After the game, Dylan Cease said he was happy with his start, because he corrected the issues that found him walking seven batters and hitting one. Sure, but when you trade wildness for straight heat that gets clobbered over the fence by a team that came in with zero offensive prowess, that’s the wrong kind of correction. To wit, Cease had a 40 game score in Cincinnati, just 26. Since the first four games of the season (where Lucas Giolito (14), Reynaldo López (16) and Cease himself (17) took turns sucking), there have been just two worse games than Cease’s tonight: Jonathan Stiever’s turkey of a second start (0) and López (25). For your No. 3 starter (we all might see Dane Dunning and his six career starts as the presumptive No. 3 now, but that is not how the rotation is currently lined up), that is horrible.
Put it another way: Cease has a season game score average of 45.3, only marginally better than Gio González (43), a pitcher who may end up not even making the postseason roster.
Yu Darvish was immaculate for the second time against the White Sox, spinning a 79, actually an improvement on his terrific 69 back in August. His 74.0 average blows away that of the prior best opponent starter, Zach Plesac.
Pressure is a little goofy in blowouts, so the 1.86 LI pressure that Anthony Rizzo faced in the third inning vs. Cease, a battle Cease won with a strikeout, was the most tense of the game. Of course, Willson Contreras made the game a little less tense as the very next batter.
Ain’t much pressure in a 10-0 whitewash, so Darvish takes the title with mere 0.66 pLI pressure, which I suppose was generated from letting a number of White Sox on to lead off innings (and then stranding them).
Willson Contreras’ two-out, three-run homer in the third — the “bat flip homer” — was by far the biggest value of the game, a .234 WPA play. The clout upped the Cubs’ win probability from 60.3% to 83.7%.
Darvish clocked in with a .219 WPA to take the MVP, significantly beating teammate Contreras’ two-homer game (.186). Kyle Schwarber, who also homered, finished third (.106) in a clean sweep for the northsiders.
Magic Number: 17.7
Despite losing tonight to the Reds, the Twins peeled another date off the calendar and see their division title chances increase to 70.2%. The Sox are still second, at 17.7%, with the red-hot Wahoos still holding just a 12.1% shot.