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Cubs Heroes and Goats Weekend Wrap: Games 134-136

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Cubs add two wins in three weekend games to take three of four from the Braves.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs
John Lackey makes a rare appearance in the Superhero spot.
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back from the long weekend. I hope it was a good one for all of you. When last I wrote, the Cubs had beaten the Braves 6-2 on Thursday. I’m sure those of you who follow the team very closely, that will seem like a very long time ago and that so much has happened since then. With that in mind, I’m going to try to move very quickly and not get too bogged down in statistics while at the same time trying to give a quick look at each of those last three games against the Braves. Later today there will be a second Heroes and Goats column in which we’ll talk about the first game of the Pirates series and then get back into our normal Monday through Friday rhythm.

So with that, we get right to the games. 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 Friday, September 1 (Cubs defeat Braves 2-0):


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero – John Lackey (.410). John finds himself on the Superhero podium for the first time since June 18. On the day he threw seven shutout innings allowing just five hits and no walks while striking out eight.
  • Hero – Kyle Schwarber (.084). Kyle’s third inning single with Javier Baez on second and two outs puts him here (.110).
  • Sidekick – Wade Davis (.073). Wade worked a scoreless ninth inning for his 28th save in 28 tries.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Ben Zobrist (-.094). Ben flew out to center for the second out of the third inning ahead of the Kyle Schwarber RBI (-.039) as part of an 0-4 day.
  • Goat - Jason Heyward (-.060). Jason did have one hit in four at bats, the biggest negative being a foul out in the fourth inning with runners on first and second and no outs (-.033).
  • Kid - Kris Bryant (-.019). Just one walk to show for his four plate appearances. The biggest negative for Kris was a ground out to end the third inning (-.021) after the Schwarber RBI single.

Game Chart Saturday, September 2 (Cubs beat the Braves 14-12):


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Rene Rivera (.206). The Cubs picked up a glove-first catcher for depth while Willson Contreras is hurt and he has performed extremely well at the plate. On Saturday, he was the hitting star with two hits including a second inning grand slam that was worth (.222) that drove in the first four runs of the game.
  • Hero - Anthony Rizzo (.171). Anthony had two hits, two runs and three RBI. The big blow for Anthony was a three-run triple (.157).
  • Sidekick - Jason Heyward (.098). Jason had two hits including a home run, two walks, two runs and two RBI on a busy day. Timing being just about everything with WPA, Jason gets here via a walk to load the bases in front of Rene Rivera’s grand slam in the second (.062).

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Jon Lester (-.125). Jon was spotted a 4-0 lead in his first game back from the disabled list, but struggled to pick up a win in this one, allowing four runs on eight hits including three home runs. He did only walk one and struck out four, but this was a tough day for Jon for sure.
  • Goat - Kris Bryant (-.073). Back to back appearances on the wrong side of the ledger. On a day the Cubs scored 14 runs, Kris had no hits and three strike outs. The biggest negative was getting struck out with no outs and the bases loaded in the fourth (-.055). He was hit by a pitch for the 13th time and ended up scoring afterwards.
  • Kid - Justin Wilson (-.026). Justin recorded just one out while allowing a hit and two walks, all three of which scored.

Game Chart Sunday, September 3 (Cubs lose 5-1):


Source: FanGraphs

THE THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero - Ian Happ (.127). Ian provided the offense with two of the Cubs five hits including a home run that accounted for all of the Cubs scoring (.114).
  • Hero - Dillon Maples (.037). After his much chronicled journey, Maples finds his way all of the way to the hero podium with a scoreless sixth inning in which he flashed glimpses of what he can be.
  • Sidekick - Justin Grimm (.034). Justin threw an inning that looks identical in the box score to the Maples inning, one inning later.

THE THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat - Albert Almora Jr. (-.176). Albert was hitless in four tries. The biggest negative on the day was grounding into a fielder’s choice for the last out of the fifth with the bases loaded (-.106).
  • Goat - Anthony Rizzo (-.156). After six consecutive positive appearances, Anthony gets a visit to the negative podiums with an 0-4. The biggest negative was grounding into a double play (-.096) after Kris Bryant drew a lead off walk in the fourth.
  • Kid - Rene Rivera (-.114). After a couple of strong days at the plate, Rene goes hitless in three at bats. The biggest negative at bat was a strike out with a runner on first and one out in the seventh (-.049).

Next, we take a look at the cumulative standings through the Sunday game. 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.

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

  • Anthony Rizzo 41
  • Willson Contreras 32
  • Kris Bryant 18
  • Wade Davis 17
  • Mike Montgomery 11
  • Kyle Hendricks 11
  • Jake Arrieta 10
  • Jon Jay 8
  • Miguel Montero 5
  • Justin Grimm 4
  • Tommy La Stella 3
  • Felix Pena 2
  • Matt Szczur 2
  • Brian Duensing 2
  • Dillon Maples 2
  • Eddie Butler 1
  • Kyle Shwarber 1
  • Mark Zagunis 0
  • Rene Rivera 0
  • Seth Frankoff -1
  • Jack Leathersich -1
  • Justin Wilson -2
  • Jose Quintana -2
  • Alex Avila -3
  • Pierce Johnson -3
  • Ian Happ -3
  • Pedro Strop -4
  • Hector Rondon -5
  • Brett Anderson -5
  • Jeimer Candelario -5
  • Carl Edwards Jr. -9
  • Victor Caratini -9
  • Albert Almora Jr. -10
  • Jason Heyward -13
  • Ben Zobrist -14
  • Jon Lester -14
  • Koji Uehara -14
  • Addison Russell -15
  • Javier Baez -15
  • John Lackey -21

That’s it for this column. I’ll be back with a second column later today that will cover Monday’s game, look ahead at tonight’s second game of the series and include our usual poll. Until then, thanks for reading.