A lot of shit happened in this game. Some of it pretty weird. In the end, the Cubs shaved a game off their magic number and got their 29th win of the year.
The Cubs took a 5-3 lead into the top of the ninth. The Cubs scored the winning run on a pair of HBPs in the bottom of the ninth after a rally started by KB and Rizzo. Rowan Wick was good. Jeremy Jeffress was not.
Yu Darvish pitched like the Bears defense played Sunday. Lots of bending but made the pitches to get himself out of rough spots. He was helped by some great defense and kept the Cubs in the game till the offense could come around against Carlos Carrasco, who pitched well enough himself.
Darvish’s final line: 7IP, 3ER, 9 hits. He struck out 7. He may not be the leader in the Cy Young race for now but he’s still very much an ace. In some ways, it was very much a typical Darvish game. 100 pitches, 75 strikes. He got fewer whiffs that usual but he was very good. Just not extraordinary. Frankly, it’d be nice if the Cubs could run away with this division this week and let Darvish get some rest in the final week of the season.
The Cubs did just enough on offense. Happ, Bryant, Rizzo, and Contreras have struggled of late but each got on base at least 2 times and they combined to drive in 3 runs. Bryant also scored three runs, including the game winner. Throw in Baez, who also got on base twice and scored twice, and the offense seems pretty close to putting everything together. But, we’ve been down this road before.
My god. Jason Heyward can throw the shit out of the ball. He nailed Francisco Lindor in the 3rd to end an inning and quash a Cleveland rally. It may be arguable but I think Heyward has been the Cubs’ best position player this year.
The best defensive 1B in the National League — see below — made an amazing catch on a Franmil Reyes pop foul in the 6th.
Javy put the Cubs on the board with a 109 MPH, 450 foot home run in the 2nd. Happ, Bryant, and Rizzo got consecutive hits to tie the game in the 5th. That was very nice.
What else is there to say about Javy? Now I know that, apparently, Will Veneble sent Javy but still. Yep…he scored from first base on a strikeout. You heard me.
I know Jeremy Jeffress has been somewhat unlucky this year, pitching much better than his FIP and giving up a .151 BABiP. But that was a really shitty time to give up his first home run of the year.
Willy Contreras is just not a very good baserunner. In fact, according to Fangraphs’ BsR metric, he’s 29th worst in the NL this year. Not to be outdone, Vic Caratini is 10th worst.
Why did Happ, with no one out and 2-3-4 coming up, try to steal in the 7th? I get that Bryzzaez have been struggling but they’ll need to hit whether he’s on first or second. Trying to steal against, arguable, the best defensive catcher in baseball seems dumb there.
Kyle Schwarber’s BA is below the Mendoza line for the season after his 0-4.
Delino DeShields, Jr is the new Rajai Davis. Or, maybe it’s Tyler Naquin. Whatever. They’re all annoying.
Statcast released their 2020 defensive metric leaderboard (Outs Above Average). The best infielder in the league is, quite unsurprisingly, Nolan Arrenado. The best outfielder? White Sox hotshot rookie, Luis Robert.
What is surprising is that Javy Baez is 39th among infielders and Jason Heyward is 45th among outfielders. Here’s where the huge grain of salt comes in. Last year, Heyward rated out 14th (only Aaron Judge was rated above him who was not predominantly a CF). Baez led all infielders in 2019. Victor Robles was led all outfielders in OOA last year but is only 30th this year. Yes, Anthony Rizzo is the best defensive 1B in the NL.
Not only did the Cardinals lose to the Brewers 18-3 tonight but they also somehow managed to start a brawl on a catcher’s interference. Yadi was the guilty party and somehow took offense to Braun clipping his wrist on the swing. I bet, somehow, they’re both 100% at fault. Jesus, they’re a couple of pricks.
Aaron Civale vs Jon Lester tomorrow evening.