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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Games 80-84

Cubs win two of five and are once again .500.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Chicago Cubs Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I wouldn’t begin to know how to search the records, but I’m having trouble imagining a team has ever been this .500. I know this is one of the things I sound like a broken record on, but that’s because of the Cubs incredibly being stuck in neutral. 18 times this team has been exactly .500 since the season started. Four above is their high water mark and two below the low. It’s now been exactly a month since the Cubs were as high as three above and they were last two below on May 31. Many, many teams in baseball history have finished .500 and that number multiplies quickly as you go to a few games over or under. But has any team ever really just stayed within such a short range for a whole season?

Regardless of the answer to that question, let’s hope not. With five games to cover, today will be a no graph day. I’m going to give you the heroes and goats for each of the five games, we’ll look at the season standings and then we’ll finish with our usual poll. For this one, we’ll look at who was the top player over this five game stretch.

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.

Friday, June 30 (Game 80 - Cubs lose 5-0 to the Reds):

  • Superhero - Javier Baez (.033)
  • Hero - Willson Contreras (.007)
  • Sidekick - Hector Rondon (-.006)
  • Billy Goat - Mike Montgomery (-.122)
  • Goat - Victor Caratini (-.085)
  • Kid - Anthony Rizzo (-.083)

Saturday, July 1 (Game 81 - Cubs lose 5-3 to the Reds):

  • Superhero - Willson Contreras (.212)
  • Hero - Jon Jay (.108)
  • Sidekick - Brian Duensing (-.090)
  • Billy Goat - Eddie Butler (-.313)
  • Goat - Javier Baez (.254)
  • Kid - Albert Almora Jr. (-.119)

Sunday, July 2 (Game 82 - Cubs win 6-2 over the Reds):

  • Superhero - Jake Arrieta (.325)
  • Hero - Ian Happ (.288)
  • Sidekick - Willson Contreras (.068)
  • Billy Goat - Jon Jay (-.060)
  • Goat - Ben Zobrist (-.031)
  • Kid - Koji Uehara (-.023)

Tuesday, July 4 (Game 83 - Cubs lose 6-5 to the Rays):

  • Superhero - Anthony Rizzo (.114)
  • Hero - Jon Jay (.074)
  • Sidekick - Ian Happ (.054)
  • Billy Goat - Jon Lester (-.362)
  • Goat - Ben Zobrist (-.196)
  • Kid - Jason Heyward (-.100)

Wednesday, July 5 (Game 84 - Cubs win 7-5 over the Rays):

  • Superhero - Jon Jay (.366)
  • Hero - Anthony Rizzo (.155)
  • Sidekick - Ian Happ (.131)
  • Billy Goat - Ben Zobrist (-.174)
  • Goat - Addison Russell (-.087)
  • Kid - John Lackey (-.055)

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.

  • Anthony Rizzo 38
  • Willson Contreras 17
  • Wade Davis 11
  • Kyle Schwarber 10
  • Kris Bryant 8
  • Jon Jay 8
  • Mike Montgomery 7
  • Miguel Montero 6
  • Justin Grimm 5
  • Kyle Hendricks 4
  • Felix Pena 3
  • Tommy La Stella 2
  • Matt Szczur 2
  • Brian Duensing 1
  • Ian Happ 1
  • Mark Zagunis 0
  • Eddie Butler -1
  • Seth Frankoff -1
  • Hector Rondon -1
  • Pedro Strop -2
  • Victor Caratini -2
  • Albert Almora Jr. -3
  • Pierce Johnson -3
  • Carl Edwards Jr. -4
  • Jason Heyward -5
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Addison Russell -8
  • Jake Arrieta -9
  • Koji Uehara -10
  • Jon Lester -11
  • Ben Zobrist -15
  • John Lackey -16
  • Javier Baez -23

Quite a bit of movement near the bottom of the list. The double digit negative group is now five strong and there are now three fifteen or more below even. There continue to be five at double digit positive with Willson Contreras strongly stepping into the second spot. Jon Jay also moved several spots up on the list with a strong week.

Today the Cubs have a rainout makeup game against the Brewers at home. Mike Montgomery will be on the hill against Zach Davies. Interestingly, Zach is 4-1 over his last seven starts, but has a 4.62 ERA over that span. He allowed seven runs once in that stretch and four runs three times, but also allowed no runs in two of the others. He has not done well over his last five starts against the Cubs including a start April 9th against the Cubs. Mike Montgomery has pitched pretty well in his five starts for the Cubs, but has little to show for it. He did get knocked around a bit in his last start against the Reds so he’ll be looking to bounce back. He has not started against the Brewers this year.

Tomorrow I’ll recap today’s game with a normal Heroes and Goats column. I will then be away once again next week. After that, I should be in place until the end of the season for a normal Monday through Friday schedule as the Cubs try to return to the post season.

As usual, we end with a poll. In my last column, we selected the Hero of game 79. Jon Jay was the winner in that voting after some late game hitting heroics. So that provides a nice bookend to my time away. Today we’ll look at top performers over the last six games (I could only find a sort for the last week).


Who was the Cubs Player of the game for games 79-84?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Ian Happ - .375/.423/.750
    (24 votes)
  • 2%
    Javier Baez - .333/.400/.500
    (1 vote)
  • 5%
    Anthony Rizzo - .333/.481/.571
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    Willson Contreras - .318/.400/.500
    (3 votes)
  • 13%
    Jon Jay - .304/.333/.609
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    Jake Arrieta - Seven Innings, no runs, three baserunners and a win
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Wade Davis - Two innings, no runs, two baserunners and a save
    (0 votes)
37 votes total Vote Now