What You Need to Know: The Cubs welcomed what used to be the Mets to Wrigley Field for a three-game series. Visiting New York’s roster includes the shell of Jose Reyes, fringy big-league regulars Nori Aoki and Wilmer Flores, as well as some cyborgs made of healthy parts taken from fallen Mets players. The Cubs defeated the scrapheap of a baseball team accordingly.
The Next Level: For the first three and a half innings, the game was less than ideal for the Cubs. They put the leadoff man on in every inning but failed to score on each occasion. Then they allowed the game’s first run in the top of the fourth. In the bottom half of the inning, another lead-off batter, Kyle Schwarber this time, reached via a walk, and opened the floodgates to a four-run inning, capped off by a Kris Bryant three-run dong. They never relinquished the lead as they kept on putting leadoff on men throughout the game (in seven of eight innings they batted) and adding runs, including home runs by Kyle Schwarber and Ian Happ. Having leadoff men on works well, as you may already know.
Speaking of which, the Cubs’ collective OBP to lead off an inning is down to .332 this year (before tonight’s contest), from last year’s exceptional .361 mark. Like many other aspects of the game, it’s rather unstable. But it would be better if they bring back the vibe for the postseason to make another deep run in October.
Top Play (WPA): When Bryant stepped up to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the fourth, the Cubs’ win probability was at a tepid 55.2%. Eight pitches and a trot around the diamond later, by the time he was getting fake interviewed by his teammates, they were almost assured to win the game, at a win probability of 84.7%. From that point on, it never dipped below 77%.
Bottom Play (WPA): Happ grounded into a double play to end the first inning and dragged the win probability down 14.3 percentage points, all the way to an even 50%.
Lead photo courtesy Patrick Gorski—USA Today Sports