Just eight games between days off this time around and so we get a quick check in. After 130 games, the Cubs were 69-61. They’d just dropped three straight to the Nationals and things were not looking great. But, a sweep of the Mets in New York, followed by dropping two out of three to the Brewers and then a two-game mini-sweep of the Mariners lead to an odd 6-2 stretch.
I included a poll in that last overview piece. Five of you were too optimistic (predicting the Cubs would win seven or more). 20 of you were right on with a five- or six-win projection. 26 of you were just a little pessimistic at three or four. Four of you thought the bottom would drop out (two or fewer wins). Fortunately, those four were definitively wrong. We’ll have another of those polls at the bottom and weigh in on how the Cubs will do over the next 18 games, as the Cubs begin a stretch of 18 consecutive games on Thursday with a series opener against the Brewers.
After six wins in eight games, Fangraphs now has the Cubs odds to make the playoffs at 81.2% (up 15.1). Their odds of winning the division are at 35.3 (down 6.1). Fangraphs still thinks the Cubs have a 5.4% chance of winning the World Series (up 1.0). They have six teams with better odds to win the World Series than the Cubs. This positive stretch of games showed that Fangraphs still believes in the Cubs to some extent, while acknowledging the reality that three games is a lot to make up with just 24 games left in the season.
Much of the story of the 2019 N.L. playoff picture will come into focus over the next 18 games before we check in again. Though, with the Cubs and Cardinals playing the final weekend of the season (in St. Louis), this is a story that might go all of the way down to the bitter end.
Let’s check in on the cumulative standings for Heroes and Goats.
Year to Date Total (change since last full standings)
(# = returned to minors, * = injured list, @ = restricted list, ! = out of the organization)
- Anthony Rizzo 34 (0)
- Kris Bryant 30.75 (+1)
- Kyle Hendricks 14 (-2)
- Javier Baez 9.5 (+5)
- Kyle Schwarber 9.25 (+5)
- Rowan Wick 6.5 (0)
- Cole Hamels 6.5 (+1.5)
- Nicholas Castellanos 6 (-4)
- Ian Happ 6 (+1)
- Willson Contreras 6 (+1)
- Kyle Ryan 4.33 (+3.33)
- Daniel Descalso 4 (0)
- Ben Zobrist 2.5 (0)
- Brandon Kintzler 2 (+1.5)
- Tyler Chatwood 1.5 (+1)/3 (0) hitter
- Jonathan Lucroy 1 (-2)
- *Xavier Cedeno 1 (0)
- #Dillon Maples .5 (0)
- #Randy Rosario .5 (0)
- #David Bote .5 (0)
- Duane Underwood Jr. .25 (0)
- @Tony Barnette 0(0)
- Taylor Davis -.5 (0)
- Craig Kimbrel -1 (0)
- Jose Quintana -1.5 (+1.5)
- #Mark Zagunis -1.5 (0)
- Alec Mills -2 (0)
- *Allen Webster -2 (0)
- Adbert Alzolay -3 (0)
- @Carlos Gonzalez -3 (0)
- @Martin Maldonado -3 (0)
- *Derek Holland -3.75 (0)
- Victor Caratini -4 (+.5)
- Addison Russell -6 (-4)
- Steve Cishek -5.17 (+.33)
- Tony Kemp -5.67 (-1.67)
- Jon Lester -3.5 (+3)
- #Brad Brach -7.5 (0)/-.5 (0) hitting
- Robel Garcia -10 (-3)
- Albert Almora Jr. -11.5 (0)
- @Carl Edwards Jr. -12 (0)
- Jason Heyward -20 (-10)
- Pedro Strop -20.5 (0)
Anthony Rizzo finished the 2018 Heroes and Goats season tied for fourth with 16 points. That actually represents a fairly down season for him by H&G standards. In 2017, he was first with 38. In the World Championship year, he finished third with 34.5. In 2015, he was first with 65.5(!). In the inaugural year of this series, he was first with 47.5. So, prior to this season, this series has run for five years. Rizzo has finished first three times and never out of the top five. He’s averaged 40.3 points. With 24 games to play, he looks poised for yet another win and could have another 40+ season.
Kris Bryant is in second at 30.75 and most likely is the only player with a chance to top Rizzo. Kyle Hendricks is in third with 14. No other Cub is over +10. While mathematically possible, it is unlikely someone can pile up +25 or more points over the final 24 games.
On the bottom end, Pedro Strop is looking like a possibility to go from first to last. He finished in first in 2018 with +22 but is sitting at -20.5 right now. He’s occupied last for a while now. But, Jason Heyward is knocking on the door to the cellar at -20. Carl Edwards Jr. rounds out the bottom three at -12.
Javier Baez, Jon Lester and Kyle Schwarber had the largest positive moves over these eight games at +5 each. On the bottom end, Jason Heyward had the largest negative move at -10. Nick Castellanos and Addison Russell were each at -4.
- Average: .251 was .251 (8th NL, 15th MLB, MLB average .253)
- On Base: .330 was .330 (4th NL, 9th MLB, MLB average .323)
- Slugging: .449 was .447 (5th NL, 9th MLB, MLB average .437)
- OPS: .778 was .779 (5th NL, 9th MLB, MLB average .760)
- Runs/game: 4.89 was 4.91 (6th NL, 13th MLB, MLB average 4.85)
Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a lot of movement this late in the year. The Cubs did move up a notch in the on base percentage standings (passing the Brewers). The Cubs are somewhere between a top half and top third offense, depending on your choice of metric. Probably the most important one, runs per game, they are just above a top half team. The Diamondbacks have almost 50 more runs than the Cubs for fifth best in the NL.
- Hits/9: 8.5, was 8.5 (6th NL, 10th MLB, MLB average 8.8)
- Walks/9: 3.2, was 3.2 (6th NL, 13th MLB, MLB average 3.3)
- HR/9: 1.3, was 1.3 (5th NL, 9th MLB, MLB average 1.4)
- K/9: 8.8, was 8.8 (9th NL, 16th MLB, MLB average 8.8)
- Runs allowed/game: 4.32, was 4.44 (2nd NL, 7th MLB, MLB average 4.85)
- Quality Start %: 47, was 46 (5th NL, 8th MLB, MLB average 38%)
- Average Game Score: 53, was 52 (4th NL, 7th MLB, MLB average 50)
- Save %: 60, was 59 (10th NL. 19th MLB, MLB average 63%)
- Inherited Runner Score %: 34, was 34 (7th NL, 12th MLB, MLB average 32%)
Not all that surprisingly, these numbers did tick up a bit in the right direction. Particularly the numbers most impacted by starting pitchers. The Cubs got largely good starting pitching over the eight games. Certainly, two games against the woeful Mariners offense didn’t hurt. The second best runs per game allowed in the National League is not nothing. This is at least some portion of the reason that the Cubs are still considered a World Series contender, even if they are running well back in that race.
- Errors: 92, was 90 (12th NL, 22nd MLB, MLB Average 84)
- Defensive Efficiency [percentage of balls in play turned into outs]: .688, was .687 (6th NL, 14th MLB, MLB average .687)
Just two errors in the last eight games, including a current four game errorless streak. Again, can’t hurt. For reference, the Dodgers are one of the teams with more errors than the Cubs (one more error in three more games). The defense has been trending positive.
Up Next: Just 24 games remain to be played in the season. 18 of them will occur before our next check-in. Those games are four in Milwaukee starting Thursday, four in San Diego, three against Pittsburgh, three against Cincinnati and four against the Cardinals. Only the Cardinals are in serious contention for the playoffs. The Brewers would almost certainly need at least three wins in this series to have even a remote chance of making the playoffs among those opponents.
These next 18 games will see the Cubs complete their home schedule as well. From where the Cubs stand right now, they have to be hoping that the final series of the year in St. Louis is an important one. But for that to be true, they’ll have to take care of their own business over the next 18. Can they do that?
How many games will the Cubs win out of their next 18?
This poll is closed
4 or less