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2021 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 1

A ton of strikeouts and a barrel of walks; all in the wrong direction

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Welcome back to Cubs baseball. Or at least welcome back to seeing a team wearing the classic white uniforms with blue pinstripes on the field at Wrigley Field. The 2021 season is officially underway. The Cubs largely failed to answer the opening bell and so they have notched their first defeat of the season, a loss to a Pirates team that some think could reach 100+ or beyond in that category.

The highs? Some fans were able to return to Wrigley Field. It certainly wasn’t the sold-out crowd we’d expect on opening day, even on a cold April afternoon. But, it was a step in the right direction after empty stadiums caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. And so, a rough offseason comes to an end.

For me, the offseason was a busy one. You’ll forgive me if I’m still trying to figure out who some of these guys are and where they came from. I had some personal things that interrupted my usual offseason series where we look at a Cubs team from the past. I only made it a bit shy of the halfway point in that series. I’ll be looking to finish that series during the regular season. Thanks for your patience and for those of you who followed along. When time permits, we’ll run it on off days or when there are long breaks between games (such as night game after a day game). More on that soon.

In the meantime, I’ll be back here regularly throughout the 2021 season, following Cubs games the next morning with a look through the eyes of the Heroes and Goats lens. 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 1, April 1: Pirates 5 at Cubs 3 (0-1)

Source: FanGraphs

Three Heroes:

  • Superhero: Eric Sogard (.034). 1-2, 2B, R
  • Hero/Sidekick: (tie) Willson Contreras/Joc Pederson (.032). Contreras: 0-3, SF, RBI, 2R, SB, K; Pederson: 0-2, BB, SF, RBI, 2K

Three Goats:

  • Billy Goat: Javier Baez (-.177). 0-4, 3K
  • Goat: Kyle Hendricks (-.160). 3IP, 4H, 3BB, 3ER, 4K (L 0-1)
  • Kid: Jason Heyward (-.115). 0-4, 3K

WPA Play of the Game: Ke’Bryan Hayes homered with a man on and nobody out in the first inning to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead that they would never relinquish. (.149)

*Cubs Play of the Game: Anthony Rizzo doubled with a runner on first and one out in the first inning, setting up the Cubs’ first run of the game. (.085)


Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Eric Sogard
    (108 votes)
  • 36%
    Willson Contreras
    (96 votes)
  • 8%
    Joc Pederson
    (22 votes)
  • 14%
    Other (Please leave your suggestion in the comments below)
    (37 votes)
263 votes total Vote Now

Up Next: Game two, Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field. The temperature will likely be quite a bit higher. Hopefully, the Cubs bats warm up with the weather and the Cubs can bounce back from this loss quickly.