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2019 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 15

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Cubs start short road trip with a 7-2 win; improve to 6-9

Chicago Cubs v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

I’m always a little torn writing for Heroes and Goats. When the Cubs jump out to an early lead and then just keep pulling away, it makes for a really boring WPA chart. But then when the Cubs score early and just keep pulling away, it makes for a really non-stressful, non-frustrating evening. I guess if I were allowed to make a deal with the devil, I’d take about six easy wins and four crazy ones like Saturday. Especially if we could win some of those too. Even winning just six of 10 puts you on a pace just shy of 100 wins.

Dreaming aside, the Cubs have work to do after digging themselves an early hole. They have all of the time in the world. If they play like the team they can be, that is. It would certainly help if the offense could carry the load for a while. I truly believe the pitching staff will work itself out and be somewhere between good and very good. Particularly the starting pitching. But there are reinforcements out there coming to bolster the bullpen. How much help they will be? That is something we’ll have to wait and see.

So it was good news that when the Marlins pitcher struggled a little bit in the first inning that the Cubs pounced. They put three quick runs on the board and then when the pitcher settled down, the Cubs were protecting a lead (and ultimately building on it) and not pressing to try to recapture a lead. It worked out. Yu Darvish was for the third straight time, a little bit better than the start before. The competition is going to get harder for Yu, so hopefully he can keep that linear improvement as the season wears on. I thought he had a little bit of the look of someone who’s confidence was starting to come back a little in this one. We’ll see if that gives him a little kick going forward.

No matter how you cut it, the Cubs took care of business Monday night. With two games to go in the series, this Marlins team looks as ready to get run over as any I’ve seen. Let’s hope the Cubs can find ways to win the next two and get on a little bit of a roll while the Brewers and Cardinals are once again playing one another.

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 15, April 15: Cubs 7 at Marlins 2 (6-9)


Source: FanGraphs

THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero: David Bote (.222). Not a lot of nights with just one hit and two strikeouts in five at bats will reach the top step. Almost never in a win. But, the hit was a two-run first inning double with two outs. He also added an RBI ground out for a three-RBI night.
  • Hero: Willson Contreras (.160). Two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch in five plate appearances is a great night. To top it off, one of the hits was a very long home run. Contreras has hit his sixth home run two months faster than he’s ever done it before.
  • Sidekick: Javier Baez (.117). Javy filled the role of table setter in this one. He had three hits in five at bats. He did drive in one, but scored two. One of the hits was his fourth double in two games.

THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat/Goat (tie): Ben Zobrist/Anthony Rizzo (-.058) . Ben had one hit in five at bats. Anthony had two walks and a run scored in five plate appearances.
  • Kid: Albert Almora Jr (-.039). Albert had just one intentional walk in five plate appearances.

WPA Play of the Game: In a reoccurring trend, this one came really early in the game. David Bote batted with two outs and the bases loaded in the first. He lined a two-run double to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead. (.163)

*Marlins Play of the Game: Chad Wallach homered with one out in the fourth inning to cut the Marlins deficit to 3-2. (.124)

Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:

(# returned to minors)

  • Ben Zobrist 8.5
  • Jason Heyward 8
  • Javier Baez/Willson Contreras 5
  • Albert Almora Jr/Yu Darvish/Kris Bryant -5
  • Kyle Hendricks -6
  • #Carl Edwards -8

Up Next: The teams meet for a second time on Tuesday night. The Cubs look for their fourth win in five games. The Marlins will look to try to avoid a third straight loss. Jose Quintana will be on the mound for the Cubs. He is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA on the young season. Last time out was his best start as he threw seven shutout innings allowing only four hits and one walk.

The Marlins counter with right handed pitcher Pablo Lopez. Pablo is off to a very rough start with a 1-2 record in three starts and a 6.60 ERA over 15 innings of work. He’s lost his last two starts. That last one lasted 4⅔ innings and he allowed seven hits and four runs. He only walked one while striking out five. In Pablo’s defense, the Marlins haven’t scored in his last two starts and have scored a total of three runs in his three starts. So far, right handed hitters have done more damage against Lopez than lefties. We’ll see if that continues. Another thing to watch, Pablo has yet to allow a run in the first two innings this year and has yet to allow a run the first time through the order. But, he has a 10.13 ERA the second time through the order and it heads downhill from there. Hitters have been figuring Lopez out quickly.

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    David Bote
    (33 votes)
  • 34%
    Willson Contreras
    (44 votes)
  • 9%
    Javier Baez
    (12 votes)
  • 26%
    Yu Darvish
    (33 votes)
  • 3%
    Other
    (4 votes)
126 votes total Vote Now