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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Off Day Edition

A look at the top 10 Hero and Goat performances to date in 2017.

Willson celebrates another huge home run
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I’ve been promising myself that I would put together a list of the top 10 positive and negative scores of the year for the Cubs. I’ve done so and I thought some of you would find this information interesting.


  • Anthony Rizzo: .584, May 7 — The 18-inning Yankees game. Anthony had just one hit in nine plate appearances. He did draw three walks and was hit by a pitch (and struck out three times). The biggest contribution was his hit by pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth (.387). It tied the score 4-4. His lead off double in the twelfth inning did most of the rest of work (.173).
  • Kyle Schwarber: .570, June 3 — Just one hit in three tries. But the hit was a grand slam. At the time, the Cubs were losing 3-1 to the Cardinals. At .605, one of the single biggest events of the Cubs season to date...
  • Jon Jay: .558, June 29th — ...but it was topped just about four weeks later. Two-out, two-run double in the top of the ninth with the score 4-3 in favor of the Nationals at the time.
  • Willson Contreras: .544, August 3 — This one is recent enough that it hasn’t started to slip from anyone’s memory I’m sure. Willson had three hits, two home runs, six RBI and helped the Cubs erase a 6-1 deficit against Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks. The big WPA contribution was a two run single (.380) in the seventh that gave the Cubs the lead at 7-6.
  • Willson Contreras: .516, June 16 — A two hit, one walk, three RBI day against the Pirates. The big blow here was an RBI double (.320) in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game at 4-4.
  • Addison Russell: .480 April 19 — There haven’t been a lot of walk offs this year for the Cubs. This was one of them. Addison Russell hit a three run home run (.365) to beat the Brewers 7-4.
  • Jon Lester: .441, April 16 — What does it look like for a starting pitcher to get here? Jon Lester threw seven innings of shutout ball. The difference between this and other performances by the starters? The game was scoreless going into the seventh. Tommy La Stella drove in the first run in this game pinch hitting for Jon.
  • Willson Contreras: .417, April 2 — two hits and three RBI on the day, but there is no question he is here because of the three-run home run (.363) he hit in the top of the ninth against the Cardinals to tie the score 3-3. Of course we are sad on this day that Willson is facing time on the DL, but also depressed that two of his three best performances by WPA this year came in Cubs losses.
  • Mike Montgomery: .410, May 4 — This is our first performance by a reliever. Mike threw the tenth, eleventh and twelfth innings in a 4-4 game. against the Phillies. Fun tidbit, the Cubs won this game on a walk off fielder’s choice/error off the bat of Matt Szczur.
  • Justin Grimm: .406, April 10 — We follow one reliever up with another. In an outing I imagine Justin will never forget, he entered the game in the seventh inning against the Dodgers. The Cubs were leading 2-1 but the first three Dodgers had reached base on two walks sandwiched around a catcher’s interference. Justin got Joc Pederson to fly out to short right and Adrew Toles to ground into a double play and preserved the lead. This game ultimately ended in an Anthony Rizzo walkoff single in the ninth off Kenley Jansen.


  • Hector Rondon: -.728, May 5 — Hector was handed a 2-0 lead against the Yankees and threw one inning, allowing three hits, a walk, and three runs. The big blow was a two-out, three-run home run by Brett Gardner (-.737). The biggest single event of any kind in this Cubs season.
  • Carl Edwards Jr.: -.710, August 6 — Carl came in with one out and a runner on first. The Cubs were leading 4-3 at the time against the Nationals. Carl allowed two hits, an intentional walk and a hit by pitch. Among the hits was a grand slam by Matt Wieters.
  • Koji Uehara: -.538, April 16 --- Koji was handed a 1-0 lead to start the eighth inning against the Pirates. He allowed two hits and two walks without recording an out. Three runs scored, even though only two were earned.
  • Pedro Strop: -.532, April 15 — One day earlier Pedro Strop came with two outs and the Cubs leading 6-5 against the Pirates. There was a man on first. He allowed a walk to the first batter and a three-run home run (.502) to Andrew McCutchen.
  • Jon Lester: -.483, July 9 — Another pretty memorable game on this list. Jon Lester threw only two thirds of an inning and allowed six hits and three walks. An error contributed to the carnage, but in all 10 runs scored before Jon left the game.
  • Jon Lester: -.434, May 28 — In a matchup against Clayton Kershaw, Jon threw three and a third innings and allowed seven hits and two walks while allowing six runs. The sad part of this game was that Rizzo, Contreras and Javier Baez all homered off of Kershaw in the game but the Cubs ultimately lost 9-4.
  • Carl Edwards Jr.: -.429, June 29 — This is actually the third straight game that was a Jon Lester start. Carl came into the game with a 2-1 lead to start the seventh against the Nationals. He walked the first batter and Anthony Rendon followed with a go ahead home run. The Cubs came back to win this one 5-4.
  • Wade Davis: -.410, August 3 — The closer has a lot of opportunity to end up down here and so it is a credit that Wade is only here once. Wade came into the ninth inning of a game tied 8-8. He allowed home runs to the second (-.381) and third batters he faced.
  • Brett Anderson: -.401, May 6 — Brett lasted one third of an inning and allowed six hits and five runs. And of course because baseball is weird, the one out was a strikeout. The Yankees went on to win the game 11-6. This was Anderson’s last game as a Cub.

As usual I’m going to end with a poll. I’m considering taking a look at Heroes and Goats for some seasons from the past as a way to keep the column alive after the season ends. Fangraphs goes as far back as 1974. I thought I could look at some seasons that were memorable (1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008). I’m trying to gauge interest as I won’t waste the time if there isn’t interest.


Would you be interested in a post documenting Heroes and Goats from classic seasons?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    (67 votes)
  • 15%
    (14 votes)
  • 12%
    (12 votes)
93 votes total Vote Now