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Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 117

Reds pitching woes wake up Cubs offense; Cubs win 15-5.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs
Jon Jay has a big night; Bryant remains hot in Cubs win.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing like seeing Reds pitching to ignite the Cubs offense. I imagine a few people were a little nervous last night when the Cubs struggled through a long second inning and surrendered two runs quickly after taking a 2-0 lead in the first. The Cubs offense exploded in the fourth and never looked back in this one, winning 15-5.

Another day comes off of the schedule. The Cubs add a half game on their division lead as the rest of the N.L. Central took Monday night off. 45 games remain in the season and the Cubs have a game and a half lead in the Central. Three more games remain with the Reds. Hopefully the offense remains hot.

Before the game, Ben Zobrist was scratched from the lineup with neck stiffness. We also learned that Addison Russell’s foot injury continues to limit his activities. He was seen on the field before the game participating in activities. Hopefully he will be able to return to action soon. Joe Maddon told the media that Addison would need a short rehab stint before coming back to the team. In the meantime, Monday night was the fourth of 10 consecutive games for the Cubs. This means that unless Kris Bryant (or someone else) takes a start at shortstop that Javier Baez will be starting 10 consecutive days at shortstop. That would also run him to starting 17 consecutive games at short for the Cubs. That’s a tall order for anyone. Especially for someone like Javy who plays the game so hard.

With that, let’s turn our attention to the main focus of this column and take a look at what WPA had to say about Heroes and Goats. 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, August 14:

Source: FanGraphs


  • Superhero - Jon Jay (.251). His first three at bats on the night were a single, double and triple. He was also intentionally walked with a seven-run lead, because the Reds are lame. Seriously, who walks Jon Jay intentionally with Kris Bryant insanely hot and just two batters behind him? The big WPA event for Jay was his triple in the fourth with two outs and Jason Heyward on first (.150). That hit was the first of a barrage of hits that chased the Reds starter and included Jay’s triple and back to back home runs by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
  • Hero - Kris Bryant (.151). Kris continues his hot streak. I’ve been waiting for him to get this hot all season long and it comes at a great time as the team looks to wrap up its second consecutive division title. Kris had a double, the home run and a walk. The home run came with Tommy La Stella on first and was Kris’ biggest WPA even of the night (.132).
  • Sidekick - Tommy La Stella (.131). Tommy was a late addition to the lineup after Ben Zobrist was scratched. He had three hits and reached on a sacrifice fly that was missed in right field. The big WPA event for Tommy was the single ahead of Kris Bryant’s home run (.094). Tommy scored three runs and did a great job setting the table on Monday night. He’s no gem on defense, but his bat is good enough to at least be a platoon starter somewhere.


  • Billy Goat - Alex Avila (-.110). Alex just couldn’t get in on the hit parade. I’ve always thought it must be a little frustrating when your teammates generate 15 hits, four walks and three hit by pitches on the night and you never reach base. Alex was hitless in five tries. The biggest negative event was lining out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third with the score tied at 2-2.
  • Goat - Javier Baez (-.055). These are the days the frustrate Javy Baez fans who read this column. Javy had two hits including a two run home run (off Scooter Gennett!) in this one. The thing is when you hit a two run home run to extend the lead from eight to 10, the WPA effect is .000. The biggest negative event for Javy was a strike out for the first out in the fourth with Jason Heyward on first.
  • Kid - Victor Caratini (.000). When a game gets lopsided like that, someone is going to get a crummy podium appearance. Everyone who came into the game late as the teams emptied the bench got the same WPA score for the game. Happ reached base in his at bat via hit by pitch, Justin Grimm pitched a scoreless inning and a third. That leaves Victor Caratini who made an out. So he gets this spot.

Anthony Rizzo has three hits and drives in five runs and doesn’t make the podiums at all. Jason Heyward also reached base three times which is often good enough to sneak into one of the spots. It was one of those nights where everyone wanted a bat in their hands (even Mike Montgomery!).

Next, we take a look at the cumulative standings. 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.

  • Willson Contreras 32
  • Anthony Rizzo 27
  • Kris Bryant 20
  • Wade Davis 13
  • Jon Jay 11
  • Kyle Hendricks 7
  • Mike Montgomery 6
  • Miguel Montero 5
  • Justin Grimm 5
  • Tommy La Stella 4
  • Alex Avila 3
  • Pedro Strop 3
  • Jake Arrieta 3
  • Kyle Schwarber 2
  • Felix Pena 2
  • Matt Szczur 2
  • Jose Quintana 1
  • Eddie Butler 1
  • Brian Duensing 0
  • Mark Zagunis 0
  • Seth Frankoff -1
  • Jack Leathersich -1
  • Justin Wilson -2
  • Pierce Johnson -3
  • Hector Rondon -3
  • Albert Almora -4
  • Ian Happ -4
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Victor Caratini -7
  • Carl Edwards Jr. -8
  • Jon Lester -8
  • Koji Uehara -11
  • Jason Heyward -13
  • Addison Russell -15
  • Ben Zobrist -18
  • John Lackey -18
  • Javier Baez -20

Javy Baez moves back into sole position of last place despite picking up a couple of hits. Jon Jay moves back into double digits on the season. Kris Bryant’s torrid hitting lifts him into the exclusive plus 20 club. I still have to believe with the Contreras injury that Anthony Rizzo will win the top spot at the end of the year, but first Contreras and now Kris Bryant are inserting themselves into the race.

Tonight, the Cubs take on the Reds again. The Cubs will be looking to win their fourth in their last five and to extend the Reds current losing streak to four. Kyle Hendricks is on the mound for the Cubs. Kyle hasn’t recorded a win since May 24 due to injuries and ineffectiveness. But Kyle did beat these Reds in Wrigley Field on May 17 and has a 3-0 record against them in his last four starts against them dating to last year.

Luis Castillo takes the ball for the Reds. Luis sports a 2-5 record on the season. Three starts ago, he had an eight inning start against the Marlins in which he surrendered just one run, four baserunners and struck out six. He also had a start in July in which he held the Diamondbacks scoreless over six and two thirds while allowing four baserunners and striking out eight. So the potential is there. This may not be a lay up. Castillo is righthanded, but has some pretty significant reverse splits, so it will be interesting to see tonight’s lineup.

As always, I end with a poll. Yesterday, Kris Bryant received 86% of the vote for his blistering week at the plate. Jake Arrieta got most of the rest of the votes for his two strong starts last week. Today we’ll vote on Hero of the Game.


Who was the Cubs Hero of the Game for Monday?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Jon Jay
    (97 votes)
  • 20%
    Kris Bryant
    (29 votes)
  • 4%
    Tommy La Stella
    (7 votes)
  • 5%
    Anthony Rizzo
    (8 votes)
141 votes total Vote Now