When things are going bad, you look to your best players to step up and make something good happen. If you are anything like me, you were hoping that Kyle Hendricks as one of the best players on this team would have a stand out performance and that it would propel the Cubs to victory. Unfortunately, Kyle couldn’t make his start due to feeling under the weather. Obviously at this point in history, this isn’t the time for gutting one out and pitching through a little something. Caution was absolutely the right move and hopefully it doesn’t turn out to be in any way pandemic related.
Instead of Hendricks being “that guy” that stood up and made something happen, it was the catcher and the closer. Willson Contreras delivered a long, dramatic home run with a man on base to give the Cubs the lead. Craig Kimbrel continued his impressive streak to start the season by recording the final four outs for a save. He’s now allowed a total of one walk, no hits and no runs to the first 19 batters he’s faced. Pretty impressive. He’s been one of the most valuable players across baseball by WPA, a stat near and dear to this column.
And so, like a bandit in the night, the Cubs stole a game in Milwaukee. They did that on a night with basically a bullpen by committee day against arguably the Brewers‘ best starter. This was not one that they should have won. But they did. Hopefully, it will give them a boost and they can play some better baseball. Either way, this one was a lot of fun.
With that, we’ll turn our attention to Heroes and Goats. 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. With that, let’s get to the results.
Game 11, April 13: Cubs 3 at Brewers 2 (5-6)
- Superhero: Willson Contreras (.425). 1-3, HR, HBP, 2RBI, R
- Hero: Craig Kimbrel (.312). 1⅓ IP (5 batters faced), 0H, 1BB, 0R, 1K (Sv 3)
- Sidekick: Anthony Rizzo (.120). 2-3, BB
- Billy Goat: Kris Bryant (.147). 0-4, SF, RBI, GDP
- Goat: Javier Baez (-.099). 0-4, K
- Kid: Joc Pederson (-.076). 0-3, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: Willson Contreras stepped to the plate with one out and a runner on first in the top of the eighth, the Cubs trailing by one. He launched one deep into the night, headed in the direction of the Brewer slide in center field. It resulted in a two-run, game-winning home run. (.481)
*Brewers Play of the Game: Luis Urias faced Alec Mills with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the second. He hit a two-run homer to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead. (.206)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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Up Next: The teams meet for the third and final game of the series this afternoon. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to start for the Cubs.