For the second day in a row, the Cubs overcame a deficit and beat the Braves. The Cubs won their third straight and picked up a game in the NL Central while gaining a game in the NL Wild Card race.
Around the time Hector Rondon recorded the final out Saturday, the Pirates walked off the Giants on a Starling Marte ninth inning home run. The Padres shut out the Cardinals late Saturday night in San Diego.
The Cubs will enter play Sunday three games behind the Pirates for second in the division and 6 ½ back of the Cardinals. The Cubs have a five game lead, six in the loss column, over the Giants for the last spot in the NL’s post-season tournament.
Javier Baez is streaking toward a September call-up. Baez went 1-for-4 on Saturday night without a strikeout and extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. Baez has also hit safely in 14 straight road games according to Randy Wehofer. Baez batted third, played short and was charged with his 19th error of the season in Iowa’s 3-1 win over Salt Lake.
Baez actually snapped a string of seven straight multi-hit games in which he batted .441 with a home run, two doubles, two walks and nine strikeouts.
Javier Baez is hitting .300/.347/.456 in his last 21 games with four doubles, two triples and two home runs for a .802 OPS. Baez has walked seven times with 23 strikeouts in 90 at bats.
Anthony Rizzo has not only put his team in a pennant race this season, he has played his way into the conversation for NL MVP. Rizzo is hitting .291/.401/.541 with 30 doubles, two triples and 25 home runs for a .942 OPS. Rizzo has walked 60 times and has been hit by a pitch 24 times with 71 strikeouts in 436 at bats. And he’s also swiped 15 bases.
Rizzo hit home run No. 25 on the season Saturday afternoon and became just the fifth left-handed hitter in franchise history with multiple 25-plus home run seasons.
The four lefties in Cubs’ history with multiple 25-plus home run seasons … Billy Williams (10), Bill Nicholson (5), Henry Rodriguez (2) and Rick Monday (2).
Anthony Rizzo is five longballs away from becoming just the second first baseman in Cubs’ history with back-to-back 30 home run seasons. Rizzo hit 32 last year. Derrek Lee had three seasons of 30 or more home runs for the Cubs. Lee is currently the only Cubs’ first baseman with 30-plus home runs in consecutive seasons. Lee hit 32 in 2004 and 46 in 2005.
And Saturday’s longball moved Rizzo into sole possession of 24th place on the Cubs’ All-Time Home Run list. Rizzo hit No. 95 of his Cubs’ career and passed Dave Kingman.
For the second start in a row Dan Haren did not complete five innings. And one of the first questions asked to Joe Maddon in his post-game presser was if he planned to make a change in the fifth spot in the rotation.
Joe Maddon is going to stick with Dan Haren as his fifth starter. Haren has pitched better than his numbers suggest. Maddon thinks Haren is going to “be a big help to us down the stretch.”
Haren might have been pulled a little early Saturday. His habit of serving up home run balls on a day the wind was blowing out at Wrigley did not bode well for a long outing. Haren ended up being charged with four runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings. Two of those runs scored after he was out of the game.
The Cubs need more than a five-and-dive pitcher from Haren. Haren is averaging less than five innings per start with the Cubs while allowing 14 runs, 13 earned, on 25 hits (seven home runs) with three walks and 16 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings (6.05 ERA, 1.45 WHIP).
News, Notes and Rumors
• The Cubs use talent to find ways to win according to a report from ESPN Chicago. The Tribune reported the Cubs never-say-die attitude paid off in comeback victory over the Braves. And it was another day, another comeback win for the Cubs according to Comcast SportsNet.
• According to Gordon Edes, past ties with Dave Dombrowski suggest Jim Hendry is on the short-list to be the next general manager of the Red Sox. Frank Wren is considered the frontrunner for the job, but Hendry, DeJon Watson, David Chadd, Mike Hazen and Ned Colletti could be candidates for the job.
• The Mariners designated RHP Fernando Rodney for assignment Saturday night. Rodney did not participate in the Mariners’ latest bullpen meltdown but he’s had a really rough year. Rodney’s numbers are pretty bad and for those that pay attention to the save stat. Rodney has converted 16 of 22 save opportunities this season. Two of Rodney’s best seasons were when Joe Maddon was his skipper in Tampa.
And last, but not least, Joe Maddon sent a message to the fan base through the media. “Cubs fans, just keep your hands in your pockets until the ball goes over the wall.”
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs received Neil Ramirez from the Rangers as the PTBNL in the Matt Garza deal to complete the trade (Edwards, Olt, Grimm and Ramirez for Garza)
2012 – Cubs claimed Miguel Socolovich off waivers from the Orioles
2007 – Cubs acquired Craig Monroe from the Tigers for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Clay Rapada to Detroit to complete the trade on Aug. 30, 2007.
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home runs No. 50 and 51 and joined Mark McGwire (53) with reaching the 50-home run plateau in the same season for only the second time in NL history. Ralph Kiner (Pirates) and Johnny Mize (Giants) both hit 51 home runs in 1947.
1994 – Billy McKinney, born
1983 – At Wrigley Field, Ferguson Jenkins lost to Reds’ rookie Jeff Russell (father of James Russell) 4-2. Russell hit the only home run of his career.
1977 – Cubs released Bobby Darwin
1975 – Rick Monday and Champ Summers hit pinch-hit home runs for the Cubs in a 14-12 loss to the Astros
1974 – Mark Bellhorn, born
1958 – Cubs selected Jim Marshall off waivers from the Orioles
1947 – Cubs signed free agent Billy Jurges
1929 – Cubs purchased Lon Warneke from Alexandria (Cotton States League) for $100
1909 – Cubs stole home three times, Johnny Evers, Del Howard and Solly Hofman, in an 11-6 win in Boston and tied a Major League record.