This Cubs team has been streaky. Right now, they are on a good streak. With Tuesday night’s win, their second straight against the Nationals, the Cubs have now won three straight and four of five overall. The one loss was an extra inning game that they led in several times that just trickled away. Before this stretch, they’d lost three straight. It’s no wonder that this team has been .500 eight different times and has a season high of two games over .500 (though, they’ve been as far as four games under .500).
Generally, the formula for a Cubs win has been a strong starting pitching performance, a good bullpen and enough offense to get the job done. In these two games against the Nationals though, the starting hasn’t been particularly good. But the offense has put 13 runs on the board in the first two games of this series and that was more than enough to pull off two wins in the first two games.
It can’t be said enough: When a baseball team is going good, it’s getting contribution from a number of different directions. Monday night, Jason Heyward had a big night at the plate. Tuesday night, David Bote made the biggest offensive production. Sunday’s win was keyed more by a strong start by Kyle Hendricks than any one offensive player. The more guys you can get providing output, the better chance you have at long term success in MLB.
Three wins in a row has the Cubs back over .500. This team continues to hang around. On that high note, let’s turn our attention to the numbers. 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 41, May 18: Cubs 6, Nationals 3 (21-20)
- Superhero: David Bote (.284). 2-4, HR (3), 2RBI, 2R, 2K
- Hero: Willson Contreras (.148). 2-5. 2RBI, 2R, 2K
- Sidekick: Justin Steele (.135). ⅔ IP (2 batters faced), 0H, 0BB, 0R, 0K
- Billy Goat: Zach Davies (-.207). 5 IP (25 batters faced), 7H, BB, 3R, K
- Goat: Javier Baez (-.085). 1-4, K
- Kid: Anthony Rizzo (-.066). 0-2
WPA Play of the Game: With one out and a runner on first in the fifth inning and the game tied at three, David Bote was the hitter. He hit a two-run homer and that gave the Cubs the lead. (.263)
*Nationals Play of the Game: Old pal Starlin Castro took Zach Davies deep to tie the game at three leading off the fifth inning. (.167)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Kris Bryant (2-3, BB, RBI, R)
Nico Hoerner (3-4, 2R)
Craig Kimbrel (IP, 4 batters faced, 0H, 0BB, 2K)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant +10
- Craig Kimbrel +8
- Jake Marisnick +7
- Jason Adam/David Bote -6
- Javier Baez -7
- Zach Davies -11
Up Next: Game three of the series is Wednesday night. Jake Arrieta is scheduled to start for the Cubs. Hopefully, he shows up with his “A” game as he’ll be facing Max Scherzer. For those wondering, this is Max’s first start at Wrigley Field since the Bote Slam Game in 2018. That game ended magically for the Cubs, but those heroics were needed because the Nationals built a lead while Scherzer was mowing down the Cubs. With Anthony Rizzo’s back flaring up, the Cubs could be shorthanded against one of the best starters in baseball. This looks to be a tough one.