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2021 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 160

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Cubs battle to the end, but come up short 4-3

Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images

The Cubs have had just so many of these stories this year. Of course, guys like Patrick Wisdom, Rafael Ortega and Frank Schwindel have (rightfully) chewed up all of the headlines doing the “out of nowhere” thing. But tonight’s Superhero, Trayce Thompson, certainly qualifies as well. Sure, his role has been smaller. But before 2021, Trayce had last appeared in the majors in 2018. He last had a productive year during the Cubs’ championship season. Some of you may remember him hitting 13 homers for the Dodgers. More of you will remember him from his rookie season of 2015 with the White Sox. That was his most productive season, putting up a 147 OPS+ over 135 plate appearances.

He’s returned in 2021. He’s only hitting .190 over his 28 plate appearances. But, he has managed three homers and seven walks over that time and that has resulted in an OPS of 1.060 (wRC+ of 171). Every small sample size warning of course applies. But it is just crazy that Trayce has not only returned, but he’s been as good as he’s ever been. Like Ortega, Thompson is in his age-30 season. The Cubs have gotten incredible mileage out of their older guy/under utilized group.

As with so many of the others, this performance is probably pretty meaningless. But, still a real treat for guys like Thompson to get a chance after spending a lot of time grinding in the minor leagues.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, they only had a very short-lived lead in this one. Trayce Thompson hit a three-run, go ahead homer in the top of the sixth inning. But the Cardinals tied it right back up in the bottom of the frame. The game stayed there until the ninth inning when the Cardinals walked it off with two outs. With the defeat, the Cubs are locked into the seventh overall draft pick for next season. So there is that.

It appears that some inclement weather is heading to St. Louis. To the extent that baseball is played the remainder of the weekend, it would be a lot of fun for the Cubs to win one or two there. Unfortunately, tonight’s Cardinals win was their 10th of the season against the Cubs. The best the Cubs can do is take nine of 19. Still, even nine would be a bit of a thorn in the side of the Cardinals. The difference in how the Cubs did against the Cards and how they did against the Brewers (4-15) is no small factor in how this division was ultimately decided.

In Heroes and Goats news, Trent Giambrone became the 63rd different Cub to appear at least once in H&G, extending a club record since we’ve tracked this metric. Erick Castillo played, but didn’t reach a podium. He is another person who could, in theory, add to the total. Cory Abbott pitched well enough for a spot, but didn’t get there. He certainly won’t get another chance after throwing five in this one.

Let’s go to the numbers and see what this one looked like. As you’ll recall, 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. And now, let’s get to the results.

Game 160, October 2:


Source: FanGraphs

THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero: Trayce Thompson (.438). 1-3, HR (3), BB, 3RBI, R, K
  • Hero: Adbert Alzolay (.187). 2IP, 9 batters faced, H, BB, 2K
  • Sidekick: Willson Contreras (.173). 1-1, 2B

THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat: Rowan Wick (-.369). 1 batter faced, H
  • Goat: Frank Schwindel (-.329). 0-5, K, DP
  • Kid: Trent Giambrone (-.204). 0-4, K

WPA Play of the Game: Trayce Thompson’s three-run, go ahead homer in the top of the sixth. (.429)

*Cards Play of the Game: Paul Goldschmidt faced Rowan Wick with two outs and runners on second and third in the bottom of the ninth. Goldschmidt singled and that was the ball game. (.369)

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Trayce Thompson
    (53 votes)
  • 15%
    Adbert Alzolay
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    Willson Contreras
    (3 votes)
  • 5%
    Other
    (4 votes)
71 votes total Vote Now

Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)

  • Frank Schwindel +30 (-2)
  • Kris Bryant/*Patrick Wisdom +26
  • Craig Kimbrel +20
  • Rafael Ortega +19
  • Trevor Megill -10
  • Rex Brothers -11.5
  • David Bote -19
  • Jake Arrieta -19
  • Zach Davies -25

Up Next: Weather permitting, the penultimate game of the Cubs season. The Cubs would send Adrian Sampson (1-2, 2.87) to the mound. The Cardinals will start our old pal Jon Lester (7-6, 4.62).