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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 1

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And with the start of another new season, it’s time once again for the postgame feature that’s chock full of numbers and charts. Assuming that Russ La Croix can find his way back to his computer.

Just another average two-hit performance for Jake.
Just another average two-hit performance for Jake.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, where exactly is my desk again?...  Man, the office looks a lot different than it did back last October... Maybe it's a new paint job... Or is it the carpet that's different?... I could have sworn my desk was right over here...

Oh, there it is!  And everything looks pretty much the same.  Except someone messed with all of the settings on my chair, and my mouse doesn't seem to work (oh... someone put a Post-It note on the bottom of it, ha ha)... and, of course, my red Swingline stapler is missing.  No doubt I'll find it over on Pesice's desk.  Such a kidder, that guy.

But it's great to be back after five-plus months away, and I'm definitely rejuvenated and ready for a new season. The offseason was definitely busy for me with other activities, including getting yelled at on the basketball court and teaching other people how to also get yelled at on the basketball court with me. Life has gotten busier in other areas as well in the past five months, which is why Al is manning the controls of the On The Horizon piece this season, but I'll be here after each game to give you the rundown of the game's Heroes and Goats, or as I like to refer to it, the nerdy feature that's full of numbers and charts.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Heroes and Goats feature, here's how it works.  During each game, Fangraphs has a chart that is updated after each batter that shows each team's probability of winning the game based on the situation at that point in time. Here's the chart from last season's opening game as an example. They also keep track of the typical box score statistics for each game as well as a statistic called WPA, which stands for Win Probability Added. This statistic measures each player's contribution to a team win or loss based on their performance in the game.

After each game ends, the final chart and statistics will be posted here and the players will be ranked based on their WPA performance in the game from highest to lowest. The three highest WPA scores for the game become the game's three Heroes, while the lowest three scores become the game's three Goats. A running tally of each player's "Hero Points" and "Goat Points" are also kept, using a completely unscientific and unoriginal method designed by me which gives three points for the top position in a game, two points for second and one point for third. There will also be a poll for each game that gives you the chance to vote for the Hickman Player of the Game in wins and the Marmol Non-Player of the Game in losses.  The polls are named after Jim Hickman and Carlos Marmol, who hold the Cubs' records for the best and worst single-game WPA.

As it was last season, a pitcher will only be judged on his pitching performance, meaning that pitchers will not potentially show up twice in the Heroes and Goats list for a particular game if they have a good or bad night hitting. If a pitcher ends up with a score in the top or bottom three because of their hitting, it will not be included in the official rankings but I will keep a separate record of it to see how it would have impacted each pitcher's total points. In the 2015 season (including the postseason), there were five occasions in which a pitcher had a WPA hitting score in the top three compared to 42 occasions in which a pitcher had a WPA hitting score in the bottom three. Hopefully the 2016 season will see a slightly better hitting ratio for the pitchers.

And now that I've retrieved my stapler (turns out it was actually on Timmers' desk... he's always been eyeing that thing), let's get to the numbers from the opening night of the 2016 season:

Graphs for Game 1 (courtesy of Fangraphs):

Game 1 Chart 2016

Stats for Game 1:

Pitcher

IP

H

HR

ER

BB

SO

pLI

WPA

J Arrieta

7

2

0

0

1

6

0.69

.274

J Grimm

1

1

0

0

0

0

0.16

.005

T Wood

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

.000

Total

9

3

0

0

1

7

0.55

.279

Batter

AB

R

H

HR

RBI

BB

SO

pLI

WPA

A Rizzo

3

1

1

0

1

2

0

0.52

.127

M Montero

5

1

2

1

3

0

2

0.44

.127

D Fowler

4

3

3

0

0

1

1

0.65

.098

J Soler

4

1

1

0

1

1

1

0.47

.068

K Bryant

3

2

0

0

1

2

2

0.56

.030

A Russell

3

0

0

0

0

1

1

0.47

.011

M Szczur

1

0

1

0

3

0

0

0.02

.002

K Schwarber

4

0

0

0

0

0

2

0.75

-.027

J Heyward

5

0

1

0

0

0

1

0.74

-.063

B Zobrist

5

1

2

0

0

0

2

0.72

-.151

Total

37

9

11

1

9

7

12

0.58

.221

Writer's Note: The daily selections of the three Heroes and three Goats are based solely on the top three and bottom three WPA scores for the game. The selections are not based on my subjective opinion.

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Jake Arrieta (.274). How nice is it to see that he hasn't missed a stride since last season ended?
  • Hero / Sidekick #1 (tie) - Anthony Rizzo (.127). Got the party started with his run-scoring single in the first.
  • Hero / Sidekick #2 (tie) - Miguel Montero (.127). If you had Miggy in the "first Cubs homer of the season" office pool, congratulations! You can collect your 10 BCB points from... somewhere. I'm not sure where the point dispenser is anymore.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Ben Zobrist (-.151). Sometimes it's tough being the new kid in town. Especially when you're the older kid.
  • Goat - Jason Heyward (-.063). Hey, just how much are the Cubs paying these guys anyway?! #OpeningNightOverreactions
  • Kid - Kyle Schwarber (-.027). Almost had a hit in the seventh but a nice play by Johnny Giavotella kept him off of the hit board for the evening.
RANKINGS THROUGH GAME 1:

Heroes

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

Jake Arrieta

1

0

0

3

Anthony Rizzo

0

0.5

0.5

1.5

Miguel Montero

0

0.5

0.5

1.5

Goats

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

Ben Zobrist

1

0

0

3

Jason Heyward

0

1

0

2

Kyle Schwarber

0

0

1

1

Overall

Hero

Goat

+/-

Jake Arrieta

3

0

3

Anthony Rizzo

1.5

0

1.5

Miguel Montero

1.5

0

1.5

Kyle Schwarber

0

1

-1

Jason Heyward

0

2

-2

Ben Zobrist

0

3

-3