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2023 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 57

An all too predictable result

Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

There isn’t a lot to say about this one. The Cubs have seen a few pitchers with some rough early season numbers who have had long and successful careers. Think Carlos Carrasco and Aaron Nola. Those guys dominated the Cubs. So when I saw Yu Darvish on the schedule and also off to a bit of a sluggish to start to his season, I figured hits would be difficult.

And then I saw a lineup with Miles Mastrobuoni at the top, Edwin Rios and Tucker Barnhart in the lineup, I felt extremely strongly that the Cubs weren’t doing anything in this one. Matt Mervis finally got a chance to play again, only to face a crafty pitcher with what feels like 20 different pitches. Good luck, kid.

To be fair, Mastrobuoni did record one of the two Cubs hits in this one. I can’t say it clearly enough though, if he’s going to play he should be at the bottom of the lineup. Like Tommy La Stella and then Nick Madrigal, he’s shown no pop at the big league level. If he had enough of a body of work, he’d be one of the least productive hitters in MLB.

The game wasn’t close, but you had exactly the kind of situation you don’t want last night. A game where Miles got one more plate appearance than Dansby Swanson did. Fast guy at the top, contact guy second, power hitter fourth. All of that has gone the way of the dodo bird. Those things are relics of baseball history. The best lineups give the best players the most plate appearances.

Of course, this is also true of Tucker Barnhart. Edwin Rios and Matt Mervis have at least shown pop, so their abysmal numbers at least have a chance of rebounding at some point. These lineup when all of those guys in there are just so feeble that it would be near impossible to sustain enough offense to produce runs. Or even to produce pressure.

So this comes down again to the roster not being strong enough. The lineup is noticeably improved this year. It still lacks sustained power threats. But, it does have enough tools to produce runs. But only when basically the full regular lineup plays. There is virtually no depth. So every time the Cubs have to reach to the bench for a day off for players, it gets scary. The long time Cody Bellinger has been out certainly hasn’t helped.

And so, this result looked predictable when Darvish’s name went on the board. Looked certain when the lineup cards came out. And felt over by the time the Padres scored two in the second.

I’ve given some convoluted stats to show various struggles of the lineup and the pitching staff. I’ll keep it simple today. The Cubs haven’t won a game where the other team scored more than two runs since May 10. Before that, it was April 11. When Fernando Tatis Jr. led off the third inning with a homer, it was a pretty safe bet this one was over. It is an immense amount of pressure on this pitching staff that they have been up to the challenge as often as they have.

Let’s try to find three positives on a day where we have a negative score in the Sidekick spot. This isn’t going to be easy.

  1. Dansby Swanson had a hit and a walk. He was the only Cub to reach base twice. Put differently, he accounted for two of the four baserunners the Cubs had in this one.
  2. Miles Mastrobuoni pretty much has to get one of the other two spots by way of having the other hit in this game.
  3. Michael Fulmer gets the third spot. He came into the game with runners on first and second with two outs and got out of the inning. He went out and threw another scoreless inning behind it. Of course, telling the full story, he walked two. But the bar was pretty low here.

Game 57, June 3: Padres 6, Cubs 0 (25-32)

Fangraphs

Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.

THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero: Dansby Swanson (.029). 1-2, BB
  • Hero: Michael Fulmer (.023). 1⅓ IP, 6 batters, 2BB, 2K
  • Sidekick: Miles Mastrobuoni (-.014). 1-4

THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat: Drew Smyly (-.146). 5⅔ IP, 7H, 3BB, 3R, 4K (L 5-3)
  • Goat: Mike Tauchman (-.069). 0-3, 2K
  • Kid: Edwin Rios (-.057). 0-3, 3K

WPA Play of the Game: With the Padres up one in the second inning, Trent Grisham batted with two outs and a runner on third. He doubled and made it to third when Mike Tauchman misplayed the ball in center. (.099)

*Cubs Play of the Game: With two outs and a runner on second in the first inning, Drew Smyly retired Manny Machado to keep the game scoreless. (.032)

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    Dansby Swanson
    (58 votes)
  • 6%
    Michael Fulmer
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Miles Mastrobuoni
    (1 vote)
  • 14%
    Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
    (11 votes)
75 votes total Vote Now

Yesterday’s Winner: Jameson Taillon (Superhero is 39-17)

Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings:

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.

  • Marcus Stroman +16
  • Dansby Swanson +12.5
  • Justin Steele +10
  • Adbert Alzolay +9
  • Mark Leiter Jr. +7.5
  • Michael Fulmer -8
  • Patrick Wisdom -9
  • Nico Hoerner -9.5
  • Jameson Taillon -10
  • Trey Mancini -15

Up Next: The Cubs can still win this series with a Sunday win. Marcus Stroman (5-4, 2.59, 73 IP) starts for the Cubs. He has been remarkably consistent for the Cubs this year. But he’s been even better his last three starts, winning all of them. Over those three starts, he’s thrown 23 innings and allowed only three runs on eight hits and five walks. That’s elite work.

The Padres have lefty Ryan Weathers (1-3, 4.28, 33⅔ IP) going. For Weathers, this will be his ninth appearance and sixth start of the season. His last three have been less good. He’s 0-2 and has allowed 11 runs in 15⅔ innings. The Cubs saw him earlier this year, but that was a relief appearance in which Ryan threw one scoreless inning. The Cubs are 10-6 versus lefties, one of their most favorable splits. I won’t be surprised if the Padres have Weathers only throw a few innings and then get into a pen that hasn’t had to do much work this weekend.