What You Need To Know:
The Cubs are now 41-12 when they score two friggin’ runs. Granted, it took 10 innings to get two, but it still counts. What else do you need to know?
Mike Montgomery is good. For real. Jacob deGrom might sue him for identity theft — deGrom has been putting together a “dominate with absolutely no run support” season for the ages, but Montgomery is coming for his crown.
Maybe Montgomery didn’t “dominate” tonight, but he threw six innings of one-run ball, which is basically as bad as he gets as a starter in 2018. He pitched his way out of jams and kept the Cubs in the ballgame, only giving up a run on a walk-steal-single sequence that, lately, seems like a thing that other teams get to do, exclusively.
After that, the defense and relievers did their jobs, and the offense did almost nothing, outside of a Schwarber homer, a Bryant triple, and an Almora walk-off single.
So, the offense. Let’s preface this by saying, great win! Beating the Dodgers is good. But, oof, the offense.
The Cubs have all their main starters with wRC+ levels of over 100, which means that, by that metric, they’re all above average offensive contributors. I say “by that metric,” because that’s not what we have seen from this team for a full month. The Cubs are finding a way to make the total much less than the sum of its parts. (Randy Rosario is exempted from this: he leads the team with a wRC+ of 348, which is, of course, legit, he’s the #GOAT)
The Cubs have been shut out seven times. So have the Marlins, who are last in the league in scoring. Also, they’re the Marlins.
The Cubs have scored a single run in 10 other games. That means, that when the Cubs score two runs – just TWO runs – they are 41-12.
I don’t have the solution to this, and maybe it’s all just random baseball chance, but this offense has simply not been as good as Cubs fans would hope. Their isolated power numbers are #17 in baseball (between the Rangers and White Sox), their home run percentage lands them at #24, and this is a team where basically everyone has the ability to go deep. In terms of runners left in scoring position per game, they’re dead last. So, what’s happening? Not much, unfortunately.
The defense was great. Baez had two stunning plays, one of which was basically an error he turned into a web gem, and Rizzo had one of the quickest unassisted double plays you’ll ever see on a liner to end the top of the 7th and give the crowd something to cheer (which held them over until Schwarber bombed the next pitch into the bleachers in right). The Iowa Cubs had a big hand in this one, with Rosario, Hancock, and Zastryzny all contributing to hold the Dodgers scoreless, with help from Cishek, who OF COURSE pitched both games today.
Top WPA Play: Kris Bryant’s triple to right in the 10th, that I swear, could have been an inside-the-parker. Luckily, it didn’t have to be! (+.292)
Bottom WPA Play: That annoying ground ball single by Austin Barnes to the perfect place, at the perfect time, to score Bellinger from 2nd. (-.164)
Lead photo courtesy Matt Marton—USA Today Sports