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2022 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Games 103 and 104

Two more games, two more losses as the Cubs complete a 1-6 trip

Photo by Joe Puetz/Getty Images

The headline mostly tells the story. The Cubs played two more games on Thursday and racked up two more losses. In all, the Cubs won just one of seven games on their road trip. And just like that, the nice winning streak coming out of the break is gone, they are just one game ahead of their low water mark of the season (23 games under .500). With 104 games played, 22 under has them on pace for 98 losses.

The silver lining in this series is that the depleted bullpen didn’t really bite the Cubs in this series. Of course, the bad news is that they were largely uncompetitive in St. Louis. Certainly, don’t get me wrong, the games on Thursday were both closer for a long stretch. In Game 1, Marcus Stroman was sitting around 60 pitches after six innings. A guy like Stroman is almost certainly going to get the seventh inning when he’s pitching that well on any given day. In the first game of the doubleheader, I’m pretty certain every manager would send him out for the seventh inning.

In Game 2, the Cubs mustered just two hits. The bullpen certainly didn’t do the Cubs any favors. But the odds against beating the Cardinals with only two hits are just about zero. The Cubs offense largely went missing on this trip. They scored 15 runs across seven games. Four of those came out of the one victory on the trip. Just the same, 15 runs across seven games is just barely over two runs per contest. That’s just not very effective and isn’t going to win many games.

The good news, so to speak, is that there was nothing taken from the offense. That group of players remains a slightly above average offense. They’ll bounce back and score runs even if the performance remains uneven. The bad news is, the bullpen is a hodgepodge of spare parts. In the long run, I believe in this organization to churn players and find effective relievers. In the short term? This could be ugly.

While I don’t place “blame” on the bullpen for yesterday’s defeats, we’re still talking about a group that allowed six runs in just over six innings of work. In the second game, I recognize that the pitching staff was facing a very good Cardinals team in St. Louis. I recognize the challenge. I also recognize that starter Sean Newcomb lasted just three innings. When a starter only lasts three innings, you cover the game largely with your “B” team relievers. Only in this situation, the “A” team was entirely traded away at the deadline. So the “B” team is now in the “A” position and the “C” team is a group of cobbled together “not ready for prime time” players.

This could get ugly. That’s my takeaway from this road trip. Let’s try to find three positives across the two games. It should be a bit easier with two games, right?

  1. While I’m being critical of the work the relievers did, I’ll give the top spot to Brandon Hughes. He is one of the formerly “B” team relievers now getting looks in some “A” situations. He faced five batters in a tight game one and retired four of them. Hughes is the most intriguing piece of the current bullpen to me.
  2. I don’t know how Rafael Ortega fits into the future plans of the Cubs. For now, he’s here and a key left handed bat. He had three hits in game one. The team had 11 hits all day and so he recorded more than a quarter of them. He had a double among them and generally did a good job of table setting at the top of the lineup.
  3. Patrick Wisdom had a homer and two walks in the second game. He scored both runs and was basically the only productive member of the offense.

Honorable mention: Marcus Stroman. He threw six excellent innings in game one and was very much cruising towards the top spot here until the seventh inning went south on him.

Let’s start our look at the two games with a look at the Heroes and Goats from Game 1 of the doubleheader.

Game 103, August 4: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3 (41-62)


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


  • Superhero: Seiya Suzuki (.175). 1-4, RBI, R, SB, 2K
  • Hero: Brandon Hughes (.121). 1⅓ IP (5 batters), HBP, K
  • Sidekick: Willson Contreras (.059). 2-5, HR, 2B, RBI, 2R, K


  • Billy Goat: Erich Uelmen (-.372). ⅓ IP (4 batters). H, 2BB, R (L 0-1)
  • Goat: Zach McKinstry (-.118). 0-4
  • Kid: Ian Happ (-.100). 0-4, 3K

WPA Play of the Game: Lars Nootbaar singled with runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the ninth off of Uelmen for the walkoff victory. (.299)

*Cubs Play of the Game: Willson Contreras homered with one out in the first inning. The Cubs got a first inning homer in each game but couldn’t do anything with the early leads. (.107)


Who was the Cubs Player of Game 1?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Seiya Suzuki
    (11 votes)
  • 22%
    Brandon Hughes
    (14 votes)
  • 49%
    Willson Contreras
    (30 votes)
  • 9%
    Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
    (6 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now

And now, let’s look at the results of Game 2 of the doubleheader.

Game 104, August 4: Cardinals 7, Cubs 2 (41-63)


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


  • Superhero: Patrick Wisdom (.226). 1-2, HR, RBI, 2R, 2BB
  • Hero: Nelson Velázquez (.111). 1-2, RBI, BB
  • Sidekick: Mark Leiter Jr. (.088). 2IP (10 batters), 3BB, HBP, K


  • Billy Goat: Kervin Castro (-.355). IP (6 batters), 2H, 2BB, 3R, K (L 0-1)
  • Goat: Frank Schwindel (-.229). 0-3, K, 2DP
  • Kid: Sean Newcomb (-.092). 3IP (13 batters), 5H, 2R, K

*Castro is the 47th different Cub to appear in Heroes and Goats. I still think last year’s record of 65 is pretty safe.

WPA Play of the Game: Tyler O’Neill faced Castro with runners at first and third with two outs in the seventh, the game tied at two. His homer essentially ended the game. (.354)

*Cubs Play of the Game: Two batters earlier, Nolan Arenado was looking to be the hero with runners on first and second and no outs. But he grounded into a double play. (.152)


Who was the Cubs Player of Game 2?

This poll is closed

  • 80%
    Patrick Wisdom
    (44 votes)
  • 5%
    Nelson Velazquez
    (3 votes)
  • 12%
    Mark Leiter Jr.
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
    (1 vote)
55 votes total Vote Now

Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 5/Bottom 5)

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.

  • David Robertson +22.5
  • Nico Hoerner +19.5
  • Scott Effross +17
  • Christopher Morel +15
  • Patrick Wisdom +10.5
  • Frank Schwindel -8.5
  • Daniel Norris -9.5
  • Rafael Ortega -11.5
  • Yan Gomes -14
  • Jason Heyward -15.5

Up Next: The Cubs head home where the Marlins will greet them. The Marlins are 48-57 and in fourth place in the NL East. Justin Steele (4-7, 3.86) will pitch for the Cubs.