What You Need To Know:
The Cubs continued to struggle at Wrigley Field, as they were swept by the Yankees tonight, losing by the score of four to one. The Cubs are now 7-9 to start the season at the Friendly Confines (they were 57-24 at home in 2016). This loss is especially painful as the Cubs wasted a vintage (120! pitch) Jon Lester start thanks to a largely anemic offense.
[record scratch, freeze frame, nine innings later]
So… that didn’t go as planned. The Cubs tied the game by scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth, the tying run on a HBP on Anthony Rizzo by Aroldis Chapman. Unfortunately, they left the bases loaded, couldn’t score over the course of the next nine innings, and ended up dropping the game to the Yankees in eighteen innings. So in other words, back to where we started.
Oh… also this game set a new MLB record with 48 (48!!) strikeouts. It broke the previous record of 43 in a 20 inning game. That’s obviously crazy. For their part, the Cubs struck out 26 times, including a game-ending strikeout by pinch-hitter Kyle Hendricks. All of that is true, I promise.
Next Level: Anthony Rizzo will at the very least have a bad bone bruise on his wrist and there’s an outside chance he may have broken it after getting hit by Aroldis Chapman on the aforementioned HBP in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Rizzo was just hit by a 98.9 MPH pitch. That's the 3rd hardest HBP for a @Cubs player since 2008
— Daren Willman (@darenw) May 8, 2017
Little bit of swelling there for Rizzo pic.twitter.com/1bNAcHAqmU
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) May 8, 2017
Although he doubled to lead off the bottom of the twelfth, this HBP will more than likely adversely affect Rizzo’s 2017 season. Even if Rizzo’s wrist is not broken, wrist injuries are notorious for sapping the power from sluggers. For example, former Cubs’ slugger Derrek Lee fractured his wrist in April 2006. Lee was coming off of a career year in 2005 (.335/.418/.662, 174 OPS+), and up until his injury in late April 2006 he had a slash line of .318/.448/.614. But after his wrist injury, Lee played in only 36 games the rest of that year and mustered a .275/.336/.427 slash line. And it’s not like Rizzo has been tearing the cover off the ball lately. Prior to tonight’s game in 141 plate appearances so far, Rizzo’s OPS+ was 102; his average OPS+ from 2014-2016 was 148.
Top WPA Play: Rizzo’s hit-by-pitch in the ninth, which tied the game at four. (+.387)
Bottom WPA Play: Kyle Schwarber struck out with runners on second and third and one out in the ninth, making it much harder for the Cubs to win. (-.300) Nine innings later, they lost.
Next Up: The Cubs travel to Denver to take on the Rockies for a three-game series. Jake Arrieta takes the hill for the Cubs tomorrow, opposing Antonio Senzatela. Be sure to check back at BP Wrigleyville for the recap.
Lead photo courtesy Caylor Arnold—USA Today Sports