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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 51

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The Cubs lose 6-2 and fall to 25-26.

Eddie Butler allows a two-run homer
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not much of a Bonnie Tyler fan, but with all the due respect, I need a hero. This team has played anything but strong and fast and is certainly not fresh right now. The only silver lining to this road trip is that everyone has remained healthy. Beyond that, this trip has been a full out disaster.

Earl Weaver once said that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. In the last five games, the Cubs starting pitchers have five losses. Four earned runs in six innings, five earned runs in five innings, six earned runs in three plus innings, five earned runs in five innings, six earned runs in four plus innings. Those are the last five starts. In that, there is definitely momentum. But it is not positive momentum.

To be fair, the bats aren’t without blame either. They’ve managed a total of eight runs in those five games. When this team is going good, the bats sometimes bail out a bad start by scoring a bunch of runs. And some days, the pitching staff will return the favor by holding onto a 1-0 or 2-1 win. Right now, neither side of the ball is playing well.

Fortunately, the Milwaukee Brewers appear to be turning back into a pumpkin. Since winning the rain soaked May 19 game against the Cubs, they have won two and lost six. These St. Louis Cardinals are not the St. Louis Cardinals that have so often tormented the Cubs in recent years. The division is still winnable, but this team has bobbled away any chance at lapping the field early and coasting to a division title like they had last year. That proved to be invaluable in getting rest for guys who needed it, lining up the rotation, and in not grinding the team down in the regular season. Mathematically, of course, this team still could run away with the division. But this does not appear to be that season.

On that somber note, let’s take a look at what WPA had to say in regards to Heroes and Goats. As always, the Heroes and Goats themselves 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. Also note, for the purposes of Heroes and Goats, we ignore the results of pitchers while they are batting and hitters while they are pitching. With that, we get to the results.

Game Chart Tuesday, May 30:


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Kyle Schwarber (.172). The good, a home run to tie the game at two in the fifth, on an 0-2 pitch no less. The bad, still only one hit in four at bats on the day, with a hit by pitch among his other plate appearances.
  • Hero - Willson Contreras (.084). Willson drove in the first run with an RBI double in the second, to push the Cubs out to an early lead. Oddly, he was also hit by a pitch.
  • Sidekick - Jason Heyward (.026). Jason scored that first run after reaching base on a double of his own. He also singled in the fourth.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Eddie Butler (-.337). Allowed seven hits and three walks while only recording thirteen outs. At some point, Mike Montgomery probably deserves a chance at the fifth start spot.
  • Goat - Anthony Rizzo (-.128). Hitless in four tries. The last three of those tries all came with men on base and all of them ended innings. Anthony is amazingly adept at avoiding the goat podiums, but couldn’t avoid it last night.
  • Kid - Brian Duensing (-.083). Came into a 4-2 game with one out and runners on first and second. He struck out the first batter he faced, but the second hit a two run double.

Before we go, we’ll look at our year to date standings for Heroes and Goats. As a reminder, we award three points for Superhero, two for Hero, and one for Sidekick. And we deduct -3 points for Billy Goat, -2 for Goat and -1 for Kid. Here then are the standings.

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

  • Anthony Rizzo 20
  • Wade Davis 9
  • Tommy La Stella 8
  • Kyle Hendricks 6
  • Jon Jay 6
  • Kyle Schwarber 5
  • Mike Montgomery 4
  • Ben Zobrist 4
  • Miguel Montero 3
  • Felix Pena 3
  • Eddie Butler 2
  • Kris Bryant 2
  • Matt Szczur 2
  • Willson Contreras 2
  • Justin Grimm 1
  • Hector Rondon 0
  • Albert Almora 0
  • Brian Duensing -1
  • Carl Edwards -2
  • Jason Heyward -2
  • Jon Lester -3
  • Ian Happ -3
  • Pierce Johnson -3
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Pedro Strop -5
  • Addison Russell -5
  • Koji Uehara -7
  • Jake Arrieta -8
  • John Lackey -12
  • Javier Baez -15

And finally, we’ll have our poll. Yesterday, you were asked to weigh in with your opinion on the goat of the game for game 50. In one of our closer votes to date, Kyle Hendricks was the goat. Today with the loss, we will again vote on the goat of the game, this time for game 51.

The Cubs play their final game of the road trip this afternoon, looking to salvage one win. Jake Arrieta will take the mound. I’ll be back with a Heroes and Goats column in the morning tomorrow.

Poll

Who was the Goat of the Game for Game 51?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Eddie Butler
    (39 votes)
  • 17%
    Anthony Rizzo
    (10 votes)
  • 7%
    Brian Duensing
    (4 votes)
  • 3%
    Addison Russell
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Other (Please leave your choice in the comments below)
    (1 vote)
56 votes total Vote Now