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2021 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Games 52 and 53

The Cubs split their games Sunday and Monday

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Normally this is the place where I try to either come up with something witty to say or to put things going on in recent Cubs games into perspective. Instead, this time I’m here to tell you that I’ve made it to Florida. I’m ready to start a new chapter in my life and pretty excited about it. If you aren’t interested in my personal story, go ahead and skip ahead to the numbers. Really, I’m not talking any baseball whatsoever up here today. I’ll be back tomorrow (I’m pretty sure anyway).

I’m also going to tell you that I’ve never been so exhausted in my whole life. Our move really started in earnest on Wednesday afternoon. There was furniture to be donated (although they didn’t end up taking any of it and I had to pay someone to take it away and junk it instead), then finish boxing and packing our house all day Thursday. Friday was the movers taking the majority of our things to storage (and the storage facility closing 75 percent of the way through the move). Saturday was renting a truck to finish the work that wasn’t completed Friday ourselves. Then Saturday night was packing the van with things that are coming with us to our temporary home.

On both Saturday afternoon and Saturday night we had some generous help from friends. Suffice to say we’d have never gotten things done without that help. Of course, as packing and moving can be, Sunday morning then entailed me repacking about a third of what was packed Saturday night to accommodate even more last-minute stuff. Then we drove for more than 12 hours on Sunday night, arriving in Georgia after midnight. I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open and so, there was no Sunday night Heroes and Goats. Monday morning we were back on the road and a mere eight hours later, we landed in Largo, our temporary home while we look for a permanent house. Then there was hours of unloading. There will be days of unpacking and finding things homes in the condo we will be staying in for the foreseeable future.

All of this is a long winded way of saying that I didn’t see any of the baseball on Sunday or Monday. Many of you probably realize I don’t watch every bit of the action. I usually follow all of the games, tracking the play-by-play in some way on my phone and getting an idea for the ebb and the flow of the game so that I can try to sound at least a little intelligent about the games. I didn’t do even that much while often driving over the last two days. What I know is what the scores tell us. The Cubs lost pretty handily to the Reds on Sunday. That’s the first, and we now know only, time that happened in the month of May. Their last loss by more than a run came way back on April 30 against... the Reds. That day they lost by two. The last time they lost by four or more? A 10-0 loss in Atlanta on April 28. So there were some not good things happening in late April.

On Monday, the Cubs scored a very nice win against the Padres, winning 7-2. The Padres have been considered one of the favorites throughout the season to reach the World Series. You’ll recall that the Cubs swept a three-game set from the Dodgers at Wrigley Field a few weeks ago. The Cubs are now 4-0 against arguably the two best teams in the league. Not bad. They were also 19-8 in the month of May with just Sunday’s loss, of the eight, being by more than a single run. That’s one of the best months of Cubs baseball in my memory.

Let’s not wait any longer and let’s 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. We’ll quickly look at both games.

Game 52, May 30: Reds 5 at Cubs 1 (29-23)

Source: FanGraphs


  • Superhero: Brad Wieck (.016). 1⅓IP (5 batters faced), 1H, 0BB, 0R, 1K
  • Hero/Sidekick: Willson Contreras/Dillon Maples. Contreras: 1-4, K; Maples 2IP (8 batters faced), 0H, 2BB, 0R, 2K, WP


  • Billy Goat: Jake Arrieta (-.287). 3⅔ IP (23 batters faced), 6H, 4BB, 5R (2ER), 3K, HBP, WP (L 5-5)
  • Goat: Eric Sogard (-.063). 0-3, 2K, DP
  • Kid: Rafael Ortega (-.055). 0-4, 2K

WPA Play of the Game: Jake Arrieta hit Tucker Barnhart with a pitch with two out and the bases loaded in the first inning. A run scored and the Reds took a 2-0 lead.


Who was the Cubs Player of the Game on Sunday?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Brad Wieck
    (17 votes)
  • 4%
    Willson Contreras
    (5 votes)
  • 24%
    Dillon Maples
    (29 votes)
  • 52%
    No one
    (63 votes)
  • 4%
    (5 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now

Game 53, May 31: Cubs 7, Padres 2 (30-23)

Source: FanGraphs


  • Superhero: Javier Baez (.225). 2-4, 2HR (12, 13), 3RBI, 2R, K
  • Hero: Patrick Wisdom (.195). 3-4, 2HR (2,3), 2RBI, 2R, K, SB
  • Sidekick: Kohl Stewart (.150). 5IP (19 batters faced), 3H, BB, R (0ER), 2K (W 1-0)


  • Billy Goat: Eric Sogard (-.070). 0-3, BB, 2K
  • Goat: Rafael Ortega (-.054). 1-4, CS
  • Kid: Joc Pederson (-.052). 0-4, 2K

WPA Play of the Game: With two out and a man on third in the third inning, Javier Baez hit a two-run homer. That homer added to their 1-0 lead. (.224)


Who was the Cubs Player of the Game on Monday?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Javier Baez
    (63 votes)
  • 26%
    Patrick Wisdom
    (56 votes)
  • 39%
    Kohl Stewart
    (83 votes)
  • 2%
    Kris Bryant (2-4, HR, 2RBI)
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
209 votes total Vote Now

Up Next: Cubs and Padres on Tuesday night from Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks is scheduled to pitch for the Cubs.