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Cubs Heroes and Goats Weekend Wrap: Games 53-55

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Cubs sweep the Cardinals and move back over .500.

MLB: World Series-Cleveland Indians at Chicago Cubs
A welcome sight
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a few days make. When last I recapped, the Cubs were mired in a six-game losing streak. They’d also dropped to third place and two games under .500. But three straight wins turns the story a little bit. In an oddity, the Cubs now simultaneously own a six-game home winning streak and a six-game road losing streak. The Cubs have won 10 of their last 12 at home and as a result, they sit just one game out of first with about two thirds of the season remaining.

With that happy news, let’s get right to the WPA from the three game weekend series and see who the Heroes and Goats from the weekend were. 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 for Friday, June 2:


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Jason Heyward (.296). On different days at Wrigley Field, this may well have been a three-homer game. As it was, he drove in two runs in a game the Cubs won 3-2.
  • Hero - Anthony Rizzo (.206). From May 16 to the present, he is .290/.421/.629. Friday he got here by reaching base four times and scoring twice.
  • Sidekick - John Lackey (.170). Very strong bounce back performance after some rough starts. Seven innings with just two runs allowed and only four hits. Kept this game close long enough for the bats to do some damage.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Jon Jay (-.209). Grounding into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning was not the result Joe had in mind when he sent up Jay in a situation where the Cubs were looking for contact.
  • Goat - Addison Russell (-.097). Another tough day for Addison as he struck out twice in three hitless at bats.
  • Kid - Kyle Schwarber (-.045). Struck out twice in two tries before being lifted for a pinch hitter as the season-long nightmare continued.

Game Chart for Saturday, June 3:


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Kyle Schwarber (.570). One of the bigger WPA single events you’ll see. A two-out grand slam in the seventh inning in a game the Cubs were trailing 3-1 at the time. That at bat was good for .605 by itself.
  • Hero - Willson Contreras (.079). Singled and scored on the grand slam. From May 9 to the present, hitting .304/.379/.554.
  • Sidekick - Koji Uehara (.074). Worked a clean eighth inning following the grand slam.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Ben Zobrist (-.094). Hitless in three tries, each time making the first out of an inning.
  • Goat - Anthony Rizzo (-.083). Hitless in four at bats.
  • Kid - Jon Lester (-.057). A ho-hum start with six innings pitched and three runs allowed. But that pick off was a sight for sore eyes.

Game Chart for Sunday, June 4:


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Ian Happ (.388). His first career two-homer game including a three-run home run in the sixth that gave the Cubs the lead for a while. Had hits in all three games of the weekend after a 1-for-19 road trip (and a 2-28 stretch overall).
  • Hero - Albert Almora (.204). Had a key pinch hit single in the fourth inning ahead of Happ’s second home run.
  • Sidekick - Pedro Strop (.192). Had two very key relief appearances against his old nemesis over the weekend. In Sunday’s appearance, he faced five batters and retired them all, including stranding an inherited runner. This after retiring the only batter he faced on Friday after being brought in with the bases loaded.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Hector Rondon (-.314). This was not good. Came in to pitch the sixth with a two-run lead. Faced four batters, and the only one he retired was a run scoring ground out. Allowed two runs to cough up the lead.
  • Goat - Kyle Hendricks (-.263). Shortest outing for Kyle since late 2015. Just didn’t appear to have it and allowed four runs in four innings.
  • Kid - Ben Zobrist (.079). Hitless again on Sunday. Cooling off after a sustained hot streak.

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 Schwarber 7
  • Willson Contreras 6
  • Kyle Hendricks 4
  • Mike Montgomery 4
  • Jon Jay 3
  • Miguel Montero 3
  • Felix Pena 3
  • Eddie Butler 2
  • Kris Bryant 2
  • Matt Szczur 2
  • Albert Almora 2
  • Justin Grimm 1
  • Ben Zobrist 0
  • Brian Duensing -1
  • Carl Edwards -1
  • Jason Heyward -1
  • Hector Rondon -3
  • Pierce Johnson -3
  • Ian Happ -3
  • Jon Lester -4
  • Pedro Strop -4
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Jake Arrieta -5
  • Addison Russell -7
  • Koji Uehara -9
  • John Lackey -11
  • Javier Baez -15

The Cubs get right back in action tonight, starting a series with the Miami Marlins. The Marlins are seven games under .500 on the season but come off of a weekend sweep of their own, sweeping one of this season’s surprises, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Eddie Butler takes the mound tonight against former Cub Dan Straily. I will recap that game tomorrow morning. After that game, my next column will not run until June 19. On that day, I will bring you another Heroes and Goats Weekend Wrap edition.

Last Friday, you voted the whole offense as the goat of the game(week) following game 52. Today, let’s vote again for Cubs Player of the Week:

Poll

Who was the Chicago Cubs Player of the Week?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Willson Contreras: .300/.533/.500
    (17 votes)
  • 6%
    Javier Baez: .300/.300/.600
    (8 votes)
  • 18%
    Pedro Strop: 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP
    (24 votes)
  • 12%
    Wade Davis: 2 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP
    (16 votes)
  • 41%
    Carl Edwards: 4 appearances, 0 runs, 0.82 WHIP
    (53 votes)
  • 8%
    Other (please leave suggestion in comments)
    (11 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now