That one wasn’t a lot of fun. The Cubs squandered a bunch of opportunities offensively, particularly early on. They also didn’t make enough plays defensively, ultimately allowing two unearned runs. It was one of those days where you could see that if you could have come up with a big hit early on or made a few good pitches, a few good plays, maybe you could have gotten the Pirates to fold up shop and take yet another loss in a growing pile of losses.
But, the Cubs simply weren’t good enough in this one. They didn’t execute. They didn’t make the right calls when given the choice of different options. This was a failure of the hitters, the pitchers, and the coaching staff. This is the kind of game that usually makes you want to just turn the page and move on to the next game.
Before we can move on, we need to recap this one. And so 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 37, September 3: Pirates 6, Cubs 2 (22-15)
- Superhero: Jason Heyward (.084). Jason stays red hot. He had another hit and a walk in four plate appearances. Though he did strikeout twice.
- Hero: Victor Caratini (.080). Something you won’t see often, Vic had two hits and an RBI in two at bats before being lifted for a pinch hitter.
- Sidekick: Ian Happ (.076). Ian had a hit and a strikeout in his first two at bats. Then he got injured in his third. The Cubs can ill afford Ian being out for any length of time. He had absolutely been the most productive Cubs bat this year.
- Billy Goat: Alec Mills (-.235). I think everyone recognized that it was pretty much time for Alec to leave the rotation. Then both Tyler Chatwood and Jose Quintana had their second injuries of the season. So Mills isn’t going anywhere yet. He threw five innings, allowing seven hits, a walk and four runs. He only struck out two. He certainly isn’t a good enough pitcher at this point to be going three times through the lineup.
- Goat: Cameron Maybin (-.160). Cameron was hitless in three at bats after taking over for Ian, reaching once on an error.
- Kid: Javier Baez (-.127). The lost season continues. He was hitless in four at bats. Baseball is less fun when Javy struggles.
WPA Play of the Game: Bryan Reynolds batted with runners on first and third and two outs in the third inning. The Cubs were leading 2-1 at the time. Reynolds hit a three-run homer. (.303)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Jason Heyward batted with a runner on second and one out in the sixth inning. At that point, the Cubs only trailed by two. He doubled, putting runners on second and third with one out. (.118)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Yu Darvish/Ian Happ 15
- Kyle Schwarber/Kyle Hendricks 9
- Javier Baez -8.5
- Kris Bryant -10
- Willson Contreras -10.5
Up Next: The Cubs and Cardinals open a five-game set at Wrigley Field with a Friday night game. Yu Darvish gets the opener against Jack Flaherty. Yu has been dominant this year and the oddsmakers give him the nod in this one accordingly. When last we saw Flaherty, he was lasting only 1⅔ innings against the Cubs in his first game back after the Cardinals COVID-19 hiatus. Somehow, someway, Flaherty has a 1.93 ERA in four appearances on the year. He’s thrown a total of only 18⅔ innings, and seven of those were in the Cardinals season opener way back in July. In two starts against AL teams since then, he’s thrown 10 innings allowing only one run on four hits and two walks. Suffice is to say he’s rounding into form. He threw 83 pitches in the last outing and so I’d expect him to be able to get up around the 90-100 pitch mark. This game and this series will not be easy ones.