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2018 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Games 6-9

A look at the Cumulative Standings and the season to date

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

A little home opener snow has shuffled the schedule a bit. Originally, you’d have been reading my recap of the Cubs home opener today and then an article tomorrow on games 6-10. But a little April snow and some bitter cold pushed back the opener and day and so here we are.

The Cubs just completed a nine game road trip to start their season. It was originally scheduled to be 10 games but of course one game was rained out in Cincinnati. It was easy to look at the opening opponents and dream about winning six or seven games on the road trip to start the year. The Cubs actually won five of the nine played. Think about it this way though, if they win the made up game in Cincinnati later this year, then technically they’ll have won six of those first 10 scheduled games. Sure you’d have loved seven or more, but six really is a fine result on any road trip.

The great news from the road trip is that the pitching has by and large been very good. The starters collectively have been slightly less impressive than we’d hoped, but definitely good enough to keep the team in almost every game. The bullpen has been great. Better than could reasonably be expected. The offense? Well, they’ve been about average. The team On Base Percentage ranks 15th, Slugging is a bit low at 19th, and they are 17th in runs scored despite quite a number of teams having played more games than they have. Room for improvement, but not all together bad.

So, all in all not the roaring start that you may have hoped for, but not crippling disappointment either. Fresh off of taking three of four from a team that is expected to be one of the primary contenders for the division title, the team is positioned well heading into a series with the surprising first place Pirates.

With that in mind, let’s get to the focus of this article and look at the cumulative standings for Heroes and Goats. As a reminder, Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA. The highest WPA will be the Superhero. A superhero is worth +3 points in the cumulative standings. Second place is the Hero and that is worth +2 points and third place is the Sidekick and that is worth +1 points. On the other side of the ledger, last place is the Billy Goat and that’s worth -3 points. Second and third to last are the Goat and the Kid which are worth -2 and -1 points respectively.

Now that you know how we determine the points, we look at the standings.

Cumulative Standings: Year to date number (change since last full standings)

  • Ben Zobrist 6 (+3)
  • Tommy La Stella 4 (+3)
  • Kris Bryant 3 (-1)
  • Steve Cishek 3
  • Eddie Butler 3
  • Tyler Chatwood 3
  • Justin Wilson 2
  • Jason Heyward 1
  • Pedro Strop 1
  • Kyle Hendricks 0 (-2)
  • Victor Caratini 0 (+1)
  • Jon Lester 0 (+3)
  • Jose Quintana 0 (+3)
  • Brandon Morrow -1
  • Javier Baez -1 (+4)
  • Kyle Schwarber -2 (-4)
  • Albert Almora Jr. -2
  • Yu Darvish -3
  • Mike Montgomery -3 (-3)
  • Anthony Rizzo -3.5 (-2.5)
  • Ian Happ -4.5 (-2.5)
  • Willson Contreras -6 (-3)

Four games were played between off days. Over that time, Javier Baez had the biggest positive move with a +4 series against the Brewers. After being in last place through the first five games, he’s moved up and is now eyeing positive territory. Three players were +3 for the series and Ben Zobrist and Tommy La Stella have rode that change to first and second place in the standings. Jose Quintana was the third player and he is up to even on the season.

On the down side, Kyle Schwarber had the biggest negative change with a -4 series at Milwaukee. He’s now in negative territory for the season. Mike Montgomery and Willson Contreras each had a -3 series and that lands Willson in last place in the early going. Anthony Rizzo played in only one game and split the Billy Goat and Goat position with Ian Happ. That gave both of them a -2.5 for the series as for each it was their only appearance in any position. That drops them to third and second to last respectively.

Each time we look at the standings, I’m going to try to change the focus of Heroes and Goats a little bit and see what it shows us. Today, we’ll take a look at who is leading the way when the Cubs win. I’ve dropped all of the losses and will only look at games the Cubs won today and then look at the standings for those games.

Cumulative Standings (in wins only)

  • Ben Zobrist 7
  • Jose Quintana 3
  • Steve Cishek 2
  • Tommy La Stella 1
  • Victor Caratini 1
  • Addison Russell 1
  • Jon Lester 0
  • Javier Baez 0
  • Kris Bryant -1
  • Anthony Rizzo -1.5
  • Kyle Schwarber -2
  • Albert Almora Jr. -2
  • Yu Darvish -3
  • Willson Contreras -3
  • Ian Happ -4.5

The first thing that jumped out at me was that Jon Lester was at 0. For some reason, with the disappointment over his first start, I’d let myself forget that we won that game. Of course Ben Zobrist also jumps off of the page. He’s definitely been the guy making the key contributions in the early going. On the down side, Ian Happ has definitely been the guy struggling to provide meaningful contributions to the team.

That’s all for this week. If the weather cooperates, there isn’t another off day until April 19. The Cubs are scheduled for nine home games between now and then. The Pirates, Braves and Cardinals are each in for three. If the schedule holds, there will be twice as much data to look at about the early season. Of course we’ll be right here covering that each and every day with our usual Heroes and Goats recaps. Stay tuned.