Full disclosure, I don’t always watch all of the Cubs games. I work and have a number of family obligations that pull me in various directions. But this one, I saw most of. Well, I saw the first inning and then I was out getting food for about half an hour while the score went from 2-1 to 8-1. So at least I missed most of Jose Quintana’s horrible outing. But then I sat and watched the rest of the game.
To be fair, I was fuming throughout. Those of you who are regulars of this series know that I’m consistently optimistic about this team. Even for the most optimistic person, had to be disappointed after the Cubs played badly for the fourth time in five games. I remember chuckling ironically as Steve Cishek wriggled out of trouble in the seventh by inducing a double play grounder to get out of the inning holding a 10-3 lead. The Braves considered reviewing the call and I laughed out loud that while drubbing the Cubs that they would challenge the call.
And then along the way the strangest thing happened. One in the sixth, two in the seventh and it was 10-5. But with two outs in the eighth inning the Cubs had runners on first and second after Efren Navarro struck out. The Cubs had a 2 percent chance of wining the game based on WPA. By the time the eighth inning the Cubs had better than a 98 percent chance of winning the game. I do believe this was the wildest come-from-behind I’ve ever seen in a professional game.
With that, we turn our attention to yesterday’s game as we look at what WPA had to say about Heroes and Goats. As always the Heroes and Goats 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 14, April 14 - Cubs come from eight down to win 14-10 (7-7)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Javier Baez (.400). Javy batted with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth with the Cubs losing 10-7. He was hitless in four at bats to that point. Had he been retired there, he would have been on one of the Goat podiums. Instead, he ends up in the top spot.
- Hero - Kyle Schwarber (.244). Kyle only had one official at bat in this game after not starting the game. He struck out in the eighth inning for the Cubs first out. In both the sixth and the eighth innings he batted with the bases loaded. Both times he drew walks. The Cubs drew four walks with the bases loaded in a game for the first time in almost 10 years.
- Sidekick - Albert Almora Jr. (.112). I fully expected to write about Albert being the only bright spot in this game. He homered in the first to tie the game at 1-1. He also walked in the third, advanced on a wild pitch, took third on a fly out and scored on a ground out. At the time, his aggressive base running made it 9-2. He had one hit and one walk in three plate appearances.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - Jose Quintana (-350). Easily his worst outing to date as a Cub, Jose lasted only 2.1 innings and allowed seven hits, four walks and seven runs while striking out just one batter. I’m sure he’d tell us that there are no excuses, but it was truly a brutal day to pitch.
- Goat - Eddie Butler (-.128). Eddie slowed the bleeding and saved the Cubs bullpen from a lot of extra work. He threw 3.2 innings, allowing five hits, two walks and three runs (two earned) while striking out two. It wasn’t pretty, but it was important.
- Kid - Ian Happ (-.070). It was a tough day at the plate for Ian with three strike outs in four at bats.
WPA Play of the Game - In the midst of the wild eighth inning, the Cubs had eight consecutive men reach base. Poor Efren Navarro struck out for both the second and third outs of the inning. While he was batting, the final two runs scored. The key play of the inning and the game was Javier Baez. He batted with the bases loaded and the Cubs down 10-7. He struck the ball at 111 mph into the left field gap, clearing the bases. The game tied at 10-10. A three run double with two outs in the eighth inning while down three. (.450).
*Braves Play of the Game - Ozzie Albies had a two out RBI double in the second inning to give the Braves a 3-1 lead (.104)
- Superhero - Javier Baez 6
- Hero - Kris Bryant 5
- Sidekick - Ben Zobrist, Tommy La Stella 4
Up Next: If the weather allows Sunday’s game to be played, the teams will have the third and final game of the series. Tyler Chatwood is on the mound for the Cubs. He’s lost his first two starts of the year, though he threw well the first time out and was a hard luck loser. He got knocked around a bit the last time out. He’s had only one start since 2013 against the Braves and it was in 2016. He did win it, but most of the current Braves were elsewhere when that game was played.
Julie Teheran will be the opposition for the Braves. He faced the Cubs once last year, allowing two runs in six innings. He allowed five hits and four walks, but was the tough luck loser. He has made three starts so far this year, throwing 14 innings, allowing 15 hits, 10 walks and 11 runs while striking out 12. This one actually looks like it could be a high scoring one.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Tommy La Stella
Other (please leave your suggestion in the comments below)