It isn’t often I can find a perfect picture for the day. I always try to get one of the Superhero for the article. This one not only gets the Superhero but also the Sidekick. Bryzzo makes an appearance and the Cubs finish their demolition of the Marlins in the series. I started the point after the Monday win, I can’t erase the frustration that was the end of the Rockies series and then the Cardinals series by watching the Cubs pummel the Marlins. Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t want them to do that. The Cubs took care of business. Baseball being baseball, even two out of three is pretty acceptable, so kudos to the Cubs for taking three from the Marlins.
This weekend will offer another opportunity to take care of business and we’ll talk more about that after the Cubs get to enjoy an off day. We’re all watching and waiting to see what happens the first part of next week when the Cubs face a Braves team that most people thought was still at least a year away in preseason previews. In a division that features one of the National League favorites in the Nationals and in a league that has seen a number of teams jump out to good starts, the Braves may in fact still be a year away. But that team has been one of the more impressive teams in the early going. I bet a few of them still have a pretty sour taste in their mouth from the last time they faced the Cubs.
Alas, you can only play the games as they are scheduled. The Brewers in particular, but definitely some of the Cubs division rivals have had quite a bit more chance to feast on the weak teams in baseball so far than the Cubs have. So right now, the Cubs finally see some of the easier part of their schedule. They took care of business in this series and the bats woke up. The bats showed signs of life. To be fair, they didn’t see much by way of elite pitching in this series, though the Garcia fellow who they beat up on Monday had a really solid start to his season before he ran into the Cubs bats seeing him a second time. Hopefully the team will be able to carry forward some increased confidence from these games when they see an increase in the caliber of opposition.
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 34, May 9 - Cubs finish three game sweep of Marlins with eight run third (19-15)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Kris Bryant (.192). Kris got the scoring going in this one with his 100th career home run in the first inning. He added an RBI double in the third. He had two hits in four at bats on the day before getting the last couple of innings off.
- Hero - Jose Quintana (.166). Jose had a spiffy looking line of six innings pitched, five hits, two walks, one run and five strikeouts. That kind of line will work just about every time.
- Sidekick - Anthony Rizzo (.079). This one will get several votes for Cubs Player of the Game. Three hits in five at bats. Five RBI, two runs scored. A homer and two doubles. It’s easy to cherry pick stats to paint a pretty picture. I went all of the way back to April 19 when Anthony had his last three-hit game. So that includes a fair amount of still slumping. Over that time, in 80 plate appearances he has a line of .257/.300/.446. He has four home runs and 16 RBI in those 18 games. He has a .202 BABIP that is massively lower than his career .284. A major hot streak is coming.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - David Bote (-.010). David gets the short stick in this one. He had an RBI single and a sacrifice fly in five plate appearances. He is here mostly because someone has to be.
- Goat - Ian Happ (-.009). This was the easiest tie I’ve ever had to break. Ian had just one walk to show for five plate appearances and added three more strikeouts. He was afflicted yesterday with a disease I like to call “someone has to make the outs.”
- Kid - Willson Contreras (-.009). This may be the first time I’ve written about a three-hit performance on a negative podium. I’m certain it is the first that featured two triples. He doubled too. Willson only has one home run as we approach the middle of May. But he now has 10 doubles and three triples.
WPA Play of the Game: Kris Bryant hadn’t landed here at all prior to this series. He is the play of the game twice in this series. His first inning home run set the tone for the day (.099).
* Marlins Play of the Game: Wei-Yin Chen lead off the third inning with a single. Surely the only highlight of his day. (.042).
- Superhero - Javier Baez 15
- Hero - Kyle Hendricks and Pedro Strop 8
Up Next: Tomorrow I’ll have a look at the cumulative standings for Heroes and Goats. I’ll also take a look at how this last stretch of games has changed the Cubs overall hitting and pitching team stats. And we’ll look ahead to the start of the White Sox series and how the matchups stack for Friday afternoon’s game.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Someone else (leave in comments)