It’s make-up Monday for the Cubs as baseball’s regular season winds down. The Cubs have seven games remaining on the schedule, one with the Royals and six on the road with three in Cincinnati and three in Milwaukee. The Cubs square off against the Royals on Monday night in the last game of the regular season at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs enter play Monday 4 ½ games behind the Pirates for home field in the NL Wild Card. While it is unlikely the Cubs will catch the Pirates, Joe Maddon “doesn’t intend to take his foot off the gas in the final week of the regular season” according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
Maddon explained the Cubs are trying to win as many games as possible but he may look to give a couple of players a break and that includes Kris Bryant. Maddon pointed out for the most part the players are rather fresh.
One of the players that could use a breather is Anthony Rizzo. Maddon said he would talk to Rizzo but he was not planning on giving him a day off over the last week of the regular season. Maddon told Carrie Muskat if Rizzo asks for a break he would give him one. Maddon added that Rizzo will get a couple of days off after the regular season ends Sunday. The Cubs have Monday and Tuesday off before the NL Wild Card Game on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
Jake Arrieta has put together a post-break stretch that has never been seen in the game before. Arrieta’s season is beyond special at this point, it is historic. Here are some facts after the gem he pitched Sunday night.
• Arrieta is 21-6 with a 1.82 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 2.40 FIP in 32 starts this season. Arrieta has allowed 148 hits with 48 walks and 229 strikeouts in 223 innings. Arrieta is the first Cubs’ pitcher with 21 wins in a single season since Ferguson Jenkins won 24 games in 1971. Jenkins was 24-13 in 39 starts with 30 complete games, a 2.77 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 325 innings.
• In 14 starts since the break, Arrieta is 11-1 with a 0.80 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. Arrieta has allowed 12 runs, nine earned, on 53 hits with 23 walks and 106 strikeouts in 101 1/3 innings. Bob Gibson, after the break in 1968, made 16 starts and posted a 1.19 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 144 innings.
• Since July 12, Arrieta has allowed two home runs and hit two home runs. His ERA over that span according to ESPN, 0.85.
• Jake Arrieta is one of three Cubs pitchers since 1900 with two home runs, 20 or more wins and 200 or more strikeouts in a single season … Ferguson Jenkins (1970, 1971) and Orval Overall (1909) were the only two Cubs pitchers to accomplish the feat prior to Sunday night.
• Arrieta has carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning five times since 2014.
• Arrieta has posted 19 straight quality starts, a franchise record. Arrieta is 15-1 with a 0.89 ERA and 140 strikeouts over that stretch according to Chris DeLuca.
• According to Christopher Kamka, Arrieta’s 0.879 WHIP is the best for a Cubs’ pitcher with a minimum of 150 innings since Mordecai ‘Three Finger’ Brown posted a 0.873 WHIP in 1909.
• Jake Arrieta carried a perfect game into the seventh inning Sunday four weeks after pitching his no-hitter at Dodger Stadium. Over his last six Sunday starts, Arrieta is 6-0 with a 0.18 ERA. Arrieta has allowed 14 hits with six walks and 53 strikeouts.
- Comcast SportsNet: Jake Arrieta takes perfecto into seventh, hits home run as Cubs beat Pirates
- Bruce Levine: Joe Maddon touts Jake Arrieta for NL MVP
- ESPN Chicago: Jake Arrieta dominates Pirates in latest incomparable performance
Starlin Castro had another big hit for the Cubs on Sunday night. Castro smacked a two-run double in the seventh that turned a two-run lead into a four-run advantage. Castro has really embraced his new role and has turned his season around.
Bruce Miles has noticed the difference in Castro and tweeted Sunday, “Starlin is a different person that he was a couple of months ago. The smile and confidence are back.”
Since the break, Castro is batting .297/.321/.456 with 12 doubles, a triple and five home runs for a .777 OPS. His numbers over the last 21 games are ridiculous. After hitting close to .300 in August, Castro is 24-for-59 with four doubles, a triple and four home runs in September. That is a .407/.438/.712 slash line with a 1.149 OPS.
With a week to go in the regular season, Starlin Castro is 16 hits shy of 1000 for his career.
The Cubs honored Aramis Ramirez prior to Sunday night’s game. Starlin Castro presented his good friend with a No. 16 from the Wrigley Field scoreboard in the pre-game ceremony.
Sunday marked the last regular season game for Ramirez at Wrigley Field. Aramis is expected to retire at the end of the year.
Aramis Ramirez played on three NL Central Division Champions (2003, 2007, 2008) and is one of the greatest players in franchise history. During his nine years with the Cubs, Ramirez played in 1124 games and his .294/.356/.531 with 256 doubles, 14 triples and 239 home runs for a .887 OPS.
The Cubs posted win No. 90 on the season with Sunday’s 4-0 victory over the Pirates. The 2015 Cubs are the sixth team since 1969 to win 90 games in a season … 1969 (92), 1984 (96), 1989 (93), 1998 (90) and 2008 (97).
News and Notes
• The Cubs have 19 shutouts this season, tied for the most shutouts for a Cubs’ pitching staff since 1972.
• Len Kasper joined Pat Hughes, Ron Coomer and Mark Grote on WBBM for Sunday’s game and called the fifth inning. It was the second straight game Kasper was on the radio side with the Cubs on National Television. Throughout the season when the Cubs were on National TV and there was not a Cubs telecast, Kasper would jump on the radio to call the fifth inning. Len said Sunday night that he would be in the radio booth for the post-season.
• Former Cubs’ infielder Mike Olt told the Tribune he hopes his former teammates do well in the post-season. Olt was claimed off waivers by the White Sox earlier this month. Olt has struggled at the plate in 20 games with the Sox. Olt is 14-for-65 with three home runs, seven walks and 26 strikeouts (.215/.292/.354) for a .646 OPS.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Darwin Barney’s errorless streak ended. Barney made a wild throw to first base after fielding a groundball off the bat of Justin Upton in the eighth inning. Barney was charged with an error and snapped his 141-game errorless streak.
2007 – The Cubs clinched the National League Central Division with a 6-0 shutout over the Reds. The Cubs waited in the visitor’s clubhouse at Great American Ball Park on the outcome of the Brewers game. Lou Piniella led his third different team to the post-season.
2007 – Alfonso Soriano led off the division winning game with a home run off Bronson Arroyo, his 32nd longball of the season. Soriano set a Major League record by hitting hit sixth home run to start a game during the month and tied Ernie Banks’ franchise record with his 13th home run during the month of September.
2003 – The Cubs retired Ron Santo’s #10. Santo proclaimed that having his number retired by the Cubs meant more to him than the Hall of Fame. Santo’s #10 joined Ernie Banks’ #14 on the left field foul pole and became on the third number retired by the Cubs at the time (Banks 14, Williams 26).
2001 – In the first game back at Wrigley Field after the attacks on 9/11, Sammy Sosa hit his 59th home run of the season and pulled a small American flag out and waived it as he circled the bases.
1998 – Game 163 … The Cubs beat the Giants 5-3 at Wrigley Field and won the National League Wild Card.
1997 – Ryne Sandberg played his last game. Sandberg went 0-for-2 in a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals. Sandberg played 2151 games with the Cubs over 15 seasons and a total of 2164 games during his Hall of Fame career.
1978 – Joey Nation, born
1962 – In front of only 595 fans at Wrigley Field, the Cubs (58-101) beat the Mets (39-118) in the first game between two teams that both lost 100 games in the same season in Major League history. The Mets ended up with a 40-120 record in its first season, and established the record for the most losses in the modern era.
1959 – Charlie Grimm began his third stint as manager of the Cubs. Grimm replaced Bob Scheffing, who skippered the Cubs to a 74-80 record, the most wins for the Cubs since 1952 (77-77).
1953 – Cubs released Phil Cavarretta
1953 – Cubs released Dutch Leonard
1953 – Cubs signed free agent Gene Mauch
1952 – On the last day of the season Stan Musial pitched for the one and only time in his Hall of Fame Career. Musial faced Frankie Baumholtz with two outs in the bottom of the first inning and Baumholtz reached on an error. Paul Minner and the Cubs beat the Cardinals 3-0 at Sportsman’s Park ,but Musial won the batting championship over Baumholtz, .336 – .325. Since it was the end of the season, the two teams decided to have Musial and Baumholtz face one another.
1938 – The Homer in the Gloamin’ … Gabby Hartnett hit his famous home run in the ninth inning off Mace Brown as darkness set in at Wrigley Field. The Cubs beat the Pirates 6-5 and basically clinched the National League Pennant with their ninth win in a row.
1930 – Hack Wilson drove in his 190 and 191st runs of the year on the final day of the season. Wilson was credited for 190 RBI at the time, but years later a RBI that Wilson was not initially given credit for was discovered. In 1999, Jerome Holtzman found a run that Wilson drove in during a game in July. Wilson’s 191 RBI is the Major League record for a single season. In 1930, Hack Wilson hit .356/.454/.723 with 35 doubles, six triples, 56 home runs, 191 RBI, 105 walks and 84 strikeouts for a 1.177 OPS.
1912 – Cubs released player-manager Frank Chance. In 7 ½ seasons as the Cubs skipper, Chance led the Cubs to four pennants and two World Series Championships. Chance posted a 753-379 record, a .665 winning percentage, the highest in team history.