After a few days straying from the formula that has gotten them to where they are at this point in the season, the Cubs returned to that formula Tuesday night. Yu Darvish gave them a strong six inning start. The hitters grinded out at bats, seeing just shy of 200 pitches in eight innings. That formula was enough for a 6-3 win.
Ironically, 6-3 is a middle of the road score and at the end of the game, that’s what it was. Neither dominant, nor a down to the last pitch game. But, at times this game felt like it could go in either direction. Part of the game felt like it would be a runaway Cubs victory. Part of it felt like this one just might get away from them.
But in the end, the Cubs notched their 15th victory of the season. In a year with expanded playoffs, many believe somewhere are 30-32 wins should get you into the playoffs and the Cubs are just about half way there with 60 percent of the schedule remaining after today. Today is another day in which they’ll have the opportunity to pick up two wins during this afternoon’s doubleheader.
The Cubs have started to feel the pain of injuries with Brad Wieck likely done for the season, Steven Souza Jr. and Tyler Chatwood on the injured list, and Kris Bryant unavailable for at least the next couple of days. Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber are also reportedly a bit banged up. With that being the case, if the Cubs could bank at least one more victory this afternoon, that could be invaluable going forward. This team has enough depth to survive some injuries, but if they experience many more, it could get tight.
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) 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. With that, let’s get to the results.
Game 22, August 18: Cubs 6, Cardinals 3 (15-7)
- Superhero: Yu Darvish (.227). This wasn’t Yu’s best outing, but he was very effective. He worked six innings and allowed eight hits, one walk and one run. He struck out seven. It is possible he was adversely effected by the very long at bats the Cubs had. Particularly as the game wore on.
- Hero: Jason Heyward (.132). J-Hey stayed red hot with an RBI-triple, a single and a hit by pitch in four plate appearances. He scored once.
- Sidekick: Ian Happ (.108). Happ led off and continued his torrid start to the 2020 season. He homered, singled, drew two walks, but also struck out with the bases loaded (keeping him from being a bit higher here).
- Billy Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.053). Anthony did have a single and a walk in five plate appearances. All three of his outs came with men on base, leaving a total of six runners on base.
- Goat: David Bote (-.023). Bote also had a single and a walk in his four plate appearances.
- Kid: Dan Winkler (-.016). Dan inherited runners on first and second. He promptly allowed a single and a walk. He did get a double play grounder, but by that point two runs had scored. After hitting a batter, his night was done.
WPA Play of the Game: The double play induced by Winkler ends up being the play of the game. That play increased the Cubs chances of winning by 13.6 percent.
*Cardinals Play of the Game: In the top of the fourth inning, Matt Carpenter batted with a runner on first and the Cardinals trailing 1-0. He doubled. (.131)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Ian Happ/Kyle Hendricks 9
- Jason Kipnis 8
- Nico Hoerner -6.5
- Willson Contreras -7
- Kris Bryant -10
Up Next: An afternoon doubleheader will conclude this five-game set with the Cardinals. Alec Mills will start for the Cubs. He’s coming off of an outing that fell apart after throwing four no-hit innings. He’ll look to bounce back. The Cardinals send Jack Flaherty to the hill. Flaherty has made only one start so far this season and that was almost a month ago (July 24 versus the Pirates). That one was quite good. Flaherty is generally the Cardinals best pitcher, so this is a tough matchup. The oddsmakers see it that way too and favor the Cardinals. The teams haven’t announced starters yet for the second game.