The Cubs have gone 8-5 since our last check-in on things. Of course, the won the first two and four of the first five after the last standings update. So if it feels like they’ve been struggling during this time, that’s probably why. They are in fact, only 4-4 over their last eight. For a team that is nine games over .500 at this time and has been as far as 11 over back on May 14, a 4-4 stretch feels like a crippling disaster.
For the second time in a row on this piece, I’m coming to you the morning after a tough loss. Hopefully, the team will turn it around as nicely as they did last time. It’s a long season and there are a lot of ups and downs in the future of this team. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
First things first, we’ll take a look at the cumulative standings for Heroes and Goats. As a reminder, Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA. The highest WPA will be the Superhero. A superhero is worth +3 points in the cumulative standings. Second place is the Hero and that is worth +2 points and third place is the Sidekick and that is worth +1 points. On the other side of the ledger, last place is the Billy Goat and that’s worth -3 points. Second and third to last are the Goat and the Kid which are worth -2 and -1 points respectively.
Year to Date Total (change since last full standings)
(# = returned to minors, * = injured list, @ = restricted list)
- Willson Contreras 11 (+2)
- Tyler Chatwood 7.5 (+5.5)
- Javier Baez 7 (+1.5)
- Kris Bryant 6 (+7)
- Jon Lester 5 (-2)
- Jose Quintana 4 (-3)
- Addison Russell 4 (+4)
- Steve Cishek 4 (+7)
- Victor Caratini 3 (-1)
- @Ben Zobrist 2.5 (0)
- Cole Hamels 2 (+2)
- Brad Brach 1 (-4)
- Kyle Hendricks 1 (+4)
- Mike Montgomery 1 (+3)
- Xavier Cedeno 1 (+1)
- Daniel Descalso 0 (-4)
- #Dillon Maples -.5 (0)
- #Taylor Davis -.5 (0)
- Anthony Rizzo -.5 (-2)
- Mark Zagunis -1 (0)
- *Allen Webster -2 (0)
- #Randy Rosario -2 (0)
- Brandon Kintzler -2.5 (-3)
- Kyle Ryan -3 (-4)
- Jason Heyward -4 (-8)
- Kyle Schwarber -5 (0)
- *Pedro Strop -6.5 (0)
- Yu Darvish -7 (+2)
- Albert Almora Jr. -7.5 (+3)
- David Bote -8 (-9)
- Carl Edwards Jr. -10 (-2)
Willson Contreras remains on top and was actually +2 over this group of games allowing him to move out to a 3½-point lead. A couple of eyebrows were raised during the week when Tyler Chatwood moved into second place for the year. As I explained then, Tyler hasn’t been given a lot of leverage situations to work with, but when he has, he’s made the most of it. Tyler hasn’t been on the negative side of the ledger since April 4 in just the sixth game of the season. He is + 9.5 since that day. Javier Baez has moved into sole possession of third place at +7.
The biggest positive movers have been Kris Bryant and Steve Cishek at +7 each. Kris had a blisteringly hot stretch and for once, Heroes and Goats recognized the damage he was doing. Cishek has been the closer most of the time since Pedro Strop became injured. With a handful of close games in this stretch, Steve has been able to cash in. On the down side, David Bote lead the way to the bottom at -9, but Jason Heyward wasn’t far behind at -8. Early in the season, the Cubs were getting enormous contributions from their supporting cast of hitters. Lately, if the big four of Baez, Bryant, Contreras and Rizzo aren’t getting it done, then it largely isn’t getting done.
31 different players have now appeared in Heroes and Goats this season. Tim Collins is the only Cub to appear in a game but not in H&G. Alec Mills spent time with the big league roster but has yet to appear in a game.
- Average: .257 was .257 (3rd NL, 7th MLB)
- On Base: .345 was .354 (1st NL, 2nd MLB)
- Slugging: .451 was .465 (1st NL, 5th MLB)
- OPS: .796 was .818 (1st NL, 4th MLB)
- Runs/game: 5.38 was 5.38 (1st NL, 4th MLB)
In a relative sense, the Cubs offense has cooled off from a torrid start to the season. Yet their overall rankings have remained fairly steady. The slight drop in the numbers isn’t surprising given some trouble scoring runs over the last week as the Cubs faced some very good pitching. Still, the Cubs remain at or near the top of the National League in every offensive category measured here.
- Hits/9: 8.0 was 7.9 (3rd NL, T8 MLB)
- Walks/9: 3.9 was 4.1 (13th NL, T25 MLB)
- HR/9: 1.1 was 1.2 (T2 NL, T3 MLB)
- K/9: 8.9 was 9.1 (T8 NL, T13 MLB)
- Runs allowed/game: 4.09 was 4.31 (3rd NL, 8th MLB)
A slight down tick in the hits per nine and strike outs per nine. Still, the walk and home runs per nine both dropped and in turn, the runs allowed per game dropped. The overall rankings improved for the Cubs in every area other than strikeouts.
Cubs starters have recorded quality starts in 49% of their starts (was 47%) that’s good for a tie for third in the National League (4th MLB). Cubs starters have an average game score of 54 (was 54) which also ranks tied for third in the NL (T6 MLB). Cubs relievers have converted 53% of their saves (was ) that is tied for last in the NL (T27 MLB). They have also allowed 30% of inherited runners to score which is tied for eighth in the NL (T13th MLB).
- Errors: 36 was 29 (15th NL, 28th MLB)
- Defensive Efficiency [percentage of balls in play turned into outs]: .692 was .693 (9th NL, 20th MLB)
Relatively speaking, the Cubs did a good job in not making errors over this period (29 errors in the first 32 games, seven in the next 13). But the Cubs defense continues to lag at turning balls in play into outs. For perspective, the team was at .700 and .699 the last two years. But in 2016, they were all of the way up at .728 which was tops in MLB. This year, Houston leads the majors at .738 and the Dodgers lead the NL at .725. Unsurprisingly, those are the two best teams in baseball year to date.
Who is the Cubs Year to Date MVP?
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