Ah, life is getting back to normal for me. Normal included picking up the MLB package and getting to see the majority of the Tuesday night game. I saw that Willson Contreras homer that was the decisive play of the game. Unfortunately, I also saw the part where the wheels came off a bit for Kyle Hendricks as he allowed two more home runs. We’ve grown accustomed Kyle being among the league leaders in one category or another over the last few years, but seeing him up there for most homers allowed is not great. Hopefully, he can find the right tweak to get back to his usual excellence.
Baseball has long had the cliché for a good team that a different guy is stepping up every night. Well, your mileage may vary for how reliable of a barometer of something like that Heroes and Goats are, but literally a different guy is stepping up every night for this Cubs team. On May 22, Contreras was the Superhero in a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals. Since then, in order, Craig Kimbrel, Joc Pederson, Trevor Williams, Ryan Tepera, Adbert Alzolay, Zach Davies, Brad Wieck, and Javier Baez finished in the top spot, and now Contreras again. The team is 8-1 over that stretch with literally a different guy up top every night.
If this is some kind of mirage, it’s a really wacky one. This team is playing good ball, getting contribution up and down the roster and beating some really good teams. Small sample sizes certainly apply, but being 5-0 against the Dodgers and Padres is an awesome accomplishment. Both of those teams are loaded and so far the Cubs have handled them. The word that just keeps repeating for me is fun. This team is a lot of fun. Before I step away and get to the numbers though, let me also say that this Padres team we are seeing is also a lot of fun to watch. They have a swagger, an athleticism and a talent that reminds me a little bit of the 2015 Cubs. Clearly I’m not making some big revelation, but this Padres team has a chance to be really special in the next few years.
But we’re not here to talk about Padres, so let’s look at the numbers for 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. We’ll quickly look at both games.
Game 54, June 1: Cubs 4, Padres 3 (31-23)
- Superhero: Willson Contreras (.266). 2-4, HR (9), 2B, 2RBI, R, K
- Hero: Patrick Wisdom (.196). 2-4, HR (4), 2RBI, R, 2K
- Sidekick: Craig Kimbrel (.158). IP (3 batters faced), 0H, 0BB, 0R, 3K (Sv 13)
- Billy Goat: Kyle Hendricks (-.070). 6IP (25 batters faced), 7H, 0BB, 3R, 4K (W 6-4)
- Goat: Anthony Rizzo (-.069). 2-4
- Kid: Joc Pederson (-.064). 0-4, K
WPA Play of the Game: With two outs and a runner on first in the fifth inning, Tommy Pham took Kyle Hendricks deep. That made the score 3-2 Padres. (.285)
*Cubs Play of the Game: With one out and a runner on first in the fifth inning, Willson Contreras took Ryan Weathers very, very deep. That made the score 4-3 Cubs. (.281)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant/Craig Kimbrel +15
- Adbert Alzolay +8
- Eric Sogard -6.5
- David Bote -8
- Javier Baez -10
Up Next: The third and final game of the series with the Padres. The Cubs will send Adbert Alzolay to the hill. Alzolay’s stuff has been good but his results have been uneven. The dynamic Padres lineup will be a stiff test for him. If he can step up and deliver a big start, the Cubs have a chance to sweep another of the top National League teams.