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2020 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 43

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Cubs win second straight behind strong effort from Alec Mills

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Alec Mills has had a rough go of it after a few good starts at the beginning of the season. But on Tuesday night he was fantastic. The wind was blowing in fairly hard and Mills pitched to the condition. Several Reds balls that appeared well struck died. Meanwhile, the Cubs offense took advantage of some subpar fielding in right field for a pair of run scoring triples and that was all she wrote.

The Cubs moved to 20-1 when they get a quality start. The formula simply isn’t that difficult. On a team that is putting runs on the board every night, a strong pitching performance is going to result in a Cubs victory. It might not be that way come playoff time. But, the Cubs moved one step closer to the playoffs and a division title with their win Monday night.

The Cardinals had the expected outcome with a doubleheader on tap; that is they split two games. So no nightmare, nor dream, scenario. Still, the net result is a gain of half a game. The Cubs have 17 games to play and a three-game lead. The Reds and Brewers each lost and so they both fell further out of contention. It is becoming pretty clear that the Cubs and Cardinals will represent the NL Central in this modified playoff format. It’s just a matter of which order. With each passing day, it is a little more likely that the Cubs hold on to their division title.

On top of the positive result for Mills, if you squint a little bit, it looks like Javier Baez might be coming out of his funk. After a couple of fluky hits in the win on Monday, he had one of the triples and crushed a ball that would have been a homer most nights but held in the wind on Tuesday. I’m going to need to see it for a longer period of time before I’ll declare him back, but certainly this looked like a step in the right direction.

And 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 43, September 8: Cubs 3, Reds 0 (25-18)


Source: FanGraphs

THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero: Alec Mills (.299). Six innings pitched, four hits and three walks allowed but no runs. He struck out six.
  • Hero: David Bote (.183). Bote had a two-run triple to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead that turned out to be all of the offense they needed.
  • Sidekick: Javier Baez (.056). Javy had an RBI triple in three trips to the plate.

THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat: Jason Kipnis (-.060). JK has been pretty dependable for the Cubs, but he was baffled by Tyler Mahle on Tuesday. He struck out three times in three at bats.
  • Goat: Ian Happ (-.055). Happ had the same troubles. He ended up with three strikeouts in four at bats.
  • Kid: Anthony Rizzo (-.043). Anthony at least put the ball in play, but he too was hitless in four at bats.

WPA Play of the Game: David Bote batted with runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the second. He lifted a ball towards the right field corner that Nick Castellanos appeared to have at first, but ultimately was nowhere near. Bote ended up on third with a triple and the Cubs had a 2-0 lead. (.193)

*Reds Play of the Game: Just in front of the Bote triple, Jason Kipnis batted with runners on first and second and one out. He struck out. (.046)

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    Alec Mills
    (134 votes)
  • 14%
    David Bote
    (23 votes)
  • 1%
    Javier Baez
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (1 vote)
161 votes total Vote Now

Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)

  • Ian Happ 18
  • Yu Darvish 17
  • Kyle Hendricks 12
  • Kris Bryant/Javier Baez -10
  • Anthony Rizzo -11.5

Up Next: The Cubs will try for three straight. They’ll have the right guy on the mound to do it. Yu Darvish makes the start for the Cubs, looking to win his eighth straight start. He’ll oppose Trevor Bauer. This is a rematch of a game that the Cubs won in Cincinnati August 29. They’ll hope to duplicate that feat in this one. The oddsmakers see it that way. Let’s hope they are right and the Cubs can make it three straight.