Once again, we’ve been thrown for a loop. Not by schedule makers this time, but by my family’s vacation. Normally, we’d take a look at the cumulative standings and then take a look at the Cubs team hitting, pitching and defensive statistics. Instead, we’ll have our usual look at the cumulative standings and a high level look at the games that occurred while I was away. There were a few unusual games and some outstanding WPA performances. Separately, I’ll find a good spot to look at the team statistics between now and the next day off in early July.
After 54 games, the Cubs were 31-23. That’s when we last took a high level look at the season. Since that date, the Cubs are 8-9. The story has remained consistent for a while now. The Cubs were swept in a three-game set in St. Louis, lost two of three in Colorado and lost three of four in Los Angeles. They played seven games at home and won six of those. Hopefully, the Cubs can right the ship on the road soon while continuing to dominate at home.
For those of you who haven’t looked ahead, the Cubs will finish June with two at home against the White Sox, four at home against the Mets, four at home against the Braves and then three on the road against the Reds. Of that group, only the Braves are over .500 at the moment. This certainly could be a good stretch of games for the Cubs with the next 10 at home.
We’ll start out by looking at the games that occurred while I was on vacation. Then we’ll finish by looking at the cumulative standings for Heroes and Goats.
Game 59, June 4: Cubs 6, Rockies 3 (33-26)
- Superhero: Javier Baez (.184). Three hits, two RBI, two runs, homer.
- Hero: Carlos Gonzalez (.115). One hit, one sacrifice fly, two RBI, one run scored in his Cubs debut.
- Sidekick: Kyle Hendricks (.107). Kyle threw seven innings and allowed three runs on six hits and one walk. He struck out 10.
- Billy Goat: Jason Heyward (-.079)
- Goat: Victor Caratini (-.042)
- Kid: Kris Bryant (-.030)
Game 60, June 5: Cubs 9, Rockies 8 (34-26)
- Superhero: David Bote (.511). Four hits, one homer (and only one scored), seven(!) RBI. This produced the third largest positive WPA game score and the ninth largest positive WPA event of the Cubs season to that date.
- Hero: Brandon Kintzler (.177). Two batters faced, retired them both with one strikeout.
- Sidekick: Carl Edwards Jr. (.166). Carl matched that line exactly.
- Billy Goat: Kyle Ryan (-.302). Two batters faced, both reached. One on an error, the other on a single as the Rockies erased a 3-0 deficit in the inning.
- Goat: Brad Brach (-.228). One out, one walk, three hits, four runs allowed.
- Kid: Javier Baez (-.108)
Game 61, June 6: Cubs 1, Rockies 3 (34-27)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.107). One hit and one walk in four plate appearances. He scored the only run.
- Hero: Javier Baez (.039). Two hits and the one RBI.
- Sidekick: Kyle Ryan (.016). One walk in one clean inning of work.
- Billy Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.167)
- Goat: David Bote (-.125)
- Kid: Willson Contreras (-.122)
Game 62, June 7: Cubs 3, Cardinals 1 (35-27)
- Superhero: Cole Hamels (.377). Eight innings of shutout ball. Three hits and one walk allowed while striking out 10.
- Hero: Javier Baez (.153). Provided the big blow of the game with a two-run homer.
- Sidekick: Victor Caratini (.109). Two hits and a walk in three plate appearances, drove in a run.
- Billy Goat: Kris Bryant (-.065)
- Goat/Kid: Albert Almora Jr./Carlos Gonzalez/David Bote (-.041). All three players had identical scores and none were significantly better or worse, so I split the three points for the two spots evenly.
Game 63, June 8: Cubs 9, Cardinals 4 (36-27)
- Superhero: Kyle Schwarber (.171). Two hits, two RBI, two runs scored, one walk, one homer.
- Hero: Victor Caratini (.144). A sixth-inning pinch-hit three run double. He also scored.
- Sidekick: Javier Baez (.133). One hit in five at bats, but he drove in two runs.
- Billy Goat: Jason Heyward (-.091).
- Goat: Jon Lester (-054).
- Kid: David Bote (-.016). Two walks and two runs, but lands here anyway.
Game 64, June 9: Cubs 5, Cardinals 1 (37-27)
- Superhero: Kyle Hendricks (.299). Seven innings, one run on eight hits. No walks and three strikeouts.
- Hero: Kyle Schwarber (.178). Two hits, a walk, two RBI and a run in four plate appearances.
- Sidekick: Kris Bryant (.103). Two hits in four at bats.
- Billy Goat: Javier Baez (-.092).
- Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.075). Drove in one run in four at bats but lands here anyway.
- Kid: Willson Contreras (-.064).
WPA Play of the Game: In an oddity, two plays scored exactly .123 WPA. Both benefited the Cubs. The first was a David Bote RBI single in the fifth to give the Cubs the lead. The second was a half inning later when Paul Goldschmidt was thrown out trying to score. I gave the nod to the play that happened later.
Game 65, June 10: Cubs 5 at Rockies 6 (37-28)
- Superhero: Anthony Rizzo (.292). Three hits, two RBI, and a run scored on a homer.
- Hero: David Bote (.097). Two hits, one RBI and one run on a solo homer.
- Sidekick: Brandon Kintzler (.072). Retired the only two batters he faced.
- Billy Goat: Jason Heyward (-.203).
- Goat: Mike Montgomery (-.190). One run allowed in a third of an inning.
- Kid: Steve Cishek (-.187). One run allowed in one inning.
Game 66, June 11: Cubs 3 at Rockies 10 (37-29)
- Superhero: Jason Heyward (.120). Two hits including a solo homer.
- Hero: Kris Bryant (.014). Kris was hit by two pitches.
- Sidekick: David Bote and Anthony Rizzo (.000). Four Cubs actually each produced the same score. One was Tyler Chatwood as a hitter, another was Vic Caratini. Both of those were unsuccessful pinch hits. Bote did get a hit and did score a run in his at bat. Rizzo had a hit and a walk. Those two seemed to be a bigger contribution in the losing effort.
- Billy Goat: Brad Brach (-.126). Four runs in two-thirds of an inning.
- Goat: Javier Baez (-.102).
- Kid: Willson Contreras (-.076).
Game 67, June 12: Cubs 10 at Rockies 1 (38-29)
- Superhero: Cole Hamels (.196). Cole threw seven scoreless innings. He allowed six hits, one walk and struck out nine.
- Hero: Kyle Schwarber (.123). A three-run homer as part of a four-RBI day. He also scored a run.
- Sidekick: Carlos Gonzalez (.090). Two hits, a walk and two runs scored.
- Billy Goat: Addison Russell (-.048)
- Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.045)
- Kid: Brad Brach (.000). Once again, I used discretion to break a tie. Javier Baez and Albert Almora Jr. also had .000. Baez had two hits, two RBI, two runs scored a home run, so that was an easy one to drop out of the tie. Almora had an inconsequential late at bat. That leaves Brach, who allowed the only run of the game.
Game 68, June 13: Cubs 3 at Dodgers 7 (38-30)
- Superhero: Kyle Schwarber (.132). Two hits including a solo homer.
- Hero: Kris Bryant (.079). A solo homer, two walks and two runs scored.
- Sidekick: Willson Contreras (.008). One hit, one walk, one RBI.
- Billy Goat: Jon Lester (-.488). The fifth largest negative WPA game of the season. Six runs in five innings including three homers.
- Goat: Albert Almora Jr. (-.086)
- Kid: David Bote (-.058)
Game 69, June 14: Cubs 3 at Dodgers 5 (38-31)
- Superhero: Kris Bryant (.193). Three hits including a solo homer. Two runs scored.
- Hero: Anthony Rizzo (.094). A two-run homer.
- Sidekick: Mike Montgomery (.028). Mike walked three in 1⅔ innings, but didn’t allow any hits.
- Billy Goat: Kyle Hendricks (-.315). Get well soon Kyle, we’ll miss you!
- Goat: Kyle Schwarber (-.117). Bad night to be a Kyle.
- Kid: Javier Baez (.097)
Game 70, June 15: Cubs 2 at Dodgers 1 (39-31)
- Superhero: Anthony Rizzo (.476). Just one hit on the night. Of course, it was his two-run homer against one of the better closers in baseball. And it turned what looked like a 1-0 loss into a 2-1 win. This was the largest positive WPA event of the year to date and the fifth largest positive WPA game of the season.
- Hero: Pedro Strop (.179). One walk in a scoreless ninth. If WPA took into account opposition, this would be much, much higher. That was a big save.
- Sidekick: Yu Darvish (.172). Some day, Yu Darvish will win another game for the Cubs. More and more, Yu appears to be rounding back into form. In this one, he threw seven innings and allowed only two hits and one walk. He struck out 10. Unfortunately, one of the two hits was a solo homer. Over his last 10 starts, Yu has a 4.13 ERA and a 4.28 FIP. He won the first of those 10 starts and hasn’t had a decision since. Over his last seven starts, he’s only issued 2.53 walks per nine, a massive improvement over his earlier numbers. He could be turning a corner.
- Billy Goat: Addison Russell (-.147)
- Goat: Javier Baez (-.106)
- Kid: Jason Heyward (-.086)
Year to Date Total (change since last full standings)
(# = returned to minors, * = injured list, @ = restricted list)
- Kris Bryant 14 (7)
- Anthony Rizzo 13 (-2)
- Willson Contreras 6 (-4)
- Tyler Chatwood 5.5 (-3)
- Daniel Descalso 5 (5)
- Kyle Hendricks 5 (1)
- Cole Hamels 5 (9)
- Javier Baez 4 (-1)
- Tyler Chatwood (PH) 3 (0)
- Victor Caratini 2.5 (-1)
- @Ben Zobrist 2.5 (0)
- Brandon Kintzler 2 (8)
- Carlos Gonzalez 2 (2)
- Jose Quintana 1 (-3)
- *Xavier Cedeno 1 (0)
- Mike Montgomery 0 (-1)
- #Dillon Maples -.5 (0)
- #Taylor Davis -.5 (0)
- David Bote -.5 (-1)
- Steve Cishek -1 (-4)
- #Mark Zagunis -1 (0)
- *Allen Webster -2 (0)
- #Randy Rosario -2 (0)
- Jon Lester -3 (-2)
- Kyle Schwarber -3.5 (5)
- Pedro Strop -4.5 (2)
- Kyle Ryan -5 (-2)
- Addison Russell -6 (-8)
- Yu Darvish -6 (4)
- Albert Almora Jr. -6.5 (-1)
- Brad Brach -7 (-6)
- Carl Edwards Jr. -9 (1)
- Jason Heyward -14 (-7)
Kris Bryant rides a +7 stretch over the last 16 games to the top of the standings. Anthony Rizzo, the lifetime king of Heroes and Goats, holds onto second despite a -2 over that same stretch. Willson Contreras falls back to the pack with a -4 over that time period, but at +6 for the year, that is still good for third place. 13 players are with 6 points of Contreras and therefore could catch or pass him in a single game.
On the bottom of the standings, Jason Heyward drops into last place on the back of a -7 stretch over the last 16 games. The results have been somewhat better at the plate for Jason this season, but the net effect still has him at the bottom. Carl Edwards Jr. has been much better since his return from the injured list and with +1 over the last 16, he’s moved out of last place. Brad Brach is heading in completely the wrong direction with -6 and has moved into third to last.
Cole Hamels was the hottest player over the 16 games with three superhero performances and no negative results (+9). Brandon Kintzler has lead the way out of the pen (+8) and Bryant’s +7 has paced the offense. On the down side, Addison Russell (-8) “leads” the previously mentioned Heyward (-7) and Brach (-6).
33 different Cubs have appeared in some position of Heroes and Goats so far this season. in 2018, that number was 44. Players that have appeared in games and not appeared in H&G are Tim Collins, Rowan Wick, Jim Adduci, and James Norwood. Alec Mills spent time on the roster but has yet to appear in a game.
Who is the Cubs MVP of the season to date?
This poll is closed
Other (please leave your suggestion in the comments)