Ahead of his last start and then this one, I pointed out that Zach Davies has been a slow starter in his career. This doesn’t take too much digging. Zach has a 5.24 career ERA in 25 career March/April starts, Contrast that with his 3.61 ERA over 52 career starts in the second half of the season. I pick the second half the season, because it’s not particularly a light switch. It’s a slow improvement over the season. His career May ERA was 4.11 before Friday’s game. And his June ERA is 4.15.
Even at about 4.15, Zach is probably going to win some games on this Cubs team. But at something like 3.61, he’s going to be pretty good. He was pretty good on Friday. To be sure, that wasn’t the ‘27 Yankees he was facing. But, they are still major league hitters and even bad major league teams can make you look bad. But Zach was largely in control throughout Friday’s game. He had one rough inning and he helped himself out of that one by making good plays on two grounders back to the mound.
The Cubs offense was less fierce than it has been lately, but it was good enough. The bullpen? It was rough. But, in the end they did just enough and held on for the win on a day that Craig Kimbrel appears to have been unavailable. In any event, the Cubs won and that’s four straight wins now and they’ve returned to the .500 mark. Dare I dream for two more wins this weekend? Sweeping a team is always difficult and back-to-back sweeps are rare. But they do happen and this team isn’t nearly as good as the one they just swept.
A guy can dream.
And with that happy thought, we’ll get 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 32, May 7: Cubs 3, Pirates 2 (16-16)
- Superhero: Zach Davies (.331). 7IP (26 batters faced) , 5H, 1BB, 0R, 1BB, 1K, HBP (W 2-2)
- Hero: Joc Pederson (.109). 3-4, RBI, R
- Sidekick: Anthony Rizzo (.097). 1-4, DP
- Billy Goat: Willson Contreras (-.043). 0-3, BB, K
- Goat: Jason Heyward (-.042). 0-3
- Kid: Matt Duffy (-.034). 0-2, SF, RBI
WPA Play of the Game: With two outs and the bases loaded, Rex Brothers got Bryan Reynolds to hit a weak fly ball to right field for the third and final out, stranding three runners in a one run game. (.229)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Anthony Rizzo sliced a fly ball down the right field line in the first inning with a runner on third and two outs. Phillip Evans dropped the ball in right field allowing the Cubs first run to score. (.100)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Javier Baez (2-4, R)4, R)
David Bote (2-4, R)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Craig Kimbrel +9
- Jake Marisnick +7
- Matt Duffy +5.5
- Jason Adam -6
- Ian Happ -7
- Zach Davies -8
Up Next: The Cubs will look for a second straight win against the Pirates and fifth straight win overall on Saturday afternoon. Trevor Williams gets the start for the Cubs. His best start of the year to date came earlier this year at Wrigley Field against the Pirates. He’ll be looking to duplicate that effort on Saturday.