clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 59

The Cubs offer little opposition in a 5-0 loss

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Sadly the picture sums up most of this Cubs loss. A shot of Ian Happ watch Gary Sanchez’ homer sail over the left field wall. It was amusing seeing Sanchez in series for two different teams so close together. You might recall he had a rough game for the Mets against the Cubs on May 23 in which Joe Girardi was particularly hard on the former Yankee star. He looked the part of major league catcher Monday night, catching a shutout and hitting a two-run homer.

This was Kyle Hendricks’ third start back. Calling his results a mixed bag is probably a bit charitable. I’m mindful that he was a historically slow starter. While I always suspected there was something to do with his stuff struggling in cold weather, perhaps there is just something to getting into a groove. Kyle’s probably earned more runway than three starts and pal David Ross is likely to give it to him.

Hendricks did manage to work through six innings. One homer in 15⅓ innings over three starts isn’t egregious. I’m not ready to condemn him to failure for sure. But we, as a fanbase, gave Jameson Taillon a hard time while he struggled and Hayden Wesneski with much better results than Hendricks has had. So it’s fair to be a bit of a critic of these early starts.

To be fair, there was a play that Patrick Wisdom probably makes more often than not that he didn’t make in the third inning that would have saved a run. Even if he just gets a glove on it and eats it, the runner likely wouldn’t have scored and Hendricks escaped one batter later. If that plays is made, Hendricks scores a minimum qualification quality start. That bar is admittedly set low, but certainly it doesn’t represent a terrible start. Building up to six innings matters.

I’ve made it this far with nary a word about the offense. That’s because there essentially wasn’t one. The Cubs offense managed four hits, two hits and four hits ignoring Sunday’s outburst. The offense looks to be in bad need of some little blue pills that get a lot of advertising during sporting events. The lineup simply isn’t potent.

The Padres did a good job of shutting down Dansby Swanson and Seiya Suzuki and that pretty much stifled the Cubs offense. Seiya did have what was probably the hardest hit ball of the Cubs game, but the Padres defense made a nice play and got the out. Miguel Amaya sent one deep to right to end the game.

So this is where we are. Looking for hard hit balls that were turned into outs as bright spots. The offense was stifled in three of the four games in San Diego. The Padres certainly have some very talented pitchers. But most of them are known much more for things they did in years gone by than anything they’ve done this year.

The Cubs jumped on the one young guy who started but got blown away by the three veteran Padres starters. They were fortunate to win one of the games where the offense was stifled. That’s the tragedy for this team if they don’t turn things around. The trio of Marcus Stroman, Justin Steele and Drew Smyly have given the Cubs plenty to work with. All of Hayden Wesneski, Jameson Taillon and Kyle Hendricks have given the Cubs at least one pretty good start.

When your starting pitching can keep you in three or four games every time through the rotation, you have to hope you can win better than half of your games. Unfortunately, that just hasn’t been the case. This team is still not buried, but they’ve blown a real opportunity to be competitive this year. To this point at least. Tomorrow isn’t set in stone.

The best news by far Monday night was that Cody Bellinger is heading to Arizona to get some work in. Hopefully he is ready to return when the Cubs return home next week. The Cubs have sorely missed that bat and that glove in center. When healthy, he still appears capable of being one of the better center fielders in baseball. Codi Heuer should return any day now. I have to wonder if there is any chance that he returns for Javier Assad who labored through two innings on Monday night and struggled to throw strikes.

The Cody/Codi’s could give a lift to this team. With any luck, Justin Steele is back on the field shortly. That would return the Cubs pretty close to full health. They likely need to make at least a little ground up over the next few weeks to stave off trade talks for yet another year.

Let’s try to find three positives even in defeat.

  1. Ian Happ was on base in three of his four plate appearances. The Cubs had only eight baserunners all night, a good chunk of that was Ian. A single and two walks. Ian continues to rank among the top five in all MLB in walks. Even after some rough weeks, his on base percentage remains in the top 20 in all MLB.
  2. Nico Hoerner reached twice with a single and a walk.
  3. Yan Gomes picked up a hit in two at bats before being lifted from the game.

Game 59, June 5: Padres 5, Cubs 0 (26-33)


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


  • Superhero: Ian Happ (.059). 1-2, 2BB
  • Hero: Nico Hoerner (.032). 1-3, BB
  • Sidekick: Yan Gomes (.029). 1-2


  • Billy Goat: Kyle Hendricks (-.225). 6IP, 24 batters faced, 6H, 4R, 4K (L 0-2)
  • Goat: Seiya Suzuki (-.097). 0-4, 2K
  • Kid: Dansby Swanson (-.081). 0-4, 2K

WPA Play of the Game: It was scoreless and there was a runner on first with one out when Gary Sanchez launched one deep to left for a home run. That gave the Padres all of the runs they needed. (.193)

*Cubs Play of the Game: Yan Gomes led off the second inning with a single while the game was still scoreless. (.038)


Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Ian Happ
    (51 votes)
  • 5%
    Nico Hoerner
    (4 votes)
  • 1%
    Yan Gomes
    (1 vote)
  • 18%
    Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
    (13 votes)
69 votes total Vote Now

Yesterday’s Winner: Marcus Stroman (Superhero is 41-17)

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 +19
  • Dansby Swanson +11.5
  • Justin Steele +10
  • Adbert Alzolay +9
  • Mark Leiter Jr. +7.5
  • Nico Hoerner -7.5
  • Michael Fulmer -8
  • Jameson Taillon -10
  • Patrick Wisdom -11
  • Trey Mancini -15

Up Next: The Cubs move up the state a bit and end up in Anaheim to face the Angels. The Angels had Monday night off and find themselves at 31-30 and hanging out in the fringes of American League playoff contenders.

Hayden Wesneski (2-2, 4.81, 43 IP) slides into Justin Steele’s spot in the rotation for at least one turn. He threw pretty well in relief of the injured Steele last time out, allowing one run over 3⅔ innings. When he left that game, the runner was on first with two outs and more times than not, that runner doesn’t end up scoring. Hayden has flashed some signs of the pitcher everyone believes he can be. But his last start with the big club was on May 13 when he was tagged for seven runs in five innings.

The Angels will start 33-year-old lefty Tyler Anderson. Notwithstanding Monday’s clunker, the Cubs have been pretty good against lefthanded starters. Anderson is just 2-1 over 10 starts. He’s thrown 52⅔ innings with a 5.47 ERA. His last start was on May 30 when he allowed six runs in four innings on the south side versus the White Sox. Over his last seven starts, he’s trended up a bit, with a 4.97 ERA in 38 innings. But obviously, this year hasn’t been great for him. After spending the bulk of his career in the National League, the majority of Cubs hitters are familiar with hitting against him.