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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 69

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The Cubs score late and win to move a game over .500.

Albert Almora Jr. drives in the winning run
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Before last night, the Cubs had last won consecutive games on June 5 and 6 which were actually the fourth and fifth consecutive wins in their longest winning streak of the season to date. Last night, the Cubs scored two runs in the seventh inning and then held on to win their second consecutive game. The win moved the Cubs back to one game over .500 and coupled with a Brewers loss, moved the Cubs back to a game and a half out of first place. There is a lot of baseball still to be played and the Cubs are still hanging around despite how much they’ve struggled for most of the season.

Let’s dive into last nights game and see what WPA had to say about Heroes and Goats. As a reminder, 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 for Monday, June 19:


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Albert Almora Jr. (.309). Lead off the third inning with a walk, followed a Baez double with a walk in the fifth and doubled in the decisive run in the seventh. Albert is hitting .355/.429/.516 in June and on the season is hitting .378/.472/.578 against left handed pitching.
  • Hero - Willson Contreras (.175). His home run in the seventh inning tied the game 2-2. It happened one year to the day of his major league debut which was a pinch-hit home run. Willson has hit .429/.467/.929 over the last week and for the season has hit .283/.377/.483 against left handed pitching.
  • Sidekick - Anthony Rizzo (.170). I hope he doesn’t get suspended for that collision at home and I’m glad he wasn’t injured doing so. He is some kind of hot right now. Last night he had a bunt single against the shift in the first, a sacrifice fly in the third, and a triple in the sixth. His OPS+ is now up to 140, just a few ticks below the 146 he’s put up the last two seasons as he currently has the second highest OPS of his career.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Kris Bryant (-.224). One of the things that has quietly been missing for the Cubs is Kris’ bat. He’s so good that his dry spells aren’t that bad, but since May 6 he owns a slash line of .202/.365/.452. Not horrid, but just 12 RBI in a 36 game stretch. Heyward has more RBI than Bryant and both Baez and Schwarber have as many.
  • Goat - Ian Happ (-.200). The lack of healthy bodies has sapped Maddon’s abilities to find the best match-ups for players. Ian Happ shows some of the signs of that. He is hitting .185/.241/.444 against left handed pitching. It had been said when he came up that he was a more polished hitter left handed.
  • Kid - Jon Jay (-.070). I’ve been asking for more playing time for him and Jon did have a single and a walk last night. But he is down here because of the -.133 he got for grounding into a double play with runners on first and second in the fifth and the Cubs down a run.

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 37
  • Kyle Schwarber 10
  • Wade Davis 9
  • Willson Contreras 9
  • Mike Montgomery 7
  • Tommy La Stella 6
  • Kris Bryant 4
  • Kyle Hendricks 4
  • Jon Jay 3
  • Miguel Montero 3
  • Felix Pena 3
  • Matt Szczur 2
  • Justin Grimm 2
  • Albert Almora 2
  • Brian Duensing 1
  • Ian Happ 0
  • Eddie Butler -1
  • Carl Edwards -1
  • Seth Frankoff -1
  • Hector Rondon -2
  • Pierce Johnson -3
  • Jason Heyward -4
  • Pedro Strop -4
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Addison Russell -6
  • Koji Uehara -7
  • Ben Zobrist -8
  • Jon Lester -10
  • Jake Arrieta -11
  • John Lackey -14
  • Javier Baez -21

Anthony Rizzo adds another point as he inches towards 40 with only one other player in double digits. Willson Contreras moves into fourth place and Albert Almora moves to the positive side of the ledger.

Tonight the Cubs will look for a third straight win and will send Mike Montgomery to the mound. I’ll have a recap for you of that game in the morning.

As always, we’ll end with a poll. Yesterday, Anthony Rizzo receive 117 out of 122 votes for player of the week for last week. Today, we’ll vote on last night’s player of the game. I suspect this one will be quite a bit closer.

Poll

Who was the Hero of game 69 in your opinion?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Albert Almora
    (21 votes)
  • 52%
    Willson Contreras
    (53 votes)
  • 21%
    Anthony Rizzo
    (22 votes)
  • 1%
    Wade Davis
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (Please leave your opinion in the comments)
    (3 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now