Cubs 0, Giants 4
What Went Right
- …thinking…thinking… – nobody died.
What Went Wrong
- Madison Bumgarner – WOW, just a really well pitched game. I was at the game on Monday night and Randy Wells was stunning – taking nothing away from Wells, Bumgarner was even better in carving up the Cubs on Wednesday. He started 22 of the 27 batters he faced with a strike, while throwing a strike over 73% of the time. The Cubs looked completely lost against him.
- Cubs Offense – Aramis saw 19 pitches, Castro saw 20 – and that got him three strikeouts! No other Cub saw more than 16 pitches. It almost goes without saying, when they don’t get more than a handful of looks at your stuff, it’s easy to keep them off balance. The Cubs were the definition of baffled at the plate.
- Mike Quade – must not repeat myself, must not…I’m not strong enough to let it pass. When Aramis signs a new deal, part of his agent’s presentation better be “well look, he had Jeff Baker hitting behind him for X% of his games”…Ramirez deserves better than to have Jeff Baker “protecting” him in the lineup. JEFF BAKER IS NOT A CLEANUP HITTER!
- John Grabow – Yes, you’re darn right I put a guy who threw five pitches, all strikes, as what went wrong. I’d do it again too – he is absolutely maddening to watch. The game is quickly spiraling out of control, we’re heading for a blowout…and then he reels of five strikes and restores calm? This is the same guy who has given up 6 runs (5 ERs) in 11.1 innings in his previous 8 appearances during August. It’s like watching Frank DiPino, and just like DiPino I can’t stand Grabow and nothing will change my mind…I hope today was his last appearance as a Cub (don’t rain on my parade, with rosters expanding it IS possible!).
- Rodrigo Lopez – to carry on with the past Cubs theme, he’s not 1994 Mike Morgan bad…or even 1999 Steve Trachsel bad. He feels more like 1983 Steve Trout. He’s bad, to be sure, but not so bad you’re completely convinced the game is lost before it starts. Today he was mostly cruising along until the Giants broke their 6-game homerless streak with back-to-back jacks to start the 4th (if you can’t get a ball to leave the yard in 4 games against the Astros and then 2 games against the Cubs – I’d say the deck is more than a little stacked against your odds of repeating as champions). Lopez’s outing wasn’t his worst, and frankly most teams would’ve been beaten Bumgarner today anyway.
NL West Kingmakers? Last year, the Cubs rode into San Diego for the second-to-last series of the season. The Padres found themselves a half game out with 4 games against the Cubs and then 3 against the Giants, who they were chasing. The Cubs inexplicably took 3 of 4 from the Padres enabling the Giants to pad their NL West lead to 3 full games meaning that the Padres needed to sweep the final series to make the playoffs. Of course they didn’t, and the Giants went on to win the World Series.
This week the Cubs rode into San Francisco with the Giants staring at a four game deficit. They leave the defending World Champions 6 games in arrears and on their way to, wait for it, the Arizona desert to face the division-leading Diamondbacks. Granted, the Giants have more than one series to make up their deficit but based on their offense of late I don’t like their chances of catching the Diamondbacks.
Stars of the Game
Base on Win Probability Added (WPA)
1st Star – Madison Bumgarner (.337 WPA)
2nd Star – Jeff Keppinger (.200 WPA)
3rd Star – Pablo Sandoval (.100 WPA)