MVP – Alfredo Simon (.206 WPA)
I’m not sure what it is about when Jeff Samardzija pitches, but the Cubs just can’t seem to give him any run support. In his four starts so far, the Cubs have scored two or fewer runs for him in three out of the four games. As you might expect, that leads to an 0-2 record with an ERA of 1.29 and a WHIP of 1.07. It’s just another example as to why the pitcher win stat is not particularly useful, especially by itself. I don’t really want to get into that debate in this post, though feel free to engage in a civil manner in the comment section, but my point is that for some reason it seems like the offense puts it in a lower gear when Jeff is on the mound, and I’m not sure why. For this team to be successful, that has to change. You can’t waste games when you have your best person going for you.
Does it concern anyone else that the Reds stole five bases off the Cubs in this game? I understand they have Billy Hamilton, but he only accounted for one of them. Wellington Castillo now has a runner thrown out percentage of just 8%. Granted, it’s not all on the catcher. The pitcher on the mount at the time has a lot to do with the result, but it’s alarming given that he’s always been a better option when it comes to throwing out would be basestealers. To compound his day, he also had a catcher interference error, which oddly enough is the second one for the Cubs catchers this week (how weird is that), and he’s hitting just .209 after being one of the most productive members of the offense last season. I’m not overly concerned at this point, but for this rebuild to happen successfully, you can’t have guys you’re already counting on to be part of it suddenly regress. Let’s hope Castillo is just off to a cold start.
Finally, if you missed the game, you missed one of the worst, most awkward looking strikeouts I’ve ever seen by anyone, including amateurs. Hamilton fanned so badly in the first inning that I thought I was going to die laughing. This is why I posed the question as to if he would out steel Emilio Bonifacio this year. I don’t know that he can produce enough offensively to justify being on a Major League roster. Take a look.
Cingrani gave up only two runs over 6 1/3 on Sunday vs. the Rays but had to escape some jams. “He was able to make pitches when he needed to, which was important. He was able to get outs with runners in scoring position,” catcher Devin Mesoraco said.