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2023 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 26

Ugly baseball on a Saturday afternoon

Chicago Cubs v Miami Marlins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

From my perspective, the best thing about this game is that there is an early day game today. I’ve resolved to keep things brief in this situation. This story will appear in the morning, but I’m not going to blame you for not wanting to dwell on this one for too long. I sure don’t.

On Saturday afternoon, the Cubs and Marlins spent an inordinately long time trying not to win a baseball game. This game sure did fill the box score up. 12 walks, 21 hits, 15 runs, 27 strikeouts. There were timer violations on a hitter and a pitcher. Both might have hurt the Cubs.

Both starting pitchers struggled. Well, Caleb Kilian struggled mightily. Edward Cabrera was in trouble often early, but other than a long Patrick Wisdom homer, the Cubs let him off of the hook. The Marlins bullpen was an adventure. Huascar Brazoban was very good, needing only five batters to record six outs and striking out two along the way. That’s a nifty feat.

Four other Marlins relievers faced 15 batters and allowed six hits and three walks. They gift wrapped this one for the Cubs, but between the massive early hole and some gaffes by the Cubs, they just never got over the hump. Nine hits, eight walks and two homers can be a 12- or 13-run game without a whole lot of stretching. But the Marlins continually figured things out after allowing multiple runners to get on.

I don’t do a ton of nitpicking. I’m fine with Nick Madrigal being sent up in that spot. But dear lord, when they go to the pen, just let him bat. Unless you are going to tell me that you preferred the strikeout to the double play there, I don’t get it. Edwin Rios may be a fine hitter. I don’t know, but I’ve seen nothing. Don’t even get me started on Eric Hosmer. The roars for Christopher Morel and Matt Mervis are going to start getting deafening and I don’t know that any of us here at BCB have a whole lot left we can say to push that off.

Bad, bad baseball. I guess the silver lining is that the Cubs were down five after one and lost by one. The ugly brown lining is that the Cubs have now dropped six of nine. All teams go through these stretches. As I write this, I don’t even begin to want to ask how many of you want a recount on your glass empty/glass full vote. I’m very much optimistic about what the Cubs are building, but my pessimism that led me to predict 75 wins is resurfacing day by day.

Three positives from a rotten loss:

  1. Julian Merryweather is a guy that I’ve been hard on. So I’m going to tip the cap on his needing seven batters to record six outs. He issued one walk and struck out three. That kept a good portion of the bullpen fresh to chase a Sunday win.
  2. Patrick Wisdom had two hits, one of them a long, two-run homer. He also drew a walk. Not for the first time in his Cubs tenure, I have to wonder if Wisdom is finding a level that lists him firmly in the assets column.
  3. I’m still waiting for Trey Mancini to really wow me. I’m hopelessly naïve to guys who don’t play for the Cubs. So I had never heard of Mancini before. With the slow start, I haven’t had a lot to love. But he did have two hits and a walk Saturday. He scored twice.

Game 26, April 29: Marlins 7, Cubs 6 (14-12)


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


  • Superhero: Patrick Wisdom (.228). 2-3, HR, BB, 2RBI, R, K
  • Hero: Yan Gomes (.118). 1-1, RBI
  • Sidekick: Adbert Alzolay (.028). IP, 3 batters, 2K


  • Billy Goat: Caleb Kilian (-.382). 3⅓ IP, 23 batters, 10H, 2BB, 7ER, 4K (L 0-1)
  • Goat: Cody Bellinger (-.104). 1-4, HR, BB, RBI, 2R, 3K
  • Kid: Seiya Suzuki (-.097). 1-5, 3K, DP

WPA Play of the Game: The bases were loaded with two outs in the first and there was still no score. Jesus Sanchez hit a rule-book double, knocking in the first two runs. (.178)

*Cubs Play of the Game: Yan Gomes batted with the bases loaded and one out, the Cubs down three. Matt Barnes got the ground ball he was looking for, but the ball was tapped softly and between fielders. The net result, an infield hit and everyone moved up 90 feet. (.118)


Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Patrick Wisdom
    (61 votes)
  • 0%
    Yan Gomes
    (0 votes)
  • 6%
    Adbert Alzolay
    (5 votes)
  • 12%
    Julian Merryweather (2IP, 7 batters, BB, 3K)
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    Someone else (leave your suggestion in the comments)
    (1 vote)
77 votes total Vote Now

Yesterday’s Winner: Mark Leiter Jr. (Superhero 17-8)

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.

  • Justin Steele +10
  • Marcus Stroman/Ian Happ/Keegan Thompson +8
  • Mark Leiter Jr. +7.5
  • Michael Rucker/Luis Torens/Trey Mancini -4
  • Julian Merryweather -4.5
  • Nico Hoerner -5
  • Seiya Suzuki -6.5
  • Michael Fulmer -7

*Caleb Kilian is the 31st Cub to appear in a game this year. All 31 of them have appeared in Heroes and Goats at least once.

Up Next: The Cubs will look to avoid being swept for the first time. They have the right guy on the mound to play streak buster. Justin Steele (4-0, 1.19, 30⅓ IP) will get the start. He threw 5⅓ scoreless in his last outing. The Marlins are starting righty Bryan Hoeing (0-1, 9.82). Hoeing will be making is second start this year and third overall. In nine previous MLB appearances, he has an 11.57 ERA over 16⅓ innings. He was a seventh-round pick in 2019.