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2018 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 99

Cubs unable to escape early hole; lose 7-1

MLB: Game One-St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

You can’t win ’em all. And starting out by allowing five runs in the top of the first inning against a decent team is a pretty bad recipe for success. It didn’t take much intuition to know that coming out of the break with five games in four days was going to cause some problems. The Cubs needed a sixth starter and Luke Farrell was more the bird in the hand than he was the right guy for the job. Maybe, just maybe Luke can be a back of the bullpen arm. A guy who can throw a couple of innings for you in a blow out or an extra inning game. But there is no way he belongs on the mound as a starting pitcher.

To be sure, the Cubs know that too. The roster machinations are getting tougher and tougher. Eddie Butler is going to have to come off of the disabled list soon or they will have to try to slide him through to Triple-A through waivers. I haven’t looked around, but I’ll imagine the Cubs aren’t the only ones with a packed 40-man roster right now. To the extent anyone does have roster spots available, most teams want to have some flexibility as the trade season progresses so that they have the flexibility to add talent if the opportunity arises. That is less important for the teams who are out of contention of course, but still it can be a difficult time of the year for roster management.

The Brewers won, as did the Dodgers. So if you are already scoreboard watching, it wasn’t a great night. There will be many more not great nights in that regard between here and the end of the season. The good news is, there will also be some great nights where the Cubs gain on everyone of importance. It’s too early for serious scoreboard watching, but in good fun, we do always like to see that our situation remains the same or improves day to day.

If all of this seems like there really isn’t a lot to say about last night’s game, you are right. It was a stinker. The Cubs were buried early and barely mounted any offensive in the loss. There were some chuckles as once again the Cubs employed position players on the mound. As long as no one get carried away and hurts themselves, I find that stuff to be all in good fun. Make the most of a dismal day and have a few laughs. Then get back after it tomorrow.

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 99, July 23 - Cubs dig early hole, unable to rally back in 7-1 loss (58-41)

Source: FanGraphs


  • Superhero - Jason Heyward (.029). Jason came into the game late and had one hit in two chances.
  • Hero - Brian Duensing (.023). Brian allowed just one walk while recording eight outs. Call this the silver lining to this game.
  • Sidekick - Ian Happ (.008). Ian doubled and scored in the sixth. He batted three times in the game.


  • Billy Goat - Luke Farrell (-.371). There was no doubt about this one. If WPA accounted for opposition, this one would have been worse than .371. Even a potent offense like the Cubs with a penchant for coming from behind was facing a nearly insurmountable task against a decent pitcher after allowing five runs in the top of the first. Luke did settle in a little after that and recorded 3⅓ innings. He allowed six hits, two walks and six runs.
  • Goat - Kris Bryant (-.046). Kris was hitless in four at bats.
  • Kid - Willson Contreras (-.036). Willson was also hitless in four at bats. The Cubs managed seven hits on the night and drew no walks.

WPA Play of the Game: The D-Backs started their night with a hit by pitch, a fly out and a single. That brought AJ Pollock to the plate with runners on first and second. AJ singled driving in the game’s first run. (.116)

*Cubs Play of the Game: This is the saddest Cubs play of the game so far this year. The Paul Goldschmidt fly out in the first inning. (.035) With a huge deficit early and no real comeback, there were just no real leverage situations in this game.

Cumulative Standings:

  • Superhero - Javier Baez 19.5
  • Hero - Brandon Morrow 13
  • Sidekick - Pedro Strop 11

Up Next: Kyle Hendricks takes the mound for the Cubs tonight. He is 6-8 with a 3.99 ERA. Over his last seven games, he has been 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA. To say the least, things have been out of whack. Last time out, he threw 4.2 innings and allowed nine hits, one walk, one home run and three runs. Kyle hasn’t faced the D-Backs since 2016. He is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts in 2015-16. Kyle has had trouble with his control this year and just can’t seem to get locked in. He’ll try again tonight as the Cubs look to avoid their first two-game losing streak since June 24/25, basically a month ago.

Clay Buckholz will be the D-Backs starter. Clay is 2-1 with a 2.56 ERA. When he’s healthy, Clay can clearly be a very good pitcher. Clay last started a month ago to the day, June 24. He was the winning pitcher that day, throwing five innings, allowing two hits, no walks and no runs. Clay has made exactly seven starts on the year, totaling just 38⅔ innings pitched. Clay has made only one start in his career against the Cubs. It was way back in 2014. It was a good one. I’ll provide this link, for the humor value of some of the guys who appeared in that game for the Cubs.


Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Jason Heyward
    (10 votes)
  • 21%
    Brian Duensing
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Willson Contreras
    (0 votes)
  • 33%
    I’m sorry, I turned the game off after the top of the first
    (32 votes)
  • 34%
    No one
    (33 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now