What You Need To Know: This one very much looked like a contest that started too early for everyone, as these noon games tend to have something of a sleepy feel. Both Tyler Chatwood and Luke Weaver were not sharp, combining for 11 walks. Well, I shouldn’t say Chatwood wasn’t sharp, because this is what he does. This might be sharp for him. Maybe dodging traffic better than the other guy is just going to be his M.O. No, it’s never a good idea to play in traffic, but ours is not to reason why and all that. Anyway, the Cubs strengths over the Cards—a better defense, a better bullpen, and a more timely offense—came to the fore as the Cubs got just enough before ripping up the threading against the Cardinals pen in the later innings.
Next Level: As said, this is probably the best we can hope for from Chatwood right now. He only gave up one hit with his six walks (six! and we’re not even complaining that much!). He’s essentially juggling water balloons (or live grenades), but as long as anything doesn’t hit the ground it works. His big moment came in the fifth with the bases loaded, and went 2-0 on Paul DeJong. But he got a grounder back to him, and started the Greg Maddux Special 1-2-3 double play to end it. And this is a great illustration of one of the big differences between these two teams. The Cubs make that play, they get that pitch, whereas the Cards are likely to punt it to a beer vendor. Once it gets to the Cubs pen, things are pretty much over. Once it gets to the Cards pen…
-Things like Tyler Lyons happen. The Cubs fustigated him for four runs to blow this one open and never give his team a chance to make up the difference.
-Matt Carpenter homered for his fifth straight game. The Cardinals have scored 20 runs over these three games. Carpenter is responsible for nine of them.
-It was a Javy game, but then again aren’t they all? He had two RBI (and he could very well have 100 by Labor Day), made a great play (that admittedly wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t Yadier Molina “running” to first), stole a base, and then TOOTBLANed on a fly-ball that wasn’t more than 10 feet behind short. But hey, when you live in the red, sometimes the engine busts.
-Ben Zobrist had four hits, is currently batting .296. Don’t say depth doesn’t matter, as the reduced workload is clearly agreeing with a. player closer to 40 than 30.
-Wasn’t thrilled about Joe Maddon pulling Chatwood with one out in the sixth, given that it’s a double-header day, the Cubs have had abbreviated starts the previous two games, and the rotation is going to have to start piling up the innings SOMETIME. On the other side, Chatwood had only surrendered a run and getting him out then gives him a positive point to build off of. Thanks to yesterday’s carnival/freak show, the relievers who matter were actually pretty rested. Hopefully Monty makes this moot tonight.
Top WPA Play: Zobrist’s single in the fifth that put runners on 1st and 3rd with the score tied at one. The Cubs would go on to add two and never look back. (+.114) Although the double play to end the fifth that Chatwood got DeJong to hit into was the biggest difference maker (-.192)
Bottom WPA Play: Carpenter’s daily homer that tied it in the third. (-.112)
Lead photo courtesy Dennis Wierzbicki—USA Today Sports