Tuesday night, the Cubs checked some not previously checked boxes. They came from behind after being down three runs. Their previous largest comeback had been two. Three is hardly climbing Mt. Everest, but it was a bigger hole. I’ve always thought that comebacks are something that can give a team a little extra confidence that they might be able to cash in at a later date. The Cubs also reached three games over the .500 mark for the first time. Again, that’s hardly a huge milestone, but I’m pretty sure the way math works, you have to reach three over before you can reach four and so on. It’s a start.
This statistic remains true: The Cubs are 14-7 in May with all seven losses being by a single run. That’s 21 consecutive games that were either competitive or a Cubs blowout win. That’s 21 games played at a .667 winning percentage. That’s a 108-win pace. That is obviously not sustainable, particularly by this group of players. But, that’s some pretty good baseball. If they do that for very much longer, they are going to find themselves atop the NL Central. As it is, the Cardinals dropped a third straight game on Tuesday night and now find their lead over the Cubs at just half a game.
The star of the night was Joc Pederson. With the Cubs down 3-0, he first hit a solo homer to put them on the board. Then later he hit a two-run, game-tying homer. Joc has been on fire since returning from the injured list and this game just really adds to that momentum. He’d been getting a bunch of hits, but they’d mostly been singles. But now he adds two homers and with hit, his first ever Superhero award. 16 different Cubs have now been a Superhero at least once in the month of May. The Cubs are getting contributions from a number of directions and it is really paying off.
As the Cubs reach a new high water mark, we take this opportunity to look at the numbers from Tuesday night’s game. 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 47, May 25: Cubs 4 at Pirates 3 (25-22)
- Superhero: Joc Pederson (.269). 3-5, 2HR (3,4), 2B, 3RBI, 2R, K
- Hero: Craig Kimbrel (.193). IP (4 batters faced), H, 0BB, 0R, K (SV 10)
- Sidekick: Keegan Thompson (.141). 1⅔IP (6 batters faced), 0H, 2BB, 0R, 2K
- Billy Goat: PJ Higgins (-.173). 0-4, 2K, DP
- Goat: David Bote (-.119). 0-4, DP
- Kid: Jake Arrieta (-.070). 5IP (22 batters faced), 5H, BB, 3R (2ER), 7K, HBP, W (5-4)
WPA Play of the Game: Ex-Cub Ildemaro Vargas batted with one out and a runner at third against Craig Kimbrel. He struck out and took an awful lot of wind out of the sails of the Pirates. (.249)
*Pirates Play of the Game: Cole Tucker opened the ninth inning for the Pirates with a double off of Kimbrel. (.243)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Javier Baez (2-3, 2B, BB, R)
Anthony Rizzo (1-4, RBI)
Ryan Tepera (IP, 3 batters faced, 2K)
Superhero vs. Player of the Game Comparison:
Have you ever wondered how the Superhero numbers, selected by WPA results, compare to Player of the Game, selected by voters on Heroes and Goats? Al and I did. So we agreed that I would run the numbers. Through 46 games, the two have named the same player 29 times out of 46 or 63 percent of the time. Over a full 162 games, that pace would mean that 102 times Bleed Cubbie Blue would select the same Player of the Game as the WPA Superhero.
Most Superhero Awards:
- Kris Bryant/Willson Contreras 6
- Matt Duffy 4
Most Player of the Game Selections:
- Kris Bryant/Willson Contreras/No one (or none of the above) 5
Biggest Gainer: Kyle Hendricks/Adbert Alzolay 2
Biggest Loser: Matt Duffy/Anthony Rizzo -2
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant +15
- Craig Kimbrel +13
- Keegan Thompson +9.5
- Zach Davies -9
- David Bote -11
- Javier Baez -12
Up Next: Game two of the three-game set in Pittsburgh is Wednesday night. Trevor Williams will make the start for the Cubs. His first start at PNC Park as a visitor, last month, wasn’t good, but he will be looking to keep the Pirates bats struggling and to help push the Cubs to another victory as they march towards first place.