giants who are also just playing out the string. In other games, they had some production in one phase of the game only to be let down in other phases.
Saturday, the bullpen was pretty decent. Three Cubs pitchers combined to allow one run on four hits and a walk over five innings. You never want your bullpen to have to throw five innings, but if they do, you have to take that result. We’re generally very happy as fans of starters if the allow one run every three innings.
Unfortunately, the offense was inept. Just seven hits and one walk isn’t going to win a ton of games. Thanks to a pair of doubles and a triple, they did manage two runs, but again, that’s not the kind of output that wins a ton of games. And that is especially true when the starter allows four runs in just four innings of work. It all adds up to not good enough.
On the positive side, we start with Ian Happ. Ian had a pair of doubles and the only run driven in for the Cubs on the day. Al’s been covering the developing story that is the 38 doubles by Ian Happ this year. He’s on his way to a 40-plus double season.
Alfonso Rivas also had a pair of hits. One of his was a triple, after which he scored a run. Even with the good night at the plate, he’s only got a wRC+ of 89. At a key offensive position like first, even with strong glove work, that’s just not good enough.
When I’m highlighting a reliever, it’s usually going to be a perfect inning. But I can certainly make an exception when he needs only 10 batters to record nine outs. He also struck out three in three innings of work.
Let’s turn our attention now to the Heroes and Goats from Saturday’s loss.
Game 139, September 10: Giants 5 at Cubs 2 (58-81)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Alfonso Rivas (.116). 2-4, 3B, R, K
- Hero: Sean Newcomb (.109). 3IP (10 batters), H, 3K
- Sidekick: Ian Happ (.101). 2-4, 2-2B, RBI, K
- Billy Goat: Marcus Stroman (-.236). 4IP (20 batters), 7H, BB, 4R, 4K, WP, BK (L 3-7)
- Goat: P.J. Higgins (-.162). 0-4, K
- Kid: Seiya Suzuki (-.091). 0-4, K
WPA Play of the Game: The Giants were leading 2-1 in the second when Joey Bart took Marcus Stroman deep, giving the Giants all of the runs they needed. (.169)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Ian Happ doubled with a runner on second with two outs in the first. The run scored and the Cubs had the game’s first run. (.102)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Somebody else (leave your suggestion in the commants)
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 +14
- Patrick Wisdom +13.5
- Daniel Norris/Frank Schwindel -9.5
- Rowan Wick -10.5
- Yan Gomes -13
- Jason Heyward/Rafael Ortega -15.5
Up Next: The third and final game of the series, the seventh and final game of the season between these two teams. The Giants have already won four and therefore the season series, but the Cubs can still win this series. Wade Miley (1-0, 3.13) will make his second start since coming off of the injured list. Of course, his last start was notable due to the relief work of Hayden Wesneski. That could be a side story in this one. The Giants will start John Brebbia (6-1, 2.93), who’s a reliever likely serving as an opener.