The Cubs won a second straight game on Monday night. After a week with some struggles, it feels comforting to string together a couple of wins. With any luck, the Cubs will be able to stack a few more wins in this trip to Detroit.
The big story of the night was the offensive explosion from Javier Baez. As someone who writes about the Cubs most days during the regular season, I have a pretty good feel for patterns. One of those patterns is that right about the time I start really getting down on Javy, thinking he needs some time off or that his hyper-aggressive playing style is catching up to him, he has a breakout game. And so it was that I finally broke down and wrote about his struggles over the weekend and now he busts out. Two homers were part of a three-hit game.
Nothing fixes from one game. But, make no mistake, the vast majority of all of the players in MLB pile up their numbers against lesser competition. That is the ebb and flow of things. Every now and then you happen to be a good matchup against one of the better pitchers or they make a mistake that you took advantage of it. But, it’s nights like last night’s nine run output from the Cubs offense that balances out a whole lot of struggles against tougher competition.
Regardless of who or what the opposition is, the win counts. It’s hard to say the Cubs “needed” that. But it had been some time since they won back-to-back games, so this one felt a little bigger than some. With the win, the Cubs remained three games in front of the Cardinals as the Cubs creep up on the halfway point of their season. The Cardinals, so far, have done a really good job of surviving the onslaught of games they have clustered together after missing a full two weeks of the season.
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 28, August 24: Cubs 9, Tigers 3 (18-10)
- Superhero: David Bote (.197). Bote also had a three-hit night. He had a home run and four driven in to land in the top spot.
- Hero: Javier Baez (.135). Javy had three hits, two homers and three driven in.
- Sidekick: Nico Hoerner (.134). Hoerner sneaks into the third spot with just one hit, but was hit by pitch, had an RBI, a run scored and even stole a base.
- Billy Goat: Willson Contreras (-.068). In a night where there were Cubs on base all night long, he had one hit in five at bats and scored a run.
- Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.052). Anthony finishes one spot higher with largely the same line. His single drove in a run.
- Kid: Victor Caratini (-.033). The box score shows Vic at no hits in two at bats. But, he walked once, was hit by two pitches and scored once.
WPA Play of the Game: David Bote batted with runners on first and second and two outs in the second inning, the game was scoreless at that point. His RBI single kicked off the scoring. (.104)
*Tigers Play of the Game: With no outs and runners on first and second in the third inning, the Cubs leading 2-0, Casey Mize coaxed a ground ball off the bat of Willson Contreras. The Tigers got the force at second and then Javy Baez had strayed too far past third base and also ended up out in a rundown. (.084)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Yu Darvish 12
- Kyle Hendricks 9
- Ian Happ/Jason Kipnis 8
- Willson Contreras -8
- Anthony Rizzo -8.5
- Kris Bryant -10
Up Next: The Cubs will go for three straight tonight against the Tigers. Tyler Chatwood will return from the injured list to make the start. He’ll face Spencer Turnbull. The odds-makers once again see this one in the Cubs favor. Let’s keep it going!
Author’s Note: Once again, I’ll remind you that this will be the last Heroes and Goats until Saturday. On Saturday, I’ll have two articles, one to recap the Tuesday/Wednesday games. Then I’ll have the regular piece on the Friday game.