In the first half of the season, the Cubs held their own against the Cardinals, despite the Cards being the far better team. But over the last two months, particularly in St. Louis, the Cubs have been completely overmatched. For the second straight night the Cubs allowed eight runs and for any team that’s a near certain recipe for losing. You just can’t allow that many runs night in and night out.
The offense put up a fight in this one, plating four runs. That isn’t a world beating number, but you are going to be competitive when you score at least four runs. Probably the most frustrating thing about this one was that the Cubs scored three in the top of the first. On the one hand, they had Adam Wainwright on the ropes in the first. On the other, they gave Drew Smyly a comfortable cushion before he ever want on the hill.
Alas, Smyly had one of his worse starts as a Cub and Wainwright battled through four more innings and only allowed one more run. The Cardinals bullpen allowed a single hit and a single walk over the final four innings and only needed 13 batters to record the final 12 outs.
Jeremiah Estrada was the first Cub into the game, inheriting the bases loaded in a 4-3 game. He allowed all three of those runs to score (on a Yadier Molina double) and then allowed one of his own. But, four Cubs relievers combined to hold the Cardinals scoreless over five innings of work.
Amazingly, this game was 8-3 after only three innings and the final score was 8-4. The first three innings looked like this one would be a wild one, but then both bullpens really shut it down.
Even in defeat, we can find some positives. Let’s look at three from Saturday night’s loss.
- Ian Happ had a pair of hits, including a double, and scored two runs.
- Franmil Reyes had a pair of hits and a pair of RBI to go with.
- Rafael Ortega only had three at bats before leaving for a pinch hitter, but managed a pair of hits and a pair of RBI.
Unfortunately, Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal supplied most of the baserunners Friday night, but were both hitless and hit into a double play Saturday. The Cubs hit into four double plays or this one might have been a different game.
Let’s take a look at the Heroes and Goats from Saturday’s loss.
Game 133, September 3: Cardinals 8, Cubs 4 (56-77)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Rafael Ortega (.158). 2-3, 2RBI
- Hero: Franmil Reyes (.089). 2-4, 2RBI, DP
- Sidekick: Ian Happ (.040). 2-3, 2B, 2R, HBP
- Billy Goat: Drew Smyly (-.429). 2⅓ IP (15 batters), 5H, 3BB, 7R, 3K (L 5-8)
- Goat: Jeremiah Estrada (-.170). ⅔ IP (4 batters), H, BB, R
- Kid: Nico Hoerner (-.103). 0-4, R, SB, DP
WPA Play of the Game: Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run homer in the first off of Drew Smyly came with one out and cut the Cardinals deficit to one. (.164)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Rafael Ortega’s two-out, two-run single in the first inning off of Adam Wainwright to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. (.152)
-Yadier Molina’s bases-clearing double may have been the big blow of the game, but was worth .150. The big difference is that with the bases loaded and one out, the win expectancy had already been tilting towards the Cardinals even before Molina’s double.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
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
- Scott Effross +17
- Nico Hoerner +16.5
- Christopher Morel +15
- Patrick Wisdom +13.5
- Daniel Norris/Frank Schwindel/Rowan Wick -9.5
- Yan Gomes -12
- Rafael Ortega -13.5
- Jason Heyward -15.5
*Nico Hoerner continues to slip. There is plenty of time left, but it’s starting to look less likely that he (or Christopher Morel) will chase down David Robertson for the Rizzo Award.
Up Next: The final game of the season series between these two teams. The Cardinals will look for their 13th win of the season over the Cubs. The next closest team, the Brewers, has nine wins against the Cubs, though the Pirates and Reds can both still enter the conversation over the final weeks of the season.
Marcus Stroman (3-6, 3.98) will be looking to finish a tough season with a strong September. Miles Mikolas (10-10, 3.48) will oppose him for the Cardinals.