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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 38

Now that’s more like it! Cubs win 9-5.

Happ continues to shine.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that one was quite a bit more enjoyable than some other recent games. Of course we’d have loved something even more lopsided and maybe a few less runs allowed, but there were some very positive signs in this one. There were hits with runners on base. There were hits for some guys who have been in real serious tailspins. And there was Kris Bryant back in the lineup. All in all, this was a good one.

Something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, even on an expansion team, is that all eight of the Cubs position players in this game spent time in the Cubs minor league system. Four former first-round picks for the Cubs were in the lineup (Russell was also a first-round pick for the Athletics). All together, 7,755 out of the 7,908 career plate appearances prior to last night’s game for the Cubs lineup (98 percent) have come in the Cubs organization. That’s about as homegrown as a lineup can possibly get.

Carl Edwards Jr. and Hector Rondon are a bit of a cherry on top as each had a scoreless appearance and both have also spent their entire major league career with the Cubs after being acquired from the Rangers and Indians respectively. Kudos to the Cubs front office for the many ways in which they’ve found talent for this team.

As for the Heroes and Goats themselves, as a reminder, Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA (Win Probability Added — here’s a good explanation of how WPA works) and are not in any way subjective. Many days WPA will not tell the story of what happened, but often it can give at least a glimpse to who rose to the occasion in a high leverage moment or who didn’t get the job done in that moment.

Game Chart:

Source: FanGraphs


  • Superhero - Ian Happ (.156). These days are always more fun when several guys contribute to the win. Happ was the leader of the attack. Ian walked with a man on third in the first and eventually scoring, homered in the fifth to extend the Cubs lead to 5-3, and walked with the bases loaded in the sixth. Quite a start to Happ’s big league career.
  • Hero - Willson Contreras (.152). Contreras came up with one of the big blows of the night in the first inning when he had a two-out, two-run double. Willson added another single in the third.
  • Sidekick - Kyle Schwarber (.094). Kyle hit a moon shot into the right field bleachers with one out in the second to extend the Cubs lead to 4-2. He also had a one out single in the sixth with a man on and eventually came around to score the Cubs seventh run of the day.


  • Billy Goat - Javier Baez (-.062). Javy was 0 for 4 with a strike out. None of his at bats were particularly high leverage, but this is what happens when the team has a big night and you are one of the few who don’t get in on the party.
  • Goat - Koji Uehara (-.054). Koji allowed two hits including a home run as the Reds cut the Cubs lead to 7-5. The home run was by Joey Votto who is posting another outstanding season in a long, excellent career.
  • Kid - Addison Russell (-.052). Addison did hit a home run in the eighth to make it 9-5, but that was unable to reverse much of the damage done to his WPA earlier in the game. Addison popped out with the bases loaded and one out in the first resulting in a -.072 WPA.

Year to Date Standings (italics means player no longer in the organization):

  • Anthony Rizzo 17
  • Wade Davis 9
  • Tommy La Stella 8
  • Kyle Hendricks 7
  • Ian Happ 6
  • Jon Jay 4
  • Mike Montgomery 4
  • Eddie Butler 3
  • Kyle Schwarber 3
  • Miguel Montero 2
  • Kris Bryant 2
  • Matt Szczur 2
  • Albert Almora 1
  • Justin Grimm 1
  • Felix Pena 1
  • Brian Duensing 1
  • Jason Heyward 0
  • Hector Rondon 0
  • Carl Edwards -2
  • Pedro Strop -3
  • Willson Contreras -4
  • Addison Russell -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Jon Lester -5
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • John Lackey -6
  • Ben Zobrist -6
  • Koji Uehara -7
  • Jake Arrieta -8
  • Javier Baez -15

Ian Happ moves into fifth place while Javier Baez extends his deficit at the bottom of the list.

We’ll also continue on the tradition of selecting your Cuyler Player of the Game (Kiki Cuyler recorded the highest single game WPA in Cubs history).

Next game tonight as Kyle Hendricks takes the ball as the Cubs look to continue their recent dominance over the Reds. Next column tomorrow morning.


Who was the player of the game in your opinion?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Ian Happ
    (139 votes)
  • 13%
    Willson Contreras
    (27 votes)
  • 5%
    Kyle Schwarber
    (11 votes)
  • 10%
    Kris Bryant
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (leave in comments below)
    (0 votes)
198 votes total Vote Now