Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 38

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Graphs, numbers, and rankings. This can only mean one thing: BCB's Russ La Croix got to thinking during a rainy day.

As an introduction to this feature, I feel it necessary to tip my hat to the inspirations for it. The first hat tip goes to the folks out at Lookout Landing who use the graphs as part of a humorous daily piece on their site. The second goes to our neighbors over at Second City Hockey who use a set of advanced statistics in their recaps. And finally, the last hat tip goes to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, makers of one of my favorite foods, who taught me that the best thing to do with two things that you love was to mash them together.

I like to think of this piece as a "recap supplement". Al provides the meal; this piece is the after-dinner mint.

And now, I present to you a second look at Tuesday's game, using a fancy chart and tables loaded with numbers.

Here are the graphs for Game 38 (courtesy of Fangraphs):

Game_38

The green line represents each team's probability of winning the game at each point in time during the game.  The red dots indicate key swings in the probability.

And here are the stats for Game 38:

Pitcher

IP

H

HR

ER

BB

SO

pLI

WPA

B Schlitter

2.0

0

0

0

0

1

1.74

.255

J Russell

1.1

0

0

0

0

1

1.37

.134

J Arrieta

4.0

4

0

1

5

5

1.38

.100

N Ramirez

1.2

1

0

0

0

2

0.60

.059

C Villanueva

1.1

2

0

1

1

0

2.06

-.053

W Wright

0.2

1

0

0

0

0

2.46

-.207

J Grimm

0.1

1

0

1

2

0

3.69

-.372

Total

11.1

9

0

3

8

9

1.76

-.084

Batter

AB

R

H

HR

RBI

BB

SO

pLI

WPA

E Bonifacio

6

0

2

0

1

0

2

2.11

.240

L Valbuena

6

1

3

1

2

0

2

1.90

.089

J Arrieta

2

1

1

0

0

0

0

0.95

.019

M Olt

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1.42

.005

N Schierholtz

3

0

1

0

0

1

1

1.05

-.010

A Rizzo

3

0

0

0

0

3

0

1.84

-.031

T Wood

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

1.24

-.031

D Barney

4

0

0

0

0

1

1

1.98

-.049

J Lake

5

1

1

0

0

0

1

1.59

-.059

W Castillo

5

0

2

0

0

0

0

1.64

-.088

C Coghlan

2

0

0

0

0

0

1

4.19

-.192

S Castro

6

0

0

0

0

0

1

2.15

-.309

Total

43

3

10

1

3

6

10

1.85

-.416

A stat that you see here with which you may not be familiar is WPA, which stands for Win Probability Added. It basically looks at each play of a game and determines what that play did to each team's chances to win the game. Positive scores are good; negative scores are bad. A more detailed can be found here in the Fangraphs glossary. The three highest WPA scores will be used here to determine the Three Heroes, while the three lowest WPA scores will be used to determine the Three Goats.

For Tuesday's game, the Three Heroes and Three Goats are:

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Brian Schlitter. Pitched a perfect 10th and 11th inning.
  • Hero - Emilio Bonifacio. Primarily on the back of his game-tying single in the ninth.
  • Sidekick - James Russell. Managed to get the Cubs to extra innings without choking it away.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Big Goat - Justin Grimm. Yeah, that 12th inning wasn't a masterpiece. It wasn't even a good stick figure drawing.
  • Goat - Starlin Castro. Had two big opportunities in the 10th and 12th and couldn't capitalize.
  • Kid - Wesley Wright. He should give part of this honor to Castro for that error, but the single to Peralta afterwards is on him.

Finally, there is a ranking system (completely of my design and devoid of any scientific methodology) which gives three points to the largest heroes and goats, two points to second place, and one point to third. Here's a catch-up view through the first 38 games of the season:

UPDATED YEAR-TO-DATE TOTALS:

Heroes

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

Starlin Castro

4

3

3.5

21.5

Anthony Rizzo

3

3

5

20

Luis Valbuena

4

2

16

Welington Castillo

4

1

2

16

Emilio Bonifacio

1

6

15

Jeff Samardzija

4

2

14

Jason Hammel

3

2

13

Nate Schierholtz

2

3

1

13

Mike Olt

2

1

3

11

Ryan Kalish

3

1

10

Brian Schlitter

1

1.5

2

8

Darwin Barney

2

1

8

Justin Ruggiano

0.5

2.5

1

7.5

Travis Wood

1

2

7

Edwin Jackson

2

6

Junior Lake

1

1

1

6

James Russell

1

3

5

Justin Grimm

1

3

5

Ryan Sweeney

1

2

4

Zac Rosscup

2

4

Hector Rondon

3.5

3.5

Neil Ramirez

0.5

2.5

3.5

Wesley Wright

0.5

0.5

0.5

3

Pedro Strop

1

1

3

Carlos Villanueva

1

2

Jake Arrieta

1

2

John Baker

1

1

Goats

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

Nate Schierholtz

4

5

1

23

Starlin Castro

3

3

4.5

19.5

Mike Olt

4

1

2

16

Justin Grimm

5

15

Carlos Villanueva

4

1

13

Welington Castillo

1

4

2

13

Travis Wood

2

2

1

11

Edwin Jackson

2

2

1

11

Emilio Bonifacio

4

2

10

Ryan Kalish

1

2

2

9

James Russell

1

1

3

8

Anthony Rizzo

3

2

8

Wesley Wright

2

2

8

Jason Hammel

2

1

8

Luis Valbuena

2

3

7

Jose Veras

1

1

1

6

Justin Ruggiano

1

1

5

Darwin Barney

2

1

5

Junior Lake

2

1

5

Ryan Sweeney

1

1.5

4.5

Hector Rondon

1

1

4

Jeff Samardzija

1

1

3

Pedro Strop

1

1

3

Brian Schlitter

1

3

John Baker

3

3

Neil Ramirez

1

3

Jake Arrieta

1

3

Blake Parker

1

1

And on a positive note, the skies have cleared and getaway-day baseball is in the forecast. There is a chance for scattered rain later in the afternoon; with any luck it will either completely miss or at least hold off until the game is over. Keep your fingers crossed.

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