2024 Cubs Heroes and Goats: Game 48

Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs - Game Two

Sometimes you come up a little short. Sometimes there are too many times where you come up short. We’ve mentioned it before, the Cubs are now 9-13 over their last 22 games. I don’t have to do any math to say a team winning nine out of 22 over time doesn’t make the playoffs. But, many if not most playoff teams do have such a stretch. None of this has finality to it. But it sure is frustrating.

We saw in 2023, that you can stack too many losses early and then have trouble overcoming it later. We also saw that team overcome it later, sadly, only to have another stack late and reverse their fortune for a second time. Also, there are only five teams in the National League who have won more games than they’ve lost with one other team being even. Over 48 games, the Cubs would be comfortably in the playoffs. They are three games clear of the Giants. None of that has much meaning, but it is clear that they haven’t lost any opportunity yet.

So we’re in one of those periods of gritting your teeth and just trying to survive it. They will survive it. They will play good baseball again. Will they play enough good baseball? I still suspect yes. But you just never know. This team has plenty of talent to compete for a division title and/or a wild card. They are a whopping two games behind the Brewers, a team they’ll be seeing a whole lot of over the next few months. So right now, today, they are closer to a division title than out of the playoffs. That margin is slim and so anything can still happen.

I’m going to guess a mid-homestand day off is one of the most precious commodities during the grind of a baseball season. Particularly, the kind that comes with a day game followed by a day off followed by a night game. Regardless if that means almost two days away from the game with your family and friends or extra time with the trainers, the weight room, or the cages in your own surroundings, it’s a reset. The last mid-homestand day off was April 22. I’d bet money that Craig Counsell told everyone to go home Sunday night, check out for at least 18 hours and then when they do comeback to be ready to roll up the sleeves because there is work to be done.

Not a lot to say about this game. Repeating what I said over the weekend, the Pirates have stacked some talented young pitching. How much of it will pan out in the long run? It’s too soon to tell. They too appear to be offensively challenged, but they look like they are a bit better than their record to date. My suspicion is that they have an okay-ish season from here out and wouldn’t be blown away if they are one of the rivals for the Cubs as a contention window re-opens in Chicago.

Let’s see what positives we can take from a low-scoring and depressing loss.

  1. There were no really strong games. I’m going to tip the cap to Mike Tauchman. He had one of the Cubs’ two hits, a triple. He scored a run.
  2. Cody Bellinger did have hitting into a double play on his report card Sunday, a nifty feat because the Cubs managed only eight baserunners. But he also had a double in the game.
  3. None of the pitchers were particularly clean and so I’ll keep pointing out the progress of Christopher Morel. Four plate appearances, a walk, a hit by pitch and a sacrifice fly. He was retired just once.

Game 48, May 19: Pirates 3, Cubs 2 (26-22)


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


  • Superhero: Ben Brown (.109). 2 IP, 9 batters, H, BB, 3 K
  • Hero: Jameson Taillon (.086). 4⅔ IP, 21 batters, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 R, 4 K (L 3-2)
  • Sidekick: Cody Bellinger (.073). 1-4, 2B, DP


  • Billy Goat: Ian Happ (-.206). 0-4
  • Goat: Hayden Wesneski (-.163). 1⅓ IP, 7 batters, 3 H, BB, K
  • Kid: Patrick Wisdom (-.144). 0-1

WPA Play of the Game: if you are wondering how Jameson Taillon ended up on the positive side, he left a tie game. Hayden Wesneski pitched with the bases loaded and two outs and allowed a two-run single to Nick Gonzales. (.224)

*Cubs Play of the Game: Cody Bellinger batted with a runner on first and no outs in the sixth inning. He doubled and put runners on second and third with no outs. Scoring only one run after that ended up being the game. (.168)

Rizzo Award Cumulative Standings: (Top 4/Bottom 4)

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.

  • Shōta Imanaga +15
  • Javier Assad +12.5
  • Mark Leiter Jr. +10
  • Jameson Taillon +9
  • Miguel Amaya -9
  • Adbert Alzolay/Ian Happ -10
  • Kyle Hendricks -17

Ben Brown sits fifth and so the top five on this team right now are all pitchers. Hayden Wesneski is seventh, despite his negative today. Hector Neris and Drew Smyly round out the top 10, making eight of the top 10. Despite one metric ton of pitching injuries, Cubs pitching has carried this team. Interestingly, they occupy the two bottom spots. All of the weight is being carried for better or for worse by the pitching. The bats have to get back into that relentless attack that helped them run out to a strong early start.

Up Next: An off day Monday and then Tuesday night baseball with the 26-16 Braves. The two teams have the same number of wins, but the Cubs have played six more games than Atlanta — though the Braves will play a doubleheader today against the Padres. If the Cubs stay on rotation, Javier Assad would be lined up to pitch the opener. Javier last pitched in the series finale in Atlanta, helping the Cubs to salvage a win in that series. Javier has been fantastic. Seeing the Braves twice in such close proximity is going to be a real challenge. Justin Steele and Kyle Hendricks, respectively, have taken the previous starts that would line up with this series. It’ll be interesting to see how the Cubs approach this series starting pitching-wise.

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