In the comments section of Al’s On the Horizon piece for this series, I said it was about time to win 10 out of three. I can only assume the Cubs heard me and misunderstood that I was looking for them a lopsided game. I’ll take it but, of course, it doesn’t count extra in the standings no matter how badly you beat the other team.
I have to admit, after reading that series preview and how the Pirates have righted their ship a bit the last few weeks, when they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first, I was pretty frustrated. So it was exciting for me when the Cubs plated five in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.
There are 15 games now remaining in the season. The Cubs got some help Friday night. Of the teams within five games of a playoff spot, only the Cubs and Phillies won. Inexplicably, the Diamondbacks have now lost five straight after they stormed back into the playoff picture.
The Cubs slugged five more homers on Friday. They are likely to set a new team record for most home runs in a single season at some time this weekend. On Friday, they set a team record for grand slams in a season at 10.
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 147, September 12: Cubs 17, Pirates 8 (79-68)
- Superhero: Nico Hoerner (.223). Nico had two hits, including a homer. He drove in four runs and scored two. He also drew a walk.
- Hero: Willson Contreras (.212). Willson had two homers among his three hits. He scored three times, drove in two and drew a walk.
- Sidekick: Anthony Rizzo (.174). Anthony had three hits, including a grand slam. He scored twice.
- Billy Goat: Jon Lester (-.268). Jon threw five innings, allowing 11 hits and walks, seven runs (four earned),
- Goat: Kris Bryant (-.025) . Kris had only one hit and one walk in five plate appearances.
- Kid: Victor Caratini/Ian Happ/Daniel Descalso (.000). Each was hitless in one at bat. There were others with the same score, but arguably, all of those players produced more relative value (reaching on a walk, etc.).
WPA Play of the Game: Pablo Reyes tripled with two on and two outs in the top of the first inning. This gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead six batters into the game. (.171)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Anthony Rizzo hit a grand slam with two outs and the Cubs leading 6-4 in the third inning. (.171)
Cumulative Standings Top/Bottom 3:
- Anthony Rizzo - 33
- Kris Bryant 30.75
- Kyle Hendricks 16
- !Carl Edwards Jr. -12
- Jason Heyward -17
- Pedro Strop -20.5
Up Next: The Cubs will look for a third straight win while the Pirates look to stand in their way. In game two of the series, Kyle Hendricks will be on the mound. Kyle is 10-9 with a 3.33 ERA in 159⅔ innings. Over his last seven starts, he is 2-1 with a 4.12 ERA in 39⅓ innings. His last start was a win against the Padres in which he allowed two runs, one earned, over 5⅔ innings. He allowed seven hits, one walk and five strikeouts. He’s faced the Pirates twice this year and is 0-1 despite only allowing three runs in 10 innings of work. Current Pirates have 120 PA against Kyle, but only a .544 OPS. Hendricks has had mastery over Josh Bell (25, .480) but has struggled against Adam Frazier (11, 1.255) who is the only current Pirate who has ever hit a homer against Hendricks.
25-year-old right hander James Marvel starts for the Pirates. He is making his second big league start. Last time, he allowed two runs in four hits and two walks over five innings against the Cardinals. In 28 starts in Double-A and Triple-A this year, Marvel is 16-5 with a 2.94 ERA in 162⅓ innings of work.
Hopefully, the Cubs can keep the bats going and Kyle can continue to slow down Pirates hitters.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Steven Brault (10 ER in 2 2⁄3 innings)
Other (please leave your suggestion in the comments)