What an unusual start to the second half! The Cubs came out of the gate with a a 15-run outburst to win the first one. That game was actually closer than the score indicated, at least to some extent, reaching the fifth inning 1-1 before the wheels really fell off for the Phillies. Those wheels stayed in place longer on Saturday night, but that spare tire eventually came loose too. Once again, it was 1-1, this time into the 10th inning. But that’s when the Phillies completely collapsed and the Cubs scored five times, going on to win 6-2.
Those two wins paired with the one right before the All-Star break means that the Cubs have a three-game winning streak. While it can certainly feel like that’s breaking new ground for this group, they’ve already had two stretches of four consecutive wins this year. So that will be something to shoot for on Sunday. Also, the team hasn’t swept a series of any length yet this year. So, there are some chances to match or beat season high’s on Sunday.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There was some good to unpack from Saturday’s win. Let’s go straight to our three good things from the game and see how many of the good things we can at least touch on.
- Marcus Stroman had one of his best starts of the year. He threw six innings, allowing five hits and two walks while allowing only a single run. He struck out five.
- Four Cubs relievers threw a total of four innings, allowing a combined one hit, one walk and striking out five. There was just one unearned run, the tenth inning bonus runner.
- (a) Christopher Morel continues to stalk Rookie of the Year votes. He was the only Cub with two hits, he had a double, a run batted in, a run scored, a stolen base and was hit by a pitch. The man can really fill a scorecard. (b) Nelson Velázquez continued his breakout weekend. He had two plate appearances, a walk, a run batted in and a run scored. (c) Nico Hoerner kicked off the scoring with a solo homer. He also stole a base in this one.
Contributions up and down the roster. This was one of the handful of games this year where you could really see the team the front office was dreaming on when they thought this team could compete. There just haven’t been enough of these games, unfortunately.
Let’s go to the Heroes and Goats.
Game 94, July 23: Cubs 6 at Phillies 2 (37-57)
Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.
- Superhero: Christopher Morel (.171). 2-3, 2B, RBI, R, HBP, SB
- Hero: Mychal Givens (.153). ⅔ IP (2 batters), K
- Sidekick: David Robertson (.140). IP (3 batters), K (W 3-0)
- Billy Goat: Willson Contreras (-.185). 1-4, 2B, RBI, HBP, K
- Goat: Seiya Suzuki (-.132). 0-5, 3K
- Kid: Rafael Ortega (-.066). 0-3
WPA Play of the Game: With no outs and a runner on second in the seventh inning, the Cubs were leading the Phillies 1-0 and Marcus Stroman was on the mound. J.T. Realmuto singled, scoring a run to tie the game. (.149)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Steven Brault relieved Stroman. There were runners at first and second with one out when Alec Bohm batted. Bohm grounded into a double play to end the inning. (.145)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
30 votes total
Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)
The award is named for Anthony Rizzo, who finished first in this category three of the first four years it was in existence and four times overall. He also recorded the highest season total ever at +65.5. The point scale is three points for a Superhero down to negative three points for a Billy Goat.
- Christopher Morel +23
- David Robertson +19.5
- Nico Hoerner +18
- Scott Effross +15
- Seiya Suzuki +9.5
- Rafael Ortega -7.5
- Andrelton Simmons -8
- Daniel Norris -9.5
- Jason Heyward -15.5
- Yan Gomes -16
Up Next: As noted above, the Cubs will seek their first sweep of a series of any length in 2022 as well as trying to match their season high four-game winning streak. Drew Smyly will start for the Cubs (2-5, 4.22), looking to get his season on track. Bailey Falter (0-2, 4.82) continues to seek his first win of the season.