Baseball is fun for its oddity. Jacob deGrom is having a Cy Young type start to his season. Yet the Cubs did a relatively good job getting hits off of him. But they could only push one of those runs across the plate. Fortunately Mike Montgomery was matching deGrom. One solo home run had the game tied 1-1 when the bullpens took over.
If you’ve been following along, I’ve been telling you that the Mets bullpen just had a terrible month of May, played a double header this week, hasn’t had a day off in two weeks and threw a bullpen game on Thursday. And yet, the Mets pen took over starting in the eighth inning and strung together six innings of very strong scoreless relief. Had the game only gone six more innings, this might have been the kind of game that could start to right the ship for the Mets.
Then the 14th inning happened. The seventh and eight relievers the Mets used on the evening combined to allow six runs on five hits and two walks in one inning of work. So collectively the Mets bullpen allowed six runs in eight innings of work. It went from a great night of work to a terrible one. Meanwhile Luke Farrell threw five scoreless innings and the Cubs only used five pitchers total on the night. I would not be surprised if there is a fresh arm headed to New York to reinforce the team this morning. Although it is not a gimme with an off day Monday, one of just two days off the Cubs have in the month of June.
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 55, June 2 - Cubs rally for six in the 15th to make Farrell a Superhero winner (32-23)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Luke Farrell (.655). The second largest WPA score recorded by a Cub this year. Of course both of them were relief pitchers throwing long extra inning games. Two hits and two walks in five innings of work is fantastic work. So happy for Luke that they got him some runs so he got the win.
- Hero - Jason Heyward (.205). Jason had a fantastic night and didn’t have to stand around for all of those extra innings. He was swapped out after his fourth hit in an unusual move taking both a guy with ++ defense and a guy who had four hits out of the game while it was tied. But Joe was trying to avoid exactly the game that ended up happening. Jason Heyward is hitting .271 in June and his slugging percentage is creeping towards .400.
- Sidekick - Anthony Rizzo (.182). Anthony had three hits and a walk in seven plate appearances. He drove in a run in the sixth that gave the Cubs a short lived lead.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - Kris Bryant (-.296). I’m going to guess that Kris doesn’t have a lot of one for eight games in his life. He’s due to break out and I really hope it starts on the upcoming homestand. He also struck out four times.
- Goat - Addison Russell (-.174). Addison also struck out four times. He had seven plate appearances and managed just one hit and one walk.
- Kid - Willson Conteras (-.172). Willson had a busy day. On top of catching 14 innings, he had a hit, two walks, a sacrifice and a run scored in seven plate appearances. Sacrifice bunts are not the friend of WPA and neither are double plays. He did both. I suspect he won’t be the starting catcher today.
WPA Play of the Game - With one out in the 14th inning, Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras had back to back singles. That brought Albert Almora Jr. to the plate. Albert had a two run double to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead. (.369) Baseball is fun, Albert had just one walk in six plate appearances to that point.
*Mets Play of the Game - With two outs and the bases empty in the sixth inning, Michael Conforto took Mike Montgomery deep to tie the game at 1-1. (.202)
- Superhero - Javier Baez 11
- Hero - Pedro Strop 10
- Sidekick - Tommy La Stella, Steve Cishek, Kyle Schwarber 8
Up Next: The Cubs will go for a four game sweep and a 6-1 road trip on Sunday. This is an afternoon game after a nearly five hour game Saturday night. Jon Lester gets the start for the Cubs. He’ll be looking to provide some length after the long game. But the Cubs did hold back half of their relievers last night. Most of the bullpen other than Luke Farrell and Brandon Morrow should potentially be available.
Jon is 5-2 with a 2.71 ERA. Last time out he was a little shaky allowing eight hits and four runs in six innings of work. He walked four and struck out five. But his offense picked him up and he recorded a win. He’s won his last three starts against the Mets including two last season. In those two starts he threw a total of 13 innings, allowing 11 hits, five walks and just three runs. He struck out 15.
The Mets counter with lefty Steven Matz. Matz is 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA on the season. He started for them most recently in Atlanta on May 29. He only lasted three innings. He only allowed one hit and two walks before leaving with a finger injury suffered while batting. There was some question if he would be okay to start, but he did all of his normal side work and is apparently ready to go. Matz hasn’t started against the Cubs since 2016. He faced the Cubs twice that year and had an 0-1 record and a 6.10 ERA in 10.1 innings of work. He has normal splits for a lefty, struggling against right handed hitters and being tough on lefties.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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Albert Almora Jr.