Heroes and Goats remains on vacation . Besides, none of you surely want to talk a great deal about yesterday’s game. So, this will be another short one. The Good? If you can call it that, the Cubs did manage 10 hits and seven walks. They only scored five runs with all of those base-runners and so it isn’t a great number. But, they didn’t go down without any fight.
But Jon Lester had the start everyone was afraid of. His peripherals haven’t been in line with his extremely strong first half performance. And so, people have been waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. On the one hand, I’m irritated on Jon’s behalf. He’s won just about every time he’s pitched and people are more concerned with what he isn’t doing. On the other hand, I love statistics, absolutely believe you use them to get a sense of where things are coming from and where they are likely to go. I get it, there were warning signs.
Jon has survived in the past with less than the numbers people would want from him. So I’m not going to sell his stock at this point (if I can step on the turf of one of our other front page writers). I get it, there is something to keep an eye on there. But I also believe if things start regressing that Jon is absolutely capable of changing his approach. We used to throw stones in his direction about his poor hitting and all of the stealing against him and he got better at both of those. He’s clearly traded some strike out this year to try to control contact. It worked until it didn’t. Let’s see how he responds and then revisit, shall we?
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 95, July 20 - Cubs obliterated by Cardinals 18-5 (56-39)
THE THREE HEROES:
- Superhero - Anthony Rizzo (.058). Anthony had a walk and a hit by pitch in three plate appearances before departing.
- Hero - Jason Heyward (.048). Jason drew two walks in five plate appearances.
- Sidekick - Albert Almora Jr. (.013). Albert had two hits in five at bats. He also reached on a fielder’s choice/error.
THE THREE GOATS:
- Billy Goat - Jon Lester (-.358). Jon lasted just three innings, allowed seven hits and five walks. Two of the hits were home runs and he was tagged with eight earned runs. That does not pretty things to the ERA.
- Goat - Javier Baez (-.085). Javy had one hit in five at bats. He struck out four times. His one out strike out with the bases loaded in the third inning with the Cubs only trailing 5-1 was what landed him here. Javy has been obscenely good with men on base this year, so I for one will give him a pass here.
- Kid - Anthony Bass (-.050). Jon Lester faced three hitters in the fourth inning, he didn’t retire any of them. Bass followed and faced three hitters and didn’t retire any of them. Two ERA’s wrecked in one inning.
WPA Play of the Game: Matt Carpenter batted with two outs and a man on second and the Cardinals leading 3-0 in the second inning and hit a two-run homer. (.110)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Jason Heyward drew a one-out walk to load the bases in the third inning with the Cubs trailing 5-1 (.058)
- Superhero - Javier Baez 20.5
- Hero - Brandon Morrow 13
- Sidekick - Pedro Strop 11
Up Next: The Cubs and Cardinals play two, one this afternoon and one this evening. Al will have his usual pre-game updates. I’ll get back to in depth look aheads after the weekend.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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