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2022 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Games 47 and 48

The Cubs lose a pair to the Brewers

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached the added injury to insult part of the season. The Cubs were already one of the worst teams in baseball before this recent run of injuries. But the Cubs now have so many injuries that the Cubs are now calling up players who aren’t really particularly ready for said callup. With Drew Smyly’s injury in Game 2 of the doubleheader, if the Cubs can’t get one of their walking wounded back, they are going to have quite a roster crunch. It’s getting to the point where every player on the 40-man roster is either on the team itself or the injured list. It’s a sad state of affairs.

With two losses on Memorial Day, the Cubs have dropped to a season-low 10 games under .500. With two more games against the Brewers and then five in four days against the Cardinals, that number is almost certainly going lower. This is shaping up to be quite a painful season to be one of the Cubs faithful.

Returning to where we started, this team was already probably a bottom quartile team in MLB when it had a largely healthy roster. With this string of injuries, there is a new face seemingly every day. It’s hard to get any continuity when the entire roster is a revolving door. And as the team reaches deeper and deeper into the minor leagues to fill out the roster, the talent disparity when the Cubs face a team like the Brewers grows deeper and deeper. The net result of this is that each game feels like a waiting game. Even if the Cubs grab a lead, as they actually did in the first game, it just feels like a waiting game. That is waiting to see how and when they’ll actually give away the lead.

There were some positives, though, on a day with two more losses. With a doubleheader, I’m not limiting myself to three.

  1. Nico Hoerner produced a WPA of .537 in game one. This is the highest WPA of the season to date for a Cubs player. He had three singles, two of them drove in runs and one led off the ninth inning of a one run game against arguably the best closer in baseball.
  2. P.J. Higgins hit his first major league homer.
  3. Matt Swarmer only allowed five hits and a walk over six innings of work. But for some defensive lapses, the game might have been very different.
  4. Willson Contreras had two hits and two walks in Game 2. He was responsible for the only run with a booming homer. The Cubs only had a total of eight hits and walks, Willson had half of them.
  5. Drew Smyly threw three hitless, scoreless innings before leaving with an oblique injury.
  6. Nelson Velazquez played in both games and had a hit in each. Nelson is one of those players here too soon. Hopefully, he’ll learn some things and then go develop into the player he can be.

With that, we turn to Heroes and Goats from each of the two games.

Game 47, May 30: Brewers 7 at Cubs 6 (19-28)

Fangraphs

Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.

THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero: Nico Hoerner (.537). 3-5, 2SB
  • Hero: Rafael Ortega (.239). 3-4, HR, RBI, 2R
  • Sidekick: Robert Gsellman (.039). IP (3 batters), K

THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat: Daniel Norris (-.239). 2IP (9 batters), 2H, BB, 3R, K, HBP (L 0-3)
  • Goat: Alfonso Rivas (-.223). 0-2, 2K
  • Kid: Matt Swarmer (-.174). 6IP (24 batters), 5H, BB, 4R (1ER), 6K

WPA Play of the Game: Luis Urias faced Daniel Norris with two outs and two on in a tie game in the seventh inning. He homered, providing the ultimately decisive blow of the game. (.392)

*Cubs Play of the Game: Nico Hoerner faced Ethan Small with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning. The Brewers were leading 1-0. Nico delivered a two run single. (.213)

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of Game 1?

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Nico Hoerner
    (97 votes)
  • 3%
    Rafael Ortega
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Robert Gsellman
    (0 votes)
  • 9%
    Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
    (11 votes)
112 votes total Vote Now

Game 48, May 30: Brewers 3 at Cubs 1 (19-29)

Fangraphs

Reminder: Heroes and Goats are determined by WPA scores and are in no way subjective.

THREE HEROES:

  • Superhero: Willson Contreras (.273). 2-2, HR, 2BB, RBI, R
  • Hero: Drew Smyly (.155). 3IP (10 batters), BB, 3K
  • Sidekick: Clint Frazier (.102). 1-3, K

THREE GOATS:

  • Billy Goat: Andrelton Simmons (-.366). 0-3, 2K, DP
  • Goat: Ian Happ (-.271). 0-4, 3K
  • Kid: Frank Schwindel (-.178). 0-4

WPA Play of the Game: Andrelton Simmons batted with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, the Cubs trailing by a single run. Simmons grounded into a third-to-home-to-first double play snuffing the Cubs last scoring chance. (.308)

*Cubs Play of the Game: Clint Frazier batted with runners on first and second and no outs in that same seventh inning. He laid down a bunt that ended up with all three runners being safe. (.138)

Poll

Who was the Cubs Player of Game 2?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Willson Contreras
    (86 votes)
  • 5%
    Drew Smyly
    (5 votes)
  • 1%
    Clint Frazier
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Someone else (leave suggestion in the comments)
    (3 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now

Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)

The award is named for Anthony Rizzo, who finished first in this category three of the first four years it was in existence and four times overall. He also recorded the highest season total ever at +65.5. The point scale is three points for a Superhero down to negative three points for a Billy Goat.

  • Nico Hoerner +15
  • Willson Contreras +14.5
  • Keegan Thompson +10
  • Patrick Wisdom -8.5
  • Kyle Hendricks -9
  • Jason Heyward -11.5

Up Next: These two teams will meet Tuesday night for the third game in the series. Justin Steele (1-5, 5.40) will start for the Cubs. He’ll face Eric Lauer (5-1, 2.31) in what appears to be a lopsided matchup on paper. Justin had appeared to have turned a bit of a corner, but he got scorched in his last start, allowing seven runs while only recording six outs. As will be the case throughout this homestand, the Cubs will have their work cut out for them.