Saturday’s game was an odd one. Yu Darvish struggled through two innings and it looked like this one could have gone a different way. But then the Cubs exploded for five runs in the third inning, all after Zack Godley had retired the first two batters in the inning. The big blow was a three-run homer by David Bote who would also hit a second homer later in the game.
The Cubs managed 12 hits to just two for the Diamondbacks. The Cubs pounded out six doubles and three homers. (It’s virtually never a good sign when the other team musters more home runs than you do hits.) It’s possible that things bubbled over a bit as it sure looked like the Diamondbacks hit Bote intentionally.
Darvish notched a quality start and really appeared to lock down after the Cubs gave him the five-run third inning. Yu pounded the strike zone and only ended up giving one run on a very long home run. That was probably at least a little bit the byproduct of the fact that he was so consistently pounding the strike zone.
The Cubs once again move to one game over the .500 mark. They’ll look to pick up a second series win against the Diamondbacks on Sunday.
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 25, April 27: Cubs 9 at Diamondbacks 1 (13-12)
- Superhero: David Bote (.206). David had two hits and a hit by pitch in four plate appearances. He scored two runs and drove in five.
- Hero: Yu Darvish (.168). Yu threw six innings and allowed only two hits, four walks and one run. He struck out eight.
- Sidekick: Anthony Rizzo (.111). Anthony had two doubles and a home run in five at bats. He scored three runs and drove in two.
- Billy Goat: Taylor Davis (-.035). Taylor makes his 2019 debut in Heroes and Goats and he gets the Billy Goat for his effort. Taylor is a nice, quiet catcher behind home plate. I thought using him for Yu made some sense.
- Goat: Kyle Schwarber (-.029). I always say that when it gets lopsided and stays that way, H&G can be unforgiving. Kyle had two doubles in this game, but he also struck out twice and was picked off of second base on a missed bunt attempt by Yu Darvish (the negative WPA is recorded by Schwarber).
- Kid: Javier Baez (-.024). Darvish also tied for this spot, but Javy occupies it alone after we drop Darvish’s hitting. Javy had two hits and a walk in five plate appearances. He scored two runs. Javy was picked off first. 9-1 wins are great, because I suspect people won’t blow out of proportion the outs by Javy and Schwarber on the bases.
WPA Play of the Game: The Diamondbacks intentionally walked Javier Baez with a runner on second and two outs in the third inning. The Cubs were already up 2-0. Bote followed that walk with his majestic three-run homer. (.187)
*Diamondbacks Play of the Game: Javier Baez’ pickoff of first (.061) in the second inning following his lead-off single.
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
(# = returned to minors)
- Javier Baez 9.5
- Jason Heyward 7
- Willson Contreras 6
- Kyle Hendricks/Yu Darvish -6
- #Carl Edwards Jr. -8
- Kyle Schwarber -9
Up Next: The Cubs will be looking to take four of six on the season from the Diamondbacks while the D-backs try to force a season split. Four of six for the Cubs at a time when Arizona is playing well would be a fine accomplishment.
The Cubs will send red hot Jose Quintana to the mound. Jose is 3-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 28 innings of work. He’s struck out 36 batters and walked only nine. He’s won his last three starts, lasting seven innings of each and allowing a total of only two runs on 14 hits. He faced the Diamondbacks twice last year and was 0-1. He allowed 14 runs in just 9⅓ innings of work. He also lost his only other career start against them back in 2014. Of course this team even looks different than the one he faced last year. Still, these D-backs are dynamic offensively. Adam Jones is one of two D-backs with a decent sample size against Jose and it’s a good sample for Adam. He’s got three doubles and two homers in 20 plate appearances for a 1.659 OPS. The only other Arizona player with more plate appearances is Eduardo Escobar who has a .456 OPS over 29 PA.
Luke Weaver will be the opposition. Luke is 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA on the year in 27 innings of work. Last time out he was a winner, going 6⅓ innings in Pittsburgh allowing only six hits, one walk and one run. He struck out seven. He faced the Cubs four times in 2018 and was 1-2 and allowed 15 runs in just 23 innings of work. Five different Cubs have at least 10 PA against Weaver and the lowest OPS of the five (Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and Bryant) was Bryant at .967. Suffice is to say the Cubs have seen the ball well against Luke. Collectively, players on the 40-man roster have a 1.008 OPS in 116 plate appearances (including 0-12 with no walks out of four Cubs pitchers).
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed