clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 146

Sloppy play in Colorado leads to a 6-4 loss.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With four losses in six games and a narrow win in one of the other two, this is the most off the Cubs have been in months. To be fair, most teams go through these stretches every few weeks and the bigger story is that this team has more or less avoided these struggles for months. Fortunately, that stretch really put them in a very strong spot in the NL playoff race. I say fortunate, because otherwise I’d be concerned.

This season has been a stunning turnaround. Your mileage may vary from mine, but I didn’t have a lot of belief in this team before the season started. Oh, I know the roster was improving and I did think they’d be more consistently competitive than they were last year. But also, that team went on a pretty strong run in the second half and it was entirely plausible to be better day in day out and still end up with the same or even a worse record.

But as I sit here today, I’d have to spend more time than I have studying the Phillies and Brewers, but I know in my mind that the Cubs are consistently one of the five best teams in the National League. I suspect that they are one of the four best teams and don’t rule out that they are one of the three best teams.

Such labels have little value. For example, I could be willing to die on a hill that the Padres are the fifth best team in the NL (spoiler: I’m not). That doesn’t matter. They under achieved so badly that they are dead and buried in terms of the playoff picture. Conversely, I could think that the Brewers were a total mirage. It doesn’t matter. They are going to be in the playoffs and the only vague question they have is if the Cubs could pass them for the Central division title.

So the reference above about concern has to do with the relative strength of remaining schedule combined with a rough week of play. The Cubs still have nine remaining games against potential playoff teams. After Tuesday night, the Phillies have only four games total against teams with winning records. The Diamondbacks have eight, all at home. The Marlins have eight remaining, five at home. The Giants have nine, only three at home. The Reds have an odd schedule that has them playing almost entirely on the road, but also almost entirely against teams with losing records.

If this were a sprint with a bunch of teams leaving the starting gate evenly, I’d be nervous. Fortunately, it isn’t. The Cubs gave themselves a cushion. And they’ve been one of the very best teams in baseball for months. I believe those two things are better than a combo platter of injuries, fatigue and a few days of under achieving.

Certainly, Tuesday was one of the sloppiest of the games. The Cubs lost multiple baserunners trying to aggressively take extra bases. They paired that with six walks issued and a batter hit. Three of the six walked batter ended up scoring as did the hit batter. In a game decided by two, free runners and free outs came back to bite the Cubs.

On the upside, Pete Crow-Armstrong got his first major league start, drove in a run and made a couple of terrific plays in the outfield. I certainly didn’t want to see it happen with a tough start out of Javier Assad, but a day after grumping about the missing Cubs “B” relievers, a number of them got a chance. Kudos to Hayden Wesneski and Brad Boxberger each working a perfect inning.

Let’s find three stars in Tuesday’s loss.

  1. Seiya Suzuki had three hits, one of them a two-run homer. He drove in three total and scored two of the runs. He drove in or scored every single one of the runs.
  2. Dansby Swanson had two hits, one a triple and drew a walk. He scored the two runs that Seiya didn’t.
  3. Hayden Wesneski faced the middle of the Rockies lineup in the eighth and faced the minimum in working a scoreless inning and keeping hope alive for another comeback.

Game 146, September 12: Rockies 6, Cubs 4 (78-68)


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


  • Superhero: Seiya Suzuki (.227). 3-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
  • Hero: Dansby Swanson (.118). 2-3, 3B, BB, 2 R
  • Sidekick: Brad Boxberger (.044). IP, 3 batters


  • Billy Goat: Cody Bellinger (-.167). 1-4, K, DP
  • Goat: Daniel Palencia (-.140). 2 IP, 10 batters, 3 H, BB, 2 R, 3 K (L 5-2)
  • Kid: Pete Crow-Armstrong (-.131). 0-4, RBI, K

WPA Play of the Game: Seiya Suzuki batted with a runner on first in the sixth with the Cubs down two. Seiya homered to tie the game. (.207)

*Rockies Play of the Game: Ex-Cub Kris Bryant batted with the bases loaded with one out and the Cubs leading by two. He hit a flare that found a hole and two runs scored to tie the game. (.169)


Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Seiya Suzuki
    (119 votes)
  • 1%
    Dansby Swanson
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Brad Boxberger
    (0 votes)
  • 2%
    Hayden Wesneski (IP, 3 batters)
    (3 votes)
  • 6%
    Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
    (9 votes)
133 votes total Vote Now

Yesterday’s Winner: Yan Gomes (Superhero is 98-47)

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.

  • Cody Bellinger +38
  • Justin Steele +22
  • Adbert Alzolay +18
  • Ian Happ 17.5
  • Marcus Stroman +12
  • Christopher Morel -9.5
  • Patrick Wisdom -15
  • Drew Smyly -17
  • Trey Mancini -20.5
  • Jameson Taillon -23

Scoreboard watching:

  • Brewers win second straight
  • Phillies lose
  • Diamondbacks lose
  • Reds win second straight
  • Marlins lose second straight
  • Giants lose

The good news is that four of the five teams behind the Cubs also lost. The bad news was that the Brewers stayed hot, they now have a four-game lead over the Cubs in the Central. The Phillies hold the first Wild Card, 1½ games ahead of the Cubs. The D-backs hold the third WIld Card and remain two games behind the Cubs.

The Reds trail the Diamondbacks by one. The Marlins and Giants are tied in the loss column with the Reds, but have one fewer win.

All of these teams are in action again Wednesday.

Up Next: Jameson Taillon (7-9, 5.27, 133⅓ IP) gets the start for the Cubs. Over seven starts, he is 1-3 with a 5.03 in 39⅓ IP. However, he was terrific in his last start, allowing one hit, one walk and no runs, Two starts earlier, he allowed one earned run over six against the Brewers, though he ended up charged with the loss in that one.

Ty Blach, a 32-year-old lefty (2-1, 4.58, 59 IP), starts for the Rockies. The fifth round pick (178th overall) of the Giants in the 2012 draft is 1-1 with a 4.78 ERA over his last seven appearances, all starts (37⅔ IP). He’s made 16 appearances on the year and nine of them are starts. Ty has allowed nine earned runs in only 11 innings over his last two starts, but he did win one of those.