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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 98

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White Sox beat Cubs 3-1 because... baseball.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Chicago Cubs
Kyle Hendricks Returns.
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Well, Lucy moved the football again. Oof.

The Cubs came in having won eight of nine. The Sox came in having lost nine straight. Easy one to call, right? Wrong. The teams didn’t follow the script and the Cubs lost. On the bright side, Kyle Hendricks returned. There were some strike outs both looking and on swing and miss. Those are good signs for Kyle. It looked like some of the deception was there. The stamina wasn’t and the results weren’t lights out. But they were good enough that Kyle left during the fifth inning following the White Sox tying the game at 1-1.

On the down side, the Cubs were hitless in ten at bats with runners in scoring position. The Cubs have actually fared very well in those situations recently, but not on this day. As unexpected as it is, I’m going to tip the cap to journeyman starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez. It seemed like the Cubs just missed about 10 pitches that would have changed the course of this game. Most often I find that has to do with some late movement that was unexpected. Regardless if it was to Gonzalez’ credit or the Cubs failures, the Cubs never solved the riddle and took the loss.

This is definitely not one to dwell too much on. The Cubs will get right back at it today and have a chance to turn it right back around. So let’s get right to the numbers, see what they say about yesterday’s game and then turn the page. 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 Monday, July 24th:


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Jon Jay (.228). Often times it is hard to find a hero in a game like this. But today it was no challenge. Jon Jay had four singles in four trips to the plate. Jay has been a very nice bench player for this team. On the season, across 218 plate appearances he has a .304/.382/.398 line.
  • Hero - Pedro Strop (.055). With the Cubs trailing 2-1, Pedro worked a perfect seventh inning including strike outs of rookie Yoan Moncada and slugger Jose Abreu. Pedro has a 2.65 ERA (3.57 FIP) and a 1.152 WHIP over his 44 appearances (37.1 innings).
  • Sidekick - Kyle Hendricks (.050). He only recorded one out in the fifth before departing. The good news? Five strikeouts and no walks. The not so good? Eight hits. Hopefully Kyle can find his form as he settles back into the rotation.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Jason Heyward (-.227). It’s only two games, but so far leading off hasn’t been kind. Jason was hitless in five at-bats yesterday including leaving runners on second and third in the second, and flying out with first and second and only one out in the seventh.
  • Goat - Kyle Schwarber (-.138). The other Kyle did have a single in this one late, but earlier he’d flied out with two outs and a runner on third in the third and grounded into a double play.
  • Kid - Willson Contreras (-.119). Willson has been a driving force for this team lately. But inexplicably, the bat never came off of the shoulder in the ninth inning with two outs and the tying runs on first and second.

This one just wasn’t a lot of fun. I’m totally sure all of your White Sox friends were totally gracious about it too. At least we should have the last laugh overall for a few years now.

With that, let’s take a look at the 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.

Cumulative Standings (Italics indicates no longer with the organization):

  • Anthony Rizzo 32
  • Willson Contreras 22
  • Kris Bryant 16
  • Wade Davis 14
  • Jon Jay 8
  • Mike Montgomery 7
  • Kyle Schwarber 6
  • Miguel Montero 6
  • Tommy La Stella 5
  • Kyle Hendricks 5
  • Justin Grimm 3
  • Felix Pena 3
  • Jose Quintana 3
  • Matt Szczur 2
  • Brian Duensing 2
  • Eddie Butler 1
  • Pedro Strop 1
  • Albert Almora Jr. 0
  • Mark Zagunis 0
  • Seth Frankoff -1
  • Dylan Floro -1
  • Ian Happ -3
  • Hector Rondon -3
  • Pierce Johnson -3
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Carl Edwards Jr. -6
  • Victor Caratini -6
  • Jason Heyward -7
  • Addison Russell -10
  • Jon Lester -11
  • Jake Arrieta -12
  • Koji Uehara -13
  • John Lackey -15
  • Ben Zobrist -16
  • Javier Baez -26

Jon Jay moves back into the top five with his strong day. Jason Heyward drops into the bottom ten with his tough day.

At least the Cubs get right back at it today and we don’t have to dwell on this one too long. John Lackey makes his second start since spending time on the disabled list with plantar fascitiis. John was pretty effective the last time out against the Atlanta Braves. John has had pretty good success against the White Sox including last year when he held them to one run over six innings. Carlos Rodon has only made four starts this year due to injury issues of his own. The last two times out he’s gotten hammered. In his defense, one of those starts was in Colorado and the other in Los Angeles. Carlos started against the Cubs back in 2015 and was outstanding, but obviously this Cubs team has had a world of change since then. Let’s hope the Cubs can continue the recently struggles for Rodon who is a promising young pitcher for the White Sox.

I’ll be back tomorrow to recap what will hopefully be the Cubs’ ninth win in 11 tries. For now though, let’s finish with a poll. Yesterday you selected Jon Lester as Player of the Week for last week. Today we’ll vote on the Goat of the game for the Cubs.

Poll

Who was the Goat of the game for the Cubs?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Jason Heyward
    (17 votes)
  • 10%
    Kyle Schwarber
    (6 votes)
  • 28%
    Willson Contreras
    (16 votes)
  • 5%
    Ian Happ
    (3 votes)
  • 16%
    Koji Uehara
    (9 votes)
  • 8%
    Other (Please leave your answer below in the comments)
    (5 votes)
56 votes total Vote Now