This one is going to be a tough one to write up. There are a few really good reasons. First, this game was played by two teams very much just playing out the string. Second, this one got lopsided relatively early and then stayed that way. As the season wears on, it becomes increasingly difficult to find things to write about on a night where the Cubs were just not competitive. Fortunately, there haven’t been all that many of these in the second half.
But particularly for Heroes and Goats, this one is harder than usual to write. Spoiler alert! (seriously, the photo is a spoiler 100 percent of the time, it is always the Superhero) Christopher Morel was the Superhero in this game. In a game that the Cubs lost 10-3, a player who hit a home run has a very decent chance of being Superhero. Obviously, you don’t expect the pitching staff to generate much, if any, WPA. In this one, the pitching staff combined for a -.490 WPA. The largest pitching score was .033 by Jeremiah Estrada. So check and check. None of the five pitchers who worked in this game made the Hero podium.
So that leaves the nine hitters who were utilized in this one. They created a combined -.010 which should be obvious. The Cubs lost and so the two sides of the ball should combine for a -.500 WPA. So that leaves us with Christopher Morel who hit a homer for the first run of the game. So we’re filling out the puzzle. The Cubs had the lead and then lost it. A lead change is going to lead to a pitcher with a negative WPA. That turned out to be Wade Miley at -.518. That’s the fifth worst game score by a Cub this year.
If you watched the game, you’ll probably know exactly what the Heroes and Goats related issue is in this one. Morel hits the homer to give the Cubs the lead. The Rockies third inning went strikeout, homer, error, hit by pitch, line out. So what do we have here? Despite the homer, the Cubs should have departed this inning with a 2-1 lead. Alas, the error and the subsequent hit by pitch resulted in two runners on that grew to three and then led to a grand slam.
So our Superhero is really the goat of this game. The fourth inning went walk, single, single, wild pitch, walk, walk. Two more runs were plated and before that sequence was over, Wade Miley was gone. He flat lost it in this one, but does any of that happen without the ugly third inning that sprung out of the error and unearned runs in the third? We can’t know, but we can certainly suspect.
The Cubs did add one in the fifth, but it was already too late and then the Marlins added one in the seventh and two in the eighth to really put this one out of reach. Quite the ugly loss for the Cubs and the Superhero just wasn’t very Super in this one.
So then, what do I do for my three stars of this one? I’m going with Zach McKinstry. I’m still not happy that he’s ever been used in the leadoff spot. But, I see you Zach. You are definitely causing pause for me. With Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal a part of the future of this club and the ability of Christopher Morel and some intriguing middle infield prospects on the way, I still question the role McKinstry could possibly play. But, I do recognize that he’s finishing the season with a bit of a flurry. He added a single, a double, a hit by pitch, a run and a run batted in to his ledger Monday night. It was his fifth multi-hit game since August 31 and seventh as a Cub. The overall numbers remain horrific, but the trendline is upwards. If for no other reason than the world’s lowest bar, he is showing improvement.
In my second spot, I’m going with Erich Uelmen. Uelmen’s season line shows a pedestrian 4.76 ERA (4.87 FIP that suggests the first number isn’t a fluke). However, it is notable that his season includes two horrific outings in Toronto. That accounted for six earned runs he allowed (in only 1⅔ innings) on the season. Two outings or seven days later, he allowed two runs in an inning of work. Those are the only three outings this season in which he has allowed multiple runs. This was his fourth perfect outing of the year (including two longer than one inning) and 15th in which he was not scored upon. Erich’s got work to do, but he could certainly grow into a dependable reliever.
I’m also going to credit with my third star, fellow reliever Jeremiah Estrada. Making only his fifth major league appearance, he recorded his longest outing at two innings. It was his third scoreless outing in five tries. He did allow a hit and a walk, but struck out four of the eight batters he faced. For a young guy trying to establish himself at the big league level, this was an excellent outing.
Now let’s take a look at what WPA had to say about this one as we look at the Heroes and the Goats from Monday’s lopsided loss.
Game 147, September 19: Marlins 10, Cubs 3 (62-85)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Christopher Morel (.095). 1-3, HR, RBI, R, BB
- Hero: Ian Happ (.075). 1-5, 2B, RBI, 2K
- Sidekick: David Bote (.057). 1-3, HBP, K
- Billy Goat: Wade Miley (-.518). 3IP (20 batters), 7H, 2BB, 7R (3ER), 2K, HBP, WP (L 1-1)
- Goat: Nelson Velazquez (-.144). 0-4, 2K
- Kid: P.J. Higgins (-.079). 0-3, BB, DP
WPA Play of the Game: With two outs and the bases loaded in the third inning, Bryan De La Cruz hit a grand slam, giving the Marlins a 5-2 lead. (.376)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Christopher Morel’s solo homer with two outs in the third produced the game’s first run. (.126)
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 +16
- Justin Steele/Willson Contreras/Drew Smyly +10
- Daniel Norris/Frank Schwindel -9.5
- Rowan Wick -10.5
- Rafael Ortega -11.5
- Jason Heyward -15.5
Up Next: Game two of the three-game series Tuesday night. Adrian Sampson (2-5, 3.48) will start for the Cubs. Pablo Lopez (9-10, 3.99) starts for the Marlins, looking to become a 10-game winner.