So like I was saying, you kind of expect to split a doubleheader. So, um, just don’t get swept. Yeah, about that. The Cubs laid a pretty big goose egg on Saturday. Pretty much all of the problems that have cropped up for the Cubs popped up in this one. There was a bit of struggle with men on base, there was ineffective starting and there was a whole lot of the core offensive stars coming up empty.
Ian Happ did hit two homers in the first game. Aside from that, there was very little to cheer about as a Cubs fan on Saturday. They dropped two to the Cards, giving up two games in the standings. The Reds also won, so they gained 1½ games. The Brewers lost, at least. So they gained just a half game. The Cubs’ lead now stands at 2½ games over the Cards, four over the Brewers and five over the Reds. The Cubs have just 20 games remaining in their season. But the Cardinals have 29 games left and not a lot of time to play them in. Will the blistering schedule ever catch up with them? That could be the difference between first and second.
At this point, the Cubs have to hope they can get enough healthy pitching and that a few of the guys who they really count on, particularly Javier Baez (wRC+ 57 heading into Saturday’s game) and Kris Bryant (54). Additionally, Anthony Rizzo, Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber are probably all capable of even more than they’ve done. If the Cubs can’t get some of these guys going in the right direction, this season is going to end in one heck of a train wreck.
And with that, we turn our attention to yesterday’s games 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 39, September 5: Cardinals 4, Cubs 2 (23-16)
- Superhero: Ian Happ (.064). Ian had two solo homers in four at bats, providing basically the entire offense.
- Hero/Sidekick: (tie) Javier Baez/Jason Adam (.052). Javy had one hit in three at bats. Jason threw two scoreless innings, striking out two.
- Billy Goat: Adbert Alzolay (-.176). He did record eight outs, striking out four. But he allowed two hits and five walks. He did manage to only be charged with two runs.
- Goat: Anthony RIzzo (-.150). Rizzo was hitless in four at bats.
- Kid: Ryan Tepera (-.101). Ryan recorded four outs. He allowed three hits and a walk. He was also charged with two runs. He did strikeout two.
WPA Play of the Game: Matt Carpenter batted with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning. The game was tied at one at the time. He walked, driving in the go ahead run. (.130)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Ian Happ led off the bottom of the first with a solo homer. (.113)
Who was the Player of Game 39?
This poll is closed
Game 40, September 5: Cardinals 5, Cubs 1 (23-17)
- Superhero: Jason Kipnis (.090). He had a hit and a walk in two plate appearances.
- Hero: Duane Underwood Jr. (.032). He threw a scoreless inning, striking out one.
- Sidekick: Jason Heyward (.012). He had a hit and a walk in three plate appearances.
- Billy Goat: Colin Rea (-.296). He threw two innings, allowing five hits, two walks and was charged with four runs. He struck out three.
- Goat: Javier Baez (-.092). He was hitless in three at bats and struck out twice.
- Kid: Kyle Schwarber (-.069). He had one walk in three plate appearances.
WPA Play of the Game: Tyler O’Neill batted with a runner on first and no outs. He homered, the second in three batters allowed by Rea. That put the Cards up 3-0 and that was just about the end of things.
*Cubs Play of the Game: Jason Kipnis led off the third inning with a double. The Cubs were down 3-0 at the time. (.058)
Who was the Player of Game 40?
This poll is closed
None of the above
Up Next: The fourth game of the five-game set will be Sunday night. The teams have split their first eight games this season. The Cubs turn to Jon Lester as they try to bounce back. Dakota Hudson was pushed back from the second game of the doubleheader to Sunday. The Cubs will hope to stop the bleeding with a win. As bad as today was, if they can split these final two games of the series, they’ll begin their next series with that 2½-game lead heading into their final 18 games of the season.