This guy’s not going to get Wally Pipp’d. Surgery yesterday, writing today. Sure, my typing a story from the comfort of my desk chair is the same thing players go through. I’m not in game shape to be sure, but I think I can at least string together a few paragraphs. First, thanks to those who wished me well. One of the reasons I continue to write is that I know I entertain some of you. That means a lot to me.
Anyway, we’re here for the baseball right? The Cubs won a game Monday night in New York. They’ve been getting knocked around pretty good lately and so it’s pretty unusual that they went into New York and beat a very good pitcher and a very good team. Chris Bassitt had allowed two homers over his last 11 starts and none in his last eight. So of course, the Cubs hit two of them in the same game Monday night.
One of the reasons the Cubs were able to win this one was my first star of the game. That’s Javier Assad. With a looming decision on keeping him on the 40-man roster over the offseason, Javier over five appearances (four starts) has made that decision pretty easy. No one is overreacting to five late season appearances or even his rapid ascent this season. But, Assad has flashed more than enough to warrant not only that spot on the 40-man, but a legit shot at the opening day rotation. Five hits, three walks and one run over six innings against a very good team is a very good start. Clearly, three walks is a bit of a hiccup and eight runners over five innings certainly can be a recipe for more than one run. The product isn’t finished, but it is shaping up nicely.
Should I write negatively about Zach McKinstry every day? I was less than glowing with my words on him yesterday despite a four-hit game. He followed that game with a two-hit game. One of those was a two-run homer and so yes, Zach is my second star of the game. The OPS has skyrocketed from .499 to .627 in two games. The weirdest thing to me about Zach continues, he has 57 hits in his MLB career and he has 13 multi-hit games. That includes four three-hit games and yesterday’s four-hit game. So, he’s got 31 of those hits as part of multi-hit games and 26 hits in the other 90 games of his career. We all have seen some feast or famine guys, but usually those are weeks long hot and cold stretches. For Zach he is either “on” or “off” game to game. I’ve never noticed a guy quite so stratified.
Rafael Ortega is another guy who has now strung together back-to-back games. He had two more hits last night and one was a solo homer in the second that got the scoring going. Rafael is my third star of the game. For Rafael, in a vacuum and not considering any other players, I’m okay if he is a fourth or fifth outfielder next season. I don’t think he’s good enough to warrant every day play, but as a veteran guy who’s been around and experienced a lot of things and the ability to play decent centerfield, there’s a bit of value there. Outside of the vacuum, it’s hard for me to see that path for Ortega. There are quite a number of big league adjacent prospects pressing for time next year. It’s really going to depend how aggressively the Cubs might push their internal options.
Now we can turn our attention to Heroes and Goats and see if WPA scored this one the way I did.
Game 141, September 12: Cubs 5 at Mets 2 (59-82)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Javier Assad (.192). 6IP (26 batters), 5H, 3BB, R, 6K (W 1-1)
- Hero: Zach McKinstry (.155). 2-4, HR, 2RBI, R
- Sidekick: Rafael Ortega (.150). 2-3, HR, 2RBI, 2R, K
- Billy Goat: Manuel Rodriguez (-.065). ⅓ IP (3 batters), H, BB, K
- Goat: Franmil Reyes (-.045). 0-4, 2K, DP
- Kid: Christopher Morel (-.038). 0-3, 3K
WPA Play of the Game: Zach McKintry’s one-out, two-run homer in the third inning made it 3-0 at the time, effectively all of the runs they’d end up needing. (.179)
*Mets Play of the Game: With runners at first and second in the eighth inning, Daniel Vogelbach drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out and the Mets down 5-1. (.091)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Brandon Hughes (1 2⁄3 IP, H, R - two very key outs with the bases loaded in the eighth, SV 5)
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.
- 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
- Rafael Ortega -11.5
- Yan Gomes -13
- Jason Heyward -15.5
Up Next: Game two of the three-game set. The Cubs will start Adrian Sampson (1-5, 3.76). Sampson is going to find himself in a roster crunch over the offseason. I suspect, he’ll be waived after the end of the season to clear much needed space for prospects in the offseason. But this is already Adrian’s second stint with the Cubs and he provides decent performance as a swingman/shuttle guy. You can never have too much pitching depth, so if Adrian wants to come back here, I’m in favor of that. If he gets a better offer elsewhere, I wish him the best.
Adrian did not get the luck of the draw for opposition in this one — Jacob deGrom (5-1, 1.66). Jacob has struggled to be healthy and on the field this season. He’s had very few struggles otherwise. One of the game’s best pitchers continues to dominate even as he moves into his mid-30s. That deGrom is already in his mid-30s blows my mind.