Two more games, two more losses
Here are the most important things first: If you are a mom and reading this, I hope this is a special day for you. We are all better for the things not only our mothers, out grandmothers our wives and all of the countless other mothers that cross through our lives. I hope all of you do your best to try to brighten the days of those around you who are mothers and to make them feel special for all that they do and have done for us.
But this is a baseball space and so I have to talk about the carnage at Wrigley Field on Saturday. The Cubs were outscored 13-2 across two games and lost two more games. They’ve now lost 13 of 16 after starting out 6-4. They were pretty much overpowered on Saturday. To be fair, the Dodgers have been making a lot of teams look silly the last several years, sometimes even good ballclubs.
These Cubs are not a good team. Barring a dramatic swing in their results, this team is heading towards a trade deadline that will likely see at least a couple of more bodies heading for the door. No one is going to be surprised, though many will be angry, if one more piece of the championship core is no longer here after the deadline.
Losing has consequences in baseball. There has been too much of it the last calendar year. This time last year, things were flying high, but from the peak of last season until now, this team has been a wreck. It’s been hard to watch without doubt. It’s unlikely to get significantly better this year.
Fortunately, it’s likely to get better in the near future. It is folly to compare points in history as there are so many variables that have to come together, but this franchise might be somewhere around 2013/2014 in comparison to where that team was. To be fair, the comparison falls apart because there doesn’t appear to be say a Kris Bryant among the prospects, certainly not one that comes with his pedigree,though you can’t know for certain one won’t get there.
Of course, that team also benefitted greatly from guys who were either at or very near the MLB level and some reclamation projects. Certainly the infusion of Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop in various trades were all huge positives for the team. Nailing free agent signings like Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and John Lackey helped put together a dominant rotation.
So a lot goes into the equation. But, the prospect side of things is showing signs of sending a wave and possibly waves of talent to Wrigley. It’s going to get better. When? I don’t know yet. How much better? I don’t know yet. But I do believe in what is going on across the minor leagues, not so much about 1060 W. Addison.
For Brevity, I’m skipping my three things given there is a lot of data still to come. I’ll keep it simple with a hat tip for Willson Contreras, the one shining moment of the day/night and the one time when they were more or less “in” one of the games.
Let’s get to the numbers, starting with the day game.
Game 25, May 7: Dodgers 7 at Cubs 0 (9-16)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Seiya Suzuki (.023). 1-3, BB, K, CS
- Hero: Alfonso Rivas (.001). 0-0, BB
- Sidekick: Sean Newcomb (.000). IP (3 batters), K
- Billy Goat: Robert Gsellman (-.129). 3⅔ IP (17 batters), 6H, 2BB, 3R (2ER), 4K
- Goat: Yan Gomes (-.082). 1-3, DP
- Kid: Patrick Wisdom (-.058). 0-4
WPA Play of the Game: Freddie Freeman was the second batter of the game. He batted with a runner on first and no outs. He doubled and a miscue on the play allowed the runner to come all of the way around to score. (.147)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With the same situation in the fourth inning, no outs and a runner on first (score 1-0), Cody Bellinger squared off against Cubs starter Drew Smyly. Despite the lopsided score, Smyly pitched well. He got Bellinger to ground into a double play. (.074)
Game 26, May 7: Dodgers 6 at Cubs 2 (9-17)
- Superhero: Willson Contreras (.237). 3-4, HR, 3B, RBI, 2R
- Hero: Rowan Wick (.036). IP (5 batters), 2BB, WP, K
- Sidekick: Scott Effross (.033). IP (3 batters), K
- Billy Goat: Keegan Thompson (-.197). 2⅔ IP (12 batters), H, 3BB, R, 4K
- Goat: Patrick Wisdom (-.126). 0-3, K
- Kid: Yan Gomes (-.112). 0-4, K
WPA Play of the Game: Mookie Betts batted with the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, the game was tied 1-1. Betts had a base clearing double. (.251)
*Cubs play of the Game: Willson Contreras led off for the Cubs after a scoreless first. He tripled and helped set up the Cubs first run of the day/night doubleheader. (.091)
*Bonus Cubs play of the Game: It was 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth when Contreras stepped in with one out against Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson. He homered, putting the game back within reach. (.091)
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
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.
- Ian Happ +13
- Alfonso Rivas +12
- Nico Hoerner/Scott Effross +9
- Jason Heyward/Kyle Hendricks/Yan Gomes -9
Up Next: The third and final game of the set against the Dodgers. Marcus Stroman (1-3, 5.13) will start for the Cubs. The good news is Marcus is coming off of his best start of the season. The Dodgers counter with Walker Buehler (3-1, 2.12). Hopefully Stroman can get some momentum going and the bats can get something going. After scoring 21 runs in one game, they’ve now scored 21 runs in the 11 games that followed. It’s a credit to sequencing that they won two of those games. If you simply divided the scoring evenly across the games, it would drop to just one of 11, the one shutout.