Hopefully you all know by now that I love you all. It still makes me shake my head at times. I see about 250 votes in my polls on a weekday. I can see numbers that show me that there are two to three times that many clicks on my page. Whether those are unique users or some of you checking back to participate in the conversation, I appreciate you.
This is a lot of words for me to beat around the bush and tell you that sometimes in a blowout, you sit some of your players for a few innings and give them a shorter day. I’m going to take that privilege with a night game loss ahead of a day game at home. This story necessarily goes up just before the preview for the finale when many of you should be gearing up for the rubber game of the series.
It was a night where everything was a bit off. The pitching was okay but couldn’t come through in key moments. The hitters created some traffic, but couldn’t string together a concerted enough effort to score runs. There was probably one play in the eighth inning off of the bat of Seiya Suzuki that maybe could have turned the game. But, sometimes you have to tip your cap to the other guy. The Padres are pretty good and on this night they were better.
By itself, I’m not bothered about one game against a good team in April. In context, I’m certainly not excited that the Cubs have dropped four of six at home and are guaranteed a losing homestand. If you play baseball on paper, the schedule lightens up for the next couple of weeks.
Proceed with caution playing baseball on paper where the MLB is concerned. It is a sport famous for dashing dreams of a hot streak against weaker teams. But, solely going off of the standings that exist on April 26, it will be May 12 before the Cubs see another team with a winning record. It’s certainly entirely possible, though, that either or both of the Cardinals and Marlins come to Wrigley Field over .500 in early May.
Take ’em one at a time and just try to win the next one. I’ll be back after the series finale with a glass half empty/half full look at things with the Cubs.
For now, let’s try to find some positive even in defeat.
- Trey Mancini is the easy choice for the top spot. He had the Cubs’ only two-hit game and one of those two hits was a two-run homer. Trey has been heating up a bit. At 8 for 23 on the homestand and with a double and a pair of homers, he’s started to produce a bit at the plate. Certainly, without much defensive ability to speak of, he needs to be a strong producer at the plate.
- Certainly, I understand the reality of the Iowa shuttle and the players that necessarily go back and forth to help juggle the roster and make it productive well beyond 26 players. Nelson Velázquez has made a heck of a case to stay in the majors and get playing time. He had a double and drew a gutsy walk against Josh Hader. If Hader’s career stays on its trajectory and he’s in Cooperstown one day, that’s an at bat where Nelson can recall a brush with greatness.
- Five of the seven pitchers the Cubs used on Wednesday evening allowed at least one run. Of the two that didn’t, one only faced one hitter. Take those six away and you have the scoreless inning of Brad Boxberger who faced the minimum in his inning of work. I don’t think I’m overstating it if I saying in the early going, the bullpen has been a weakness.
Game 23, April 26: Padres 5, at Cubs 3 (13-10)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Trey Mancini (.172). 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, R
- Hero: Brad Boxberger (.050). IP, 3 batters, K
- Sidekick: Michael Rucker (.038). ⅓ IP, 1 batter
- Billy Goat: Brandon Hughes (-.313). ⅔ IP, 4 batters, H, BB, ER
- Goat: Dansby Swanson (-.139). 0-4, K
- Kid: Seiya Suzuki (-.101). 1-4, R, K
WPA Play of the Game: Trey Mancini batted with two outs and a runner on in the fourth, the Cubs trailing by two. His third homer of the season tied the game. (.245)
*Padres Play of the Game: Jake Cronenworth batted with runners on first and second and two outs in the fourth inning with the game scoreless. He tripled, driving in two. (.237)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Nelson Velazquez (1-3, 2B, BB)
Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
Yesterday’s Player of the Game: Yan Gomes (Superhero is 14-8)
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.
- Justin Steele +10
- Marcus Stroman/Ian Happ/Keegan Thompson +8
- Mark Leiter, Jr. +4.5
- Hayden Wesneski/Luis Torens -4
- Julian Merryweather -4.5
- Yan Gomes -5
- Michael Fulmer -8
Up Next: The third and final game of the series, each team will be looking for the series win. Hayden Wesneski (1-1, 6.23, 17⅓ IP) will start for the Cubs. The rookie right hander is still looking to find some consistency. His only good start of the year came in Oakland on April 17. He was the losing pitcher last time out after allowing three earned in 4⅓ innings against the Dodgers.
The Padres will start right-hander Seth Lugo (2-1, 2.78, 22⅔ IP). The 33-year-old was a 34th round pick by the Mets way back in 2011. He was also a losing pitcher in his last start, though it was a pretty good one. He allowed two runs over six innings in Arizona. He’ll be looking for his first win since April 9. Lugo has made 279 career appearances with a 3.44 ERA. However, this will be only his 43rd lifetime start. Prior to this season, he hadn’t started since 2020.