Sunday afternoon was an end and a beginning. It was the end of the Joe Maddon era in Chicago. Al will have more on Joe at 9 a.m. CT. With the end of that era, the beginning of whatever is next is upon us. Someone will be next. And that someone will have big shoes to fill.
I definitely felt that Joe and the front office were increasingly not on the same page. With that being the case, I definitely felt it was time for a change. So, I welcome this change. At the same time, I can see and I can respect the opinion of those of you who would have kept Joe.
One of the pieces I wrote here at Bleed Cubbie Blue called for Joe to one day be admitted to the baseball Hall of Fame. I believe he will and I sure hope that when he gets there, he’s wearing a Cubs cap. I certainly believe that he was one of the best managers in Cubs history and quite possibly the best.
Joe will definitely be in the group of people I never forget for his time here. Joe was always a pro. He handled interviews with the best and he was thoroughly enjoyable to listen to talk about baseball. He will be a tough act to follow, no question.
As for the actual baseball on the field Sunday, there just wasn’t a lot to talk about. A depleted Cubs roster was overmatched by Jack Flaherty and the Cardinals. So the Cubs got to watch the Cardinals clinch the NL Central. I don’t want to hear any complaints from the Brewers. The Cubs beat the Cardinals twice. It was the Brewers who didn’t take care of business. Had they swept the Rockies, they’d have won the Central outright.
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 162, September 29: Cubs 0, Cardinals 9 (84-78)
- Superhero: Robel Garcia (.002). Robel had one of the Cubs’ three hits, a fifth-inning single.
- Hero: James Norwood (.001). Norwood threw two innings, allowing one hit, walking two and striking out three.
- Sidekick: Dillon Maples (.000). Dillon had the most positive performance of the (.000) players. He threw a perfect seventh with one strikeout.
- Billy Goat: Derek Holland (-.333). Derek was charged with five hits, four walks and seven runs in just two innings of work.
- Goat: Duane Underwood Jr. (-.030). Duane threw two innings and was charged with three hits, including two homers and two runs.
- Kid: Tony Kemp (-.025). Kemp was hitless in four at bats.
WPA Play of the Game: Dexter Fowler followed a Jack Flaherty two-out single with a two-run homer in the second to put the Cardinals up 4-0. (.136)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Marcell Ozuna batted with runners on first and third and no outs in the first inning. He grounded into a double play, putting the Cardinals up 2-0. (.042)
Up Next: We’ll have a piece later in the week reviewing the full standings for Heroes and Goats as well as a look at the full season team hitting, pitching and fielding statistics.
Also, look for future pieces from the desk of Heroes and Goats. One of those will be a look back at the top and bottom Cubs plays (by WPA) of the season. Another will look back at the top and bottom Cubs games (by WPA) of the season.
Historical Heroes and Goats will return for a third offseason. This year, I’ve decided to cover the 1969 Cubs. I think there are some parallels to this 2019 Cubs team. I also think it is fun to look back at how much the game has changed in the 50 years since that team. I hope you’ll join me for that trip into the past as we’ll try to remember some of the all-time great Cubs who played on that team. And, of course, we’ll try to introduce you to some of the lesser-known players from that team.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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Another player not named here (please leave your suggestion in the comments)