Game 137: Cubs 7 Brewers 2

Top Play (WPA):
The top play of this occurred in the seventh inning. Before that inning started, the game was tied at one a piece. Thus far, it was a good pitching duel between Zach Davies and Kyle Hendricks.

In the seventh, though, the Cubs started pulling away.

However, the seventh started off well for Davies, as he got Jason Heyward and Javier Baez to both ground out to open the inning. The next batter was Miguel Montero, and he doubled to right field.

The following batter was Chris Coghlan, and he singled to right on a line drive, allowing Montero to score. Coghlan also advanced to second on the play, making this the top play of the game. Not only did the go ahead run score, but Coghlan ended up in scoring position.

This proved costly as the next batter, Tommy La Stella, singled on a groundball to second. Scooter Gennett got a glove on it, and while he tumbled, the ball got away, allowing Coghlan to score from second. Gennett was charged with an error, so the run didn’t count against Davies ERA. But the run scored, it counted on the scoreboard, and the Brewers were now down, 3-1. Davies was then subbed off in favor of Jhan Marinez, who struck out Kris Bryant to end the frame.

Bottom Play (WPA):
The worst play of this game happened in the fifth inning. At this point, the Brewers are leading the game 1-0.

Baez led off the inning with a single on a groundball.

The next batter was Miguel Montero, and on the second pitch of the at-bat, he hit a fly ball to left field. Ryan Braun caught the ball, and while that was happening, Baez was tagging first base. He then ran and tried to take second base. This proved to be a mistake, as Braun gunned him down by a mile for the second out of this inning.

Davies then made quick work of Hendricks, striking him out on three pitches to end the inning.

Orlando Arcia’s defense:
Even after the Cubs took the lead in the seventh inning, this game didn’t get out of reach until the eighth, where the Cubs scored four runs to bury the Brewers.

In that inning, Orlando Arcia made an error, which allowed a run to score. It was a big play in the game; actually, it’s the play that put this game out of reach.

Arcia made an error on a ground ball hit by Jason Heyward. There was a man on third, a man on first and one out. If the ball was fielded cleanly, it could have turned into a double play, instead, it was an error, a run scored, the runner on first advanced to third, and Heyward was safe on first base.

The error is a subjective stat and a silly one, and everyone reading this probably already knows that. But even though it has myriad flaws, it might be telling us something about Arcia’s defense.

Arcia, this year, has made five errors at the major league level. For the amount of innings he has played, that’s a lot of errors. Looking at his fielding percentage, it’s at .968; entering the game, Arcia ranked 23th out of 42 players who have at least played 200 innings at shortstop. This might be suggesting that Arcia is struggling with routine plays.

Looking at the Inside Edge data, routine plays are made, 90-100% of the time. Arcia’s percentage on those is 96.50% percent which ranks 28th out of 42. This may not sound that bad, but that’s basically average to below average on routine plays.

FRAA has Arcia at 2.2, DRA has him at 0 runs saved, and UZR has him at -3. Fielding statistics are complicated, and a number of them are very volatile, but each one of these metrics seems to be suggesting that Arcia is around average at shortstop. These numbers’ might change, they might even only be a few months of fluky play, but they still are somewhat concerning because Arcia’s defense is his calling card. Nobody ever expected him to be a great offensive player. That would have just been gravy. Instead, Arcia is supposed to be a great defensive player. Thus far, he has not shown that as a Brewer, but if he wants to have any success in the big leagues, he’ll have to live up to that defensive potential.

Coming up Next:
The Brewers are playing the Cubs today, once again. Wily Peralta will get the nod for the Brew Crew, while Jason Hamel will be pitching for the Cubs. At this point in the season, it almost doesn’t matter whether the Brewers win or lose. The most important part is seeing players improve, making strides to becoming a more complete and better team. Therefore, even though the Brewers lost today, and expected to lose tomorrow, the outcome of the game should not matter all that much. Instead, how the young players perform will be more important.

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