What You Need to Know: The Cubs are 1-0 in the Jose Quintana era. The trade has worked out well, I guess.
The Baby Bears attacked early tonight, scoring eight runs on four home runs against O’s starter Kevin Gausman. Gausman whad the worst start of his career to date in terms of Tom Tango’s version of game score (-1). At the end of the third inning, the Cubs led by the score of 8-1, and had a win probability of roughly 97 percent.
The O’s crept back in. After the sixth inning, in which the Birds scored four runs off Mike Montgomery and Justin Grimm, the score was 8-6, yet the Cubs were still 77.6% percent likely to win. In each of the subsequent two innings, the O’s put two runners on the bases, but stranded all of them.
Then came the bottom of the eighth. With a runner on first with one out, Mark Trumbo smacked a long ball into the left field bleachers. The score was tied and for the first time in the game. Baltimore was more likely to win the game (56.3 percent) than the North Siders.
The O’s triumphant moment didn’t last long, though. With one out in the top of the ninth, Addison Russell untied the game with a solo shot, and the Cubs were favorites in this game again (81.6 percent win probability).
Wade David preserved the precious one-run lead for the Cubs, and they kicked off the second half with a win (100 percent win probability).
The Next Level: The Cubs put 11 balls in play against Gausman. Of those 11 batted balls, seven were in the air and five went for hits: four home runs and a double). Granted, three of the four grounders he induced found the holes, but each of them had a relatively low hit probability.
On the other hand, Montgomery retired all six Orioles he faced in the first two innings, inducing five groundouts and a strikeout. But once he started allowing more balls in the air, he wouldn’t last long.
For all the kids who are reading this, put the ball in the air. That’s how you succeed. Or, if you are a pitcher, don’t allow many balls in the air.
Top Play (WPA): Russell’s go-ahead dinger improved the Cubs’ win probability by 37.5 percent, which was a bigger swing in WPA than in any other play he’s had this season.
Bottom Play (WPA): Trumbo’s game-tying homer reduced the Cubs’ win probability by 38.3 percent. It was the biggest blow against Uehara in a single play since July 17, 2015, when he gave up a walk-off homer to Mike Trout.
Lead photo Evan Habeeb—USA Today Sports