You wonder how a team that is near the top of the league in almost every significant statistical category is only five games over .500 in late May, and currently in third place?
Some of that is just early-season stuff, and some of it is thanks to holes in the numbers. We know that not everything is accounted for in those metrics (otherwise they would perfectly align with winning percentage, and life would be more boring). And, indeed, there are going to be bits of randomness and sequencing and luck and grit and hustle that never show up in broken out statistics.
But one way to look at the more ethereal side of “why teams win” is to consider the screw-ups that can lead to losses, the origins of which don’t show up in wRC+ or WAR or FIP or whatever.
Thanks to Inside Edge, we can look at the “freebies” that teams are giving away in their games, and, when you consider what that includes, yeah, this sounds about right:
Here's your Freebie Leaderboard heading into Tuesday's MLB action. pic.twitter.com/B5w78yJR7X
— Inside Edge (@InsideEdgeScout) May 22, 2018
Oof. Not everything on that list is a matter of discipline or effort or focus, and I’m not going to say that this “freebie” metrics proves anything about this year’s Cubs team (certainly not in late May). But as we consider the losses that have accumulated despite some nice individual numbers, it’s worth looking at the plays where the Cubs are giving advantages to their opponents rather than forcing them to earn their own.
Also, this data was from before last night’s game …