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2019 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 133

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The Cubs complete an improbable sweep in New York

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Now how about that? I love that I’m confused about this Cubs baseball team and it is in a good way. I’ve spent way more words in the second half of the season talking about the problems of this Cubs team than talking about the positives. What a pleasant surprise this series was! The Cubs swept three games in New York, with three talented Mets starters all being charged with losses.

The Cubs saw their road record dip all of the way to 23-39 (.371) before winning five straight road games, improving the road record to 28-39 (.418). It’s hard to move a winning percentage that far this late in the season.

On Tuesday night, when the Cubs needed heroes, the got heroic efforts from Yu Darvish, Javier Baez and Addison Russell. On Wednesday night, the offense more or less all teamed up to ambush the Mets for 10 runs in three innings and then the bullpen shut things down late to preserve the win. On Thursday night, there were two more heroes.

Jon Lester outdueled Jacob deGrom. Sure, deGrom is going to be a star in this league for a long time. But on this night, Lester scrapped through six innings of one-run ball to keep the Cubs momentum going. Games like this are definitely a reminder of why it is hard to conclusively say that you would absolutely, positively not let Jon start a playoff game should the Cubs get into a full series.

Victor Caratini got a start at first base in place of the injured Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo boasted some very good career numbers against deGrom. But he had never had a two-homer game against the Mets’ ace — and that’s exactly what Vic did. Not only did he hit two homers, but he drove in all four runs.

The Cubs have had some fortunate luck in deGrom starts by way of winning the game after he left. Not this time. They won the game while he was on the mound, indeed scored all four runs off him.

This was a special, special series. It won’t mean quite as much if they don’t come home and take care of business on the upcoming homestand. As frustrating as the sweep at the hands of the Nationals was, the Cubs have now won 8 of 11. The Cardinals are hot, but so are the Cubs. And reinforcements are coming. The Cubs should add more talent in the next week than pretty much any other team in the National League does. Willson Contreras could return next week and hopefully Rizzo will beat him back.

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 133, August 29: Cubs 4, Mets 1 (72-61)


Source: FanGraphs

THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero: Victor Caratini (.437). Vic had three hits, two of which were homers, two runs scored, and four RBI in just four at bats. In 201 PA, Vic has a line of .274/.363/.480 (wRC+ 119). He has a BB% of 11.9 and a K% of 22.4. I feel fairly confident in saying that in 2019, the Cubs had the best backup catcher in baseball.
  • Hero: Jon Lester (.213). Six innings, five hits, three walks, just one run. He struck out four.
  • Sidekick: Tyler Chatwood (.045). Tyler looked really, really sharp Thursday night. He struck out two of the three batters he faced in a perfect inning. Three Cubs relievers combined to throw three innings with only one base-runner on an error.

THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat: Nicholas Castellanos (-.079). Nick has to be happy to get back to Chicago where he has flat out crushed. He was hitless in four at bats and struck out twice.
  • Goat: Jonathan Lucroy (-068). He only had three at bats, but they were also hitless. He struck out once.
  • Kid: Jason Heyward (-.051). Jason was hitless in four at bats and struck out once.

WPA Play of the Game: Kris Bryant and Javier Baez had back-to-back one out singles in the seventh inning. That set the stage for Caratini in a tie game. He hit a three-run homer. (.344)

*Mets Play of the Game: J.D. Davis homered with two outs in the first inning to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. (.116)

Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:

  • Anthony Rizzo 34
  • Kris Bryant 29.75
  • Kyle Hendricks 13
  • !Carl Edwards Jr. -12
  • Jason Heyward -15
  • Pedro Strop -20.5

Up Next: The Cubs come home looking for a ninth win in 12 tries. They face a 68-65 Milwaukee Brewer team. The Brewers have dropped six of 10 and are only 15-15 over their last 30 games. They are just 29-36 on the road. Over their last 10 games, the Brewers lost three, then won three, then loss three, then won the last one they played. The Cubs lead the season series 7-5 and have won the season series each of the last two years.

In the first game, the Cubs will send Jose Quintana to the mound. Jose is 11-8 with a 4.05 ERA in 146⅔ innings on the season, but he is 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 39⅔ innings over his last seven. Jose entered Thursday night’s game as the No. 26 overall pitcher in terms of fWAR. That is despite a real clunker the last time out. In that one, he allowed seven hits, three walks and five runs (four earned) in just four innings. That was Jose’s first loss in more than two months. Q has been notoriously good against the Brewers, though not as much in 2019. In four starts against the Brewers this year, he’s allowed 16 runs in only 20⅓ innings. He has a 1-2 record in those starts. The one win was the last time he faced them on August 2 and was at Wrigley. Current Brewers have 354 PA against Jose with a .675 OPS. Lorenzo Cain has the most PA (98, .697). Ryan Braun is one Brewer who’s really had Jose’s number. Braun has five homers in 43 PA (.985).

Chase Anderson starts for the Brewers. Chase is 6-3 with a 4.34 ERA in 112 innings. He is just 1-1 with a 5.19 ERA over his last seven starts (34⅔ innings). Last time out he threw five scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks. He allowed three hits, two walks and struck out five. He’s only faced the Cubs once this year, that was on July 27 in Milwaukee. In that one he threw five innings, allowed four hits, one walk and two runs. He struck out four.

The 31-year-old right-hander has been hit hard by right-handed hitters in 2019 (.914), but has held down lefties (.569). He’s been much worse on the road (.906) than at home (.642). Current Cubs have 209 PA against him with a .621 OPS. Kris Bryant has the best results with three homers in just 28 PA (.975). Willson Contreras will be sad to miss this one (1.579 OPS in 19 PA). Javier Baez has struggled against him though with just one hit and one walk in 18 PA (.170).

This team is not that team, but the 2018 Brewers were five games out of first on the morning of August 30. They’ll be 5½ back at the same time this year. That team closed out 20-7, then won a one-game playoff to win the division. They won their last eight and two of their last 11 including the one-game playoff to get into the playoffs.

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Victor Caratini
    (138 votes)
  • 3%
    Jon Lester
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Cubs bullpen (10 batters, no hits, no walks)
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (please leave your suggestion in the comments below)
    (0 votes)
148 votes total Vote Now