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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 100

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Arrieta dominates; Cubs win again!

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Chicago White Sox
Rizzo powers the offense to another win
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night looked like one of those nights where Jake Arrieta had his no-hit stuff. And indeed, the White Sox were hitless through four innings and into the fifth. But then the Cubs busted the game open in the top of the fifth, a half inning that took about 38 minutes to complete. There were two pitching changes, a couple of other mound visits to stall for time to get pitchers ready, two singles, two walks, a double and an error. In all, the Cubs added four runs onto a 1-0 lead. At that point, I wondered if it wasn’t for the best to allow a hit so there wasn’t a temptation to push Jake past the 100 pitch mark to chase a third no-no. Alas, it wasn’t to be as Omar Narvaez had a one out double after Yoan Moncada drew a walk. The White Sox got a sacrifice fly for a run. Jake would also allow a solo home run to Moncada with two outs in the seventh. That was the end of the line for Jake, but he turned in another dominant start.

Offensively, the Cubs had a balanced attack. Only Jason Heyward and Ian Happ failed to get at least one hit. Heyward drew two walks though and scored twice. By my count, the Cubs were 4 for 13 with runners in scoring position. They scored eight runs and only one of those came on a home run. The big hit was a base clearing double by Anthony Rizzo in the long fifth inning. The Cubs did lose two runners on the bases with overly aggressive base running and had a sacrifice fly.

With the win, the Cubs have won 10 of 12 and now have sole possession of first place, With a win and/or a loss tonight, the Cubs will be in first place when they open a series with the formerly first place Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

On that happy note, let’s get to the numbers, and see what they say about yesterday’s game. 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 Wednesday, July 27:


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Jake Arrieta (.236). Six and two thirds innings with two hits, two runs, five strikes outs and two walks. That’s now 13 games over which he has a 3.20 ERA and an opponent OPS of .637. If you cut that to just July, it is a 2.25 ERA and an opponent OPS of .555. We’ll never see 2015 Jake again, but he’s been very, very good for a while now.
  • Hero - Anthony Rizzo (.155). It’s been a little while since Anthony had a game like this. Three hits and a walk, four RBI, and a run scored. For the series, he has reached 10 times in 15 plate appearances. Hopefully he can stay hot right on through the weekend.
  • Sidekick - Ben Zobrist (.104). A hit and a walk. The hit was worth .078 by itself as it set the table for Kyle Schwarber’s RBI single in the fourth to open the scoring. It’s been a tough year for Ben without question. But in the last six games, he has a .400/.458/.600 slash line. Maybe he is finally getting started this season.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Ian Happ (-.126). Ian is going through a really tough stretch right now. Last night he was hitless in five tries. On a night where there was traffic on the bases all night long, four of those five at bats came with men on base.
  • Goat - Addison Russell (-.098). WPA is a measure of timing as much as anything. There are nights when two for five with a home run would make you the Superhero. Not when the home run comes after it is already 7-3. Addison is largely here because of his fly out with the bases loaded to end the fourth (-.073).
  • Kid - Victor Caratini (.001). And last night’s tough luck player is Victor Caratini. Almost every night a .001 goes unmentioned in this column. Victor actually figured in the scoring after a very nice looking hit down the left-field line to start the fifth inning. But this was such a dominating win that we get a positive WPA on the goat podium.

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 three points for Billy Goat, two for Goat and one for Kid. Here then are the standings.

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

  • Anthony Rizzo 34
  • Willson Contreras 24
  • Wade Davis 14
  • Kris Bryant 13
  • 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
  • Hector Rondon -3
  • Pierce Johnson -3
  • Carl Edwards Jr. -3
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Ian Happ -6
  • Victor Caratini -7
  • Jason Heyward -7
  • Jake Arrieta -9
  • Jon Lester -11
  • Addison Russell -12
  • Koji Uehara -13
  • Ben Zobrist -14
  • John Lackey -17
  • Javier Baez -27

Anthony Rizzo stretches his lead back to 10 at the top. Jake Arrieta leapfrogs rotation mate Jon Lester in the standings. We’ll see if Jon has anything to say about that in his next start. Ian Happ drops into the bottom 10 in the standings.

Tonight the Cubs wrap up the Crosstown Classic series with the White Sox. These games have been anything but classic, but the Cubs have two wins and with a win tonight can win the series and the Cup. Obviously the Cubs have much loftier goals, but winning this series would keep momentum rolling forward into a big series with the Brewers and a tough homestand next week against the Diamondbacks and Nationals.

Jon Lester takes the ball for the Cubs. He’s had two very good starts in a row since the All-Star break, following two rough ones before the break. Two years ago the White Sox hit Jon pretty well in his start against them, but that was a very different team than it is today. Mike Pelfrey takes the ball for the White Sox. He’s had a decent season for the Sox, though high pitch counts have been an issue for him. He walked six Royals in his last start in only five innings, though he only allowed one run. He hasn’t started against the Cubs since 2011. I’ll have a recap of the game tomorrow morning.

Before we go, we’ll have a poll. Yesterday, Willson Contreras received 60% of the vote as the hero of the game. Willson will be back in there today with Lester catching after getting the night off on Wednesday. Today we’ll vote on the hero of Wednesday night’s game.

Poll

Who was the Hero of Wednesday night’s game for the Cubs?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Jake Arrieta
    (97 votes)
  • 27%
    Anthony Rizzo
    (37 votes)
  • 0%
    Ben Zobrist
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Other (leave your suggestion in the notes below)
    (2 votes)
137 votes total Vote Now