Well, I waxed nostalgic and now all of the central core players have decided to land in Heroes and Goats in one day. We get two of them on the positive side and two of them on the negative side. Unfortunately, the story of this one was basically one who wasn’t part of the core. Andrew Chafin, who has been having one of the best relief seasons I’ve ever seen a non-closer have for the Cubs, faced four batters, walking two and allowing two hits. Three of the four runners score. That was pretty much it for this one.
To be fair, I wasn’t exactly overflowing with confidence before the Chafin meltdown. It was only tied at two at the time, hence Chafin being in the game. But it just didn’t have the feel for me of a game the Cubs would win. Perhaps the last week should have changed my mind as the Cubs have literally had two ninth-inning comebacks, their first two of the year. But my general feel for this Cubs team is that if they don’t have the game in hand before the seventh inning, they aren’t going to win. I haven’t been wrong too often.
The Cubs are 2-5 over their last seven games. They’ve played the Diamondbacks, who are by a fairly large margin the worst team in baseball this year, and a Cardinals team that, along with the Cubs, has been one of the worst teams in baseball over the last couple of months. Of the two wins in that span, one of them took an historic comeback. This team continues to play well below a competitive level of baseball. If Kyle Hendricks isn’t pitching on a given day, there really isn’t a lot of expectation for a victory. There are definitely days where my inclination is to just back up the truck and sell them all.
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.
Game 99, July 24: Diamondbacks 7 at Cubs 3 (48-51)
- Superhero: Willson Contreras (.105). 1-3, HR (15), HBP, RBI, R
- Hero: Kris Bryant (.084). 2-3, BB, 3B
- Sidekick: Dan Winkler (.075). IP (3 batters faced), 0H, 0BB, 0R, K
- Billy Goat: Andrew Chafin (-.424). 0IP (4 batters faced), 2H, 2BB, 3R, 0K (L 0-2)
*This is tied for the sixth worst WPA game score of the year by a Cub
- Goat: Javier Baez (-.158). 0-4, K, DP
- Kid: Anthony Rizzo (-.081). 1-4, 2B, R, 2K
WPA Play of the Game: With a runner on first and two outs in the fifth inning, the Cubs were leading 2-0 when Daulton Varsho faced Alec Mills. The result was a two-run homer. (.238)
*Cubs Play of the Game: Willson Contreras led off the fourth inning with a solo homer to make it 2-0. (.102)
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
This poll is closed
Alec Mills (5IP, 2R, 2B, R)
Ryan Tepera (IP, 3 batters faced, 2K)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Kris Bryant +22
- Craig Kimbrel +20
- Kyle Hendricks +10
- Rex Brothers/Anthony Rizzo -10.5
- Jake Arrieta -14
- Ian Happ -16
Up Next: The final game of the series and the final game of the season between the Diamondbacks and Cubs. With a win, the Cubs will secure a winning season against the Diamondbacks. With a loss, a split. Did I mention worst team in baseball? Trevor Williams will start the finale. Trevor is 3-2 with a 5.68 ERA. He’ll oppose Caleb Smith who is 3-6 with a 4.38 ERA. Does everyone remember Caleb’s brief time with the Cubs? He came to the Cubs as a Rule 5 pick in 2016, but for some reason couldn’t make that team after spending 2017 spring training in Mesa. He has occasionally flashed some potential, but it has never really clicked for him. Your guess is as good as mine on how this one will go.