The Cubs moved a little closer to securing a spot in the post-season Tuesday behind Jake Arrieta’s complete game shutout over the Brewers. A combination of three wins or three Giants losses and the Cubs are in the tournament.
The Giants edged out the Padres and remain 9 ½ games back of the Cubs. The Nationals lost to the Orioles and slipped behind San Francisco in the Wild Card standings. The Cubs were not able to gain ground on St. Louis and Pittsburgh. The Cardinals topped the Reds and the Pirates beat the Rockies. The Cubs remain six back of the Cardinals and two behind the Pirates in the standings.
With 11 games remaining on the schedule, the Cubs have the third best record in the majors (89-62) and the best record in September (15-6).
Jake Arrieta became a 20-game winner on Tuesday night with his fourth complete game of the season. Arrieta dominated the Brewers for nine innings, only one of the three hits he allowed left the infield and he faced four over the minimum. Arrieta struck out 11 and issued one free pass.
Arrieta became the first Cubs’ pitcher to win 20 games since Jon Lieber in 2001. And Arrieta is the 27th Cubs’ pitcher to reach 20 wins since 1900.
After the game, Arrieta admitted he was happy that Joe Maddon let him pitch the ninth inning. Maddon indicated that if the Cubs had scored a fifth run in the eighth inning that he would not have sent Arrieta back out.
Jake Arrieta has put together a special, historic season and is in the middle of a phenomenal run. Arrieta was 4-4 on June 1 with a 3.18 ERA. After Tuesday night, Arrieta is 20-6 with a 1.88 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. And since the break, Arrieta is 10-1 in 13 starts with a 0.86 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. Joe Maddon called Arrieta’s second-half run “Bob Gibson-esque.”
• Jake Arrieta’s 0.86 ERA in 13 starts since the break is the lowest in Major League history.
• Arrieta’s three complete game shutouts are the most for a Cubs’ pitcher since Greg Maddux had four in 1992.
• Most recent Cubs with multiple double-digit strikeout, complete game performances in a single season: Jake Arrieta (2015, 2); Rick Sutcliffe (1984, 2); Ferguson Jenkins (1970, 2); Ferguson Jenkins (1969, 2); Bob Rush (1952, 2).
• Cubs seasons with three or more complete-game shutouts and 200 or more strikeouts: Jake Arrieta (2015); Ferguson Jenkins (1967-71); Orval Overall (1909); Bill Hutchinson (1890-92); John Clarkson (1885-86); Larry Corcoran (1880, 1883-84).
• According to Ace of MLB Stats, Jake Arrieta currently has a 1.88 ERA and 220 strikeouts on the season. The last Cubs’ pitcher with a lower ERA and more strikeouts was John Clarkson in 1885. Clarkson had a 1.85 ERA and struck out 308 batters in 623 innings in 1885.
• The most six-plus scoreless starts in a season by a Cubs pitcher since 1914: Jake Arrieta (2015, 9); Bill Lee (1938, 9); Grover Cleveland Alexander (1919, 9); Hippo Vaughn (1918, 8).
As the Cubs inch closer to a spot in baseball’s post-season tournament, the beat writers are asking more and more questions to Joe Maddon and Theo Epstein on how the roster might be constructed for the playoffs.
With the struggles of Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks and questions behind Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester in a playoff rotation, Maddon was asked Tuesday about using a bullpen day to cover a playoff start.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Billy Williams was at Wrigley Field on Tuesday and with Theo Epstein when Kris Bryant broke his record. Mr. Williams thinks Bryant is “just scratching the surface” and he has “a home run swing that’s perfect for Wrigley Field.”
• Cubs’ pitchers have combined for 18 shutouts this season, the most since the 1972 Cubs team had 19 shutouts.
• Comcast SportsNet asked if Neil Ramirez could be an X-factor for the Cubs bullpen down the stretch.
• With Dave Martinez possibly being a candidate for one of the managerial openings around the league this off-season, here is the latest on the Phillies and Marlins’ jobs: Andy MacPhail removed the interim tag from Pete Mackanin and named him the Phillies’ manager for the 2016 season. Mackanin’s contract includes a club option for the 2017 season. And MacPhail has interviewed one candidate for Philly’s GM job. MacPhail did not provide the name of the GM candidate. The Marlins interviewed Manny Acta for their manager’s job and Dusty Baker is a “very strong candidate” for the job in Miami.
• The Cubs are 21-5 in the last 26 games at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have hit 50 home runs at the old ballyard over that span.
• Joe Maddon does not have a problem with the concerts at Wrigley and admitted Tuesday he was being flippant when talking about the field conditions and blaming bad hops on the AC/DC concert. ESPN Chicago and Comcast SportsNet explained how Maddon backtracked on concerts at the old ballyard.
And last, but not least, Cubs’ rookies have combined to hit 65 home runs this season, the highest total of any rookie class in franchise history. Cubs’ rookies have hit the fifth most home runs in NL history behind the 2006 Marlins (112), 1958 Giants (85), 1999 Marlins (77) and 2007 Diamondbacks (66).
This Day In Cubstory
2011 – Starlin Castro became the youngest player in Cubs history to collect 200 hits in a single season when he singled off Chris Carpenter leading off the game in St. Louis. The 21-year old shortstop accomplished the feat two years younger than Billy Herman (1932) and Augie Galan (1935). Both Herman and Galan were 23 years old.
2008 – Cubs claimed Brad Snyder off waivers from the Indians
2001 – Sammy Sosa set a Major League record with his third, three homer game of the season. Sosa hit home runs No. 56, 57 and 58 off Astros’ rookie Tim Redding. Sosa accomplished the feat against the Rockies on Aug. 9 and the Brewers on Aug. 22.
2000 – Mark Grace collected the 1000th RBI of his career in a 6-5 loss to the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
1998 – The Brant Brown Game. With the Cubs up 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning, bases loaded and two out, Brant Brown dropped a routine fly ball off the bat of Geoff Jenkins. All three runners scored, the Cubs lost 8-7 and the game will forever be remembered by the way Ron Santo reacted on 720 WGN. Cubs’ manager Jim Riggleman had to console Santo in the Cubs’ clubhouse after the game.
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home runs No. 64 and No. 65 in an 8-7 loss to the Brewers
1987 – Gonzalez Germen, born
1986 – Chris Volstad, born
1954 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Sammy Drake
1952 – Dennis Lamp, born
1930 – Rogers Hornsby replaced Joe McCarthy as the manager of the Cubs.
1913 – Cubs purchased George McConnell from the Yankees
1908 – The Merkle Boner. Fred Merkle of the Giants failed to touch second base as the apparent winning run crossed the plate in the ninth inning at the Polo Grounds. The game was declared a tie and rescheduled for Oct. 8.
1907 – The Cubs clinched the National League Pennant in a 4-1 victory over the Phillies in a rain-shortened, seven and a half inning game. Ed Reulbach, in relief of Mordecai Brown, won the game at West Side Grounds. The Cubs turned a triple play in the fifth inning, first baseman George Howard to shortstop Joe Tinker.