The Cubs have gotten as hot as they’ve been at any point this season. In early May, they did have a five-game winning streak, but that streak started when they were four under. They scored a lot of runs in that stretch, but unless I’m falling for fool’s gold, this team is finding itself a little bit. When that stretch was occurring, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and the streak to end. But right now, this team feels like it can win every night.
Jed Hoyer talked in an interview Friday about how well the Cubs have played since the start of May. The Cubs were 11-15 at the end of April. They are now 23-21, a 12-6 record so far this month. Further, the six May losses are all by a single run. This team has been in every game this month and have won two-thirds of the games they’ve played. That stretch does include a series with the Dodgers and Indians who are both well above .500 on the season and now the Cardinals too. So it isn’t totally a pushover. Oh yeah, it also included taking three of four from a team only one year removed from a World Series title.
And again, as we talked about yesterday, this team is getting contributions from a ton of different players. This was the first game of the last eight that saw the top contributors being guys who have been repeats. Of the three guys who finished up top tonight, one of them was there yesterday and the other two the night before. Still, this game was put out of reach by an eight run eighth inning. You can’t possibly put an eight-spot on the board without a team contribution. Let me tell you, whole articles will be written about that eighth inning. The Cubs only made one solitary out by way of a batter. They had a runner thrown out at home and another at second. The inning lasted long enough for the Cardinals to use three different pitchers in an inning under the modern rules. That’s pretty tricky to do.
On the back of that craziness, let’s take a look at 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 44, May 21: Cubs 12, Cardinals 3 (23-21)
- Superhero: Nico Hoerner (.329). 2-5, 2B, R
- Hero: Kris Bryant (.142). 1-3, 2B, BB, HBP, 2RBI, R, K
- Sidekick: Joc Pederson (.133). 1-3, HR, BB, SF, 2RBI, 2R
- Billy Goat: David Bote (-.138). 1-4, BB, 2RBI, R, DP
- Goat: Willson Contreras (-.057). 0-4, BB, RBI, 2K
- Kid: Javier Baez (-.053). 1-4, BB, RBI, R, K
WPA Play of the Game: With the Cubs leading 2-1 in the sixth inning, Paul Goldschmidt stepped to the plate with runners on first and second and and one out. The longtime Cubs nemesis doubled, driving in a run and tying the game. (.257)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With one out in the seventh inning, Nico Hoerner was on second base in a 2-2 game. There was a wild pitch and an error, allowing Hoerner to score the go-ahead run. (.147)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Anthony Rizzo (2-3, 2B, BB, HBP, 2RBI, R)
Ian Happ (3-4, 2B, HBP, 2R)
Kyle Hendricks (6⅔ IP, 28 batters, 7H, 1BB, 3R (1ER), 4K, WP, W)
Dan Winkler (IP, 3 batters, 2K)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant +15
- Craig Kimbrel +8
- Jake Marisnick +7
- David Bote -9
- Javier Baez/Zach Davies -11
Up Next: Game two of a three-game set in St. Louis. The Cubs will look for their third straight win, sixth in their last seven and seventh in their last nine. If they can accomplish that goal, they would reach a season-high three games over .500. Adbert Alzolay will be the guy on the mound looking to extend that hot stretch. The Cardinals will send Miles Mikolas to the hill. Mikolas has had good success against the Cubs since coming to the Cardinals, but hasn’t thrown a major league pitch since 2019 after being sidelined by an injury in 2020 and another one to start this season.