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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 70

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The Cubs shut out the Padres to move two games over .500.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Chicago Cubs
Rizzo does it again
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Cubs have been maddeningly inconsistent this year. They’ve only been as much as four games above .500 and only as far below as two games below .500. It seems like they’ve been .500 most of the season. One of the reasons for that has been starting pitching that has struggled. Mike Montgomery did not struggle on Tuesday night. He allowed just three hits and two walks in six strong innings. It was only his eighth start as a Cubs, but by game score (68) it was his best yet. In his three starts since being pressed into action with the injury to Kyle Hendricks, he has pitched four, five and now six innings, going one inning further each time. Hopefully he can continue to pitch like he did last night.

The other story of the game was the continued onslaught known as Anthony Rizzo. With this current hot streak, Rizzo is now just .001 behind last year’s OPS which was the highest of his career. Anthony lead off last night’s game with a home run for the third time since he was inserted into the lead off slot. He has reached safely for the seventh consecutive time leading off the game (in seven games). The Cubs record in those seven games is 5-2. Certainly he’s not the only reason for the hot streak, but at the same time, he is a reason. During that stretch he is hitting .429/.469/1.000. It doesn’t get a lot better than that.

All in all, the Cubs were able to put together a 4-0 win and move to within half a game of the Milwaukee Brewers who lost last night at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates who are very quietly now tied for third, only four games out of first place themselves. This could shape up to be an interesting division race.

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 Tuesday, June 20:


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Mike Montgomery (.388). Picked up his first win of the season with six strong innings. Let’s hope he can string another one together in his next start which figures to be in Miami on Sunday.
  • Hero - Addison Russell (.088). Two singles in the game, including one in the fourth inning with runners on first and second that scored a run to increase the lead to 2-0. From June 11 to now, Addison has a line of .346/.370/.769.
  • Sidekick - Anthony Rizzo (.080). Pulling back from the small sample size as a lead off hitter, let’s go back to May 16th to present. Over his last 33 games and 143 plate appearances, he is .336/.455/.707. That is sustained excellence. His BABIP in that stretch is only .298 which is only slightly above his career average (but .044 ahead of his season to date mark).

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Javier Baez (-.096). Despite taking the top spot here, Javy did have a hit and scored a run and looks like he might be getting into one of his hot streaks. He’s 5-11 with two doubles in the last three games (.455/.455/.636).
  • Goat - Willson Contreras (.-072). Started a game in left field for the first time this year and did have a hit in the game.
  • Kid - Tommy La Stella (-.039). Inserted into the game as a pinch hitter in the sixth with two outs and the bases loaded, and grounded out.

Next, 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 38
  • Kyle Schwarber 10
  • Mike Montgomery 10
  • Wade Davis 9
  • Willson Contreras 7
  • Tommy La Stella 5
  • 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
  • Addison Russell -4
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Koji Uehara -7
  • Ben Zobrist -8
  • Jon Lester -10
  • Jake Arrieta -11
  • John Lackey -14
  • Javier Baez -24

Anthony Rizzo continues to amass points at the top, Mike Montgomery moves into a tie for second and Javier Baez drops further into the cellar.

This afternoon, I’ll be in attendance rooting for the Cubs to extend this to a four game winning streak. Eddie Butler will be on the mound. Obviously, you can’t just erase your worst outing, but if you ignore the May 19 game he pitched in miserable, cold, rainy conditions, Eddie has been very good at home. In the other three home starts, he has thrown 15.2 innings, allowing 13 hits, five runs, and having eight strike outs against only four walks. On the other side of the coin, the Padres knocked him around pretty well in San Diego on May 30th. I’ll recap what will hopefully be another victory in the morning.

As always, we end with a poll. In yesterday’s poll, Willson Contreras received 52% of the vote as your Hero of the game for game 69. Today, we’ll vote on hero of the game for game 70.

Poll

Who was the Hero of the game for game 70?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Mike Montgomery
    (76 votes)
  • 1%
    Addison Russell
    (1 vote)
  • 17%
    Anthony Rizzo
    (16 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (leave your answer in the comments below)
    (0 votes)
93 votes total Vote Now