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2019 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 109

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Home sweet home; Cubs return home, win 6-2

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

After managing just three runs in three games in St. Louis, two of which were unearned, it took one batter into the homestand for the Cubs to plate their first run. That was thanks to a first inning homer by Jason Heyward. That’s a single, a double and a homer in three games in the lead-off spot. He added a walk today as well. Jason Heyward, professional hitter. It’s good to see him back on top of his game and on his way to a very strong season at the plate.

Every Cub starter contributed to this win. All nine starters had hits. Jose Quintana allowed two runs over six-plus innings. This was just the kind of game the Cubs have been looking for these days.

The best sign was productive Javier Baez. Javy was a beast Friday with a homer and two doubles. He drove in three, stole a base, scored two. He made some nice defensive plays. This is the best Javy we’ve seen in some time. This is the first multiple extra-base hit game out of Javy in more than a week (July 24).

I know I’ve been “that guy” quite a bit lately, so you’ll hopefully forgive me. I’m not throwing a parade regarding this victory. The Cubs did what they needed to do. That’s certainly better than if they hadn’t done what they needed to do. But we’ve seen this drill all too many times. The Cubs have played extremely well at home. Among the best teams in baseball. However, they continue to struggle on the road. Let’s hope the Cubs hold form and win four or more games on this six game homestand. Then we’ll see what they are made of on the road trip coming up: 10 games, three cities, 11 days. The Cubs can ill afford another seven or more losses on that trip.

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 109, August 2: Cubs 6, Brewers 2 (58-51)


Source: FanGraphs

THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero: Javier Baez (.262). As noted above, three hits in five at bats. All for extra bases.
  • Hero: Jose Quintana (.106). Six innings, seven hits allowed, no walks. He struck out five. Four straight games now the Cubs have held the opposition without a walk. The team was down to just 3.3 BB/9 even before today’s game. This is the lowest walk rate of the Cubs season.
  • Sidekick: Jason Heyward (.079). Jason set the tone with a lead-off homer to start the game. He also had a walk in five plate appearances.

THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat: Willson Contreras (-.060). Just one hit in five at bats. He scored a run. He also had a beautiful throw on a caught stealing where it really looked like the runner had stolen second off of Q who didn’t appear to pay enough attention.
  • Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.042). It was an odd day at the plate for Rizzo. He had a single, a walk and two strikeouts in five plate appearances. He saw quite a number of pitches in this game, but just didn’t really deliver any significant hits.
  • Kid: Nicholas Castellanos (-.021). Nick told Chicago media that it was okay for them to call him Nick rather than Nicholas. Very much like using Javy more than Javier, you can expect me to call him Nick. Probably even more so. Nick continues to hit the ball all over the field. He didn’t end up with a lot to show for it today. Just one double in five at bats.

WPA Play of the Game: It was tied at one when Javier Baez stepped to the plate with one out and one on in the third inning. He hit a homer to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead. (.200)

*Brewers Play of the Game: Ryan Braun hit a one-out homer in the second inning to tie the game at one. (.109)

Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:

  • Kris Bryant 25.5
  • Anthony Rizzo 20
  • Kyle Hendricks 14
  • !Carl Edwards Jr. -12
  • Albert Almora Jr. -12.5
  • *Pedro Strop -17

Up Next: The Cubs will seek back to back wins for the first time since July 16 and 17 against the Reds. Despite the struggles, they have actually now won three of five, perfectly alternating wins and losses. They’ll hope to break that pattern today. The Brewers have lost two in a row and four of five and have fallen 2½ games behind in the NL Central.

Cole Hamels comes off of the IL to start for the Cubs. Cole is 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 99⅔ innings. Over his last seven starts Hamels is 2-3 with a 2.41 ERA in 41 innings. That includes the last one which was just one inning in Cincinnati on June 28 when he left with an injury. Cole Has started two games this year against the Brewers. He is 1-0 and has allowed three runs in 13 innings of work. The one win is the only decision Cole has against the Brewers dating back to June of 2015. The Brewers have 168 plate appearances against Hamels with a .632 OPS. Ryan Braun has the most PA (47) and has decent success (.798). Christian Yelich has 31 PA with a .787 OPS.

The Brewers counter with Gio Gonzalez. The 33-year-old left-hander has been significantly limited by injuries. Gio is just 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA in 41⅓ innings. Gio is also 2-1 over his last seven starts, in which he has a 3.47 ERA over 36⅓ innings. His last start was against the Cubs on July 26. In that one, he allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in 6⅓ innings. Gio has a 1-1 record and a 3.30 ERA over his last five starts and 30 innings against the Cubs dating back to May of 2016.

Gio has dominated left-handed hitters (.368), but is susceptible to right-handed hitters (.787). He’s also been hit much harder on the road (.790) than he has at home (.511). This would be a great day to give some of the Cubs lefties a day off. I hope that some of the newcomers get a chance to play and the Cubs try to take advantage of some favorable splits against Gio. Current Cubs have 194 PA against Gio with a .555 OPS. Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo have struggled (45/.432 and 34/.335).

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Javier Baez
    (55 votes)
  • 26%
    Jose Quintana
    (22 votes)
  • 6%
    Jason Heyward
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (please leave your suggestion in the comments)
    (0 votes)
82 votes total Vote Now