As fans, we often render psychoanalysis of the players we are watching. No doubt sometimes we are dead on and others we are way off base. I think there has been a general perception that Marcus Stroman has been over amped at home this season. If you followed his social media in the months after he signed with the Cubs, it was plain to see that he was excited to be a Cub and pitch at Wrigley Field.
Is that what has caused his struggles at home this year? Who knows? The Cubs and Stroman aren’t going to give us that kind of insight. Regardless the reason, 2022 for Marcus has been plagued by two things. One, just not enough starts where he was fully healthy and the other is his performance at Wrigley Field. If we are reaching for excuses, it’s not hard to imagine column one impacting column two.
One of the things I will always love about a pitcher like Stroman is that he wasn’t one reaching for a lot of excuses. He’d be the first to tell you that he needed to be better and he’d be one working on it both during starts and between starts. I’ve been disappointed to watch him struggle, but I’ve never worried that we’d see him succeed. He’s too good a pitcher to be kept down if his body is physically healthy.
Here at the end of 2022, Marcus has strung together some strong starts and now he’s added one at Wrigley Field. Hopefully, any demons that popped up over the course of this season have been exercised and he’ll be ready to answer the bell on opening day in 2023. It’s soon to know such things, but I suspect he’s going to be handed the ball for the opener next year.
Marcus is the no brainer for my top star of this game. Seven innings, three hits, two walks and a single run on a solo homer. He also hit two batters. He picks up a well deserved win for his efforts.
My second star is an easy one too. Zach McKinstry continued his odd production. He rarely has a game with only one hit. If he gets a hit, it usually winds up a multi-hit game. In this one, he had a homer and a triple. He scored both runs for the Cubs. The .205/.264/.393 line is still unsightly, but there is definitely progress. If I pull back to August 24, he’s got a line of .250/.291/.558 (wRC+ 130) in 56 plate appearances. I have serious questions about the repeatability of that line, but certainly if it was, that line plays.
For my third star, I give the nod to Manuel Rodriguez. He pitched a perfect ninth inning on the way to his second save of the season. He recorded one strikeout. The question on Rodriguez will always be the same one. He’s walked five hitters in eight innings of work on the season. For a late inning leverage reliever, free passes often come back to haunt.
Now let’s turn our attention to Heroes and Goats and see what WPA says about this win.
Game 144, September 16: Cubs 2, Rockies 1 (62-82)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Marcus Stroman (.340). 7IP (27 batters), 3H, 2BB, R, 5K, 2HBP (W 4-7)
- Hero: Manuel Rodriguez (.160). IP (3 batters), K (Sv 2)
- Sidekick: Zach McKinstry (.158). 2-4, HR, 3B, RBI, 2R, K
- Billy Goat: Jared Young (-.098). 1-4, 2B, K
- Goat: Yan Gomes (-.096). 0-4, K, DP
- Kid: Michael Hermosillo (-.083). 0-4, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: With a runner on first and one out in the eighth inning, the Cubs were leading by one. Brandon Hughes faced C.J. Cron and coaxed a ground ball that turned into an inning ending double play. (.126)
*Rockies Play of the Game: Ryan McMahon’s two-out homer in the sixth cut the Cubs lead in half. (.110)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments below)
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 +10.5
- Daniel Norris/Frank Schwindel -9.5
- Rowan Wick -10.5
- Rafael Ortega -11.5
- Yan Gomes -13
- Jason Heyward -15.5
Up Next: After two piggyback relief appearances, Hayden Wesneski (1-1, 3.12) will make his first major league start. His opponent will be Jose Ureña (3-6, 5.81).