The Cubs kept the pressure on the Pirates and Cardinals by winning both games of Friday’s twin bill in Philly. Three doubles, a Starlin Castro homer and Jake Arrieta started the day off with a win and in the night cap it was three homers from Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant that were the difference in the game.
The Cubs moved to within two games of the Pirates for the top NL Wild Card. The Pirates topped the Brewers 6-3. And the Cubs are six games back of St. Louis in the division. The Cardinals and Reds game was suspended in the eighth inning tied at two and will be resumed today. The Cubs maintained the 9 ½ game lead over the Giants for the second NL Wild Card.
Jorge Soler was sent on a rehab assignment Friday and he reported to High-A Myrtle Beach. Soler started in right field, batted third and went 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored in the Pelicans’ victory over the Dash. Soler said after the game he felt good, but more importantly he helped Myrtle Beach win the game.
The Pelicans beat the Winston-Salem Dash on Friday night, 4-3, and won the Southern Division Championship. Myrtle Beach will play in the Mills Cup Championship Series. This is the third straight season the core group of the 2015 Myrtle Beach Pelicans will play for a championship (Boise Hawks, 2013; Kane County, 2014).
Jonathan Martinez picked up the win in the third and deciding game and David Garner allowed one unearned run over the last three innings for the save. Victor Caratini hit a bases clearing double in the first inning. Chesny Young singled in Gleyber Torres in the seventh inning.
The Pelicans will face the Wilmington Blue Rocks in Game One of the Mills Cup Championship Series beginning Sunday, Sept. 13 at Frawley Stadium in Wilmington. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05pm CDT in the opener of the best-of-five series.
According to Jesse Rogers, Jorge Soler will play again Sunday for the Pelicans. Soler could rejoin Cubs next week in Pittsburgh.
Kris Bryant went a combined 5-for-10 with a double, a home run and four RBI in Friday’s doubleheader. Bryant followed a 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI performance in game one with three hits in the night cap that included his 24th home run of the season.
Kris Bryant set the Cubs All-Time rookie record for RBI in a single season. Bryant drove in four runs in the doubleheader and has 90 RBI for the year. Bryant passed Billy Williams (1961) and Geovany Soto (2008) on the Cubs’ list. Williams drove in 86 runs in 1961 and Soto equaled his mark 47 years later.
Bryant is one homer short of Billy Williams’ rookie record for home runs.
In 130 games this year, Bryant has hit .271/.368/.491 with 23 doubles, five triple and 24 home runs for a .858 OPS.
Bryant has been extremely impressive with runners on base and in scoring position. With no one on base, Bryant has a .242/.323/.411 slash line with 12 doubles and nine home runs. With runners on base, Bryant’s line is .308/.418/.589 with a 1.007. With runners in scoring position, Bryant is hitting .313/.436/.530 with a .967 OPS. And with runners in scoring position and two outs, Kris Bryant is 20-for-50 this season with four doubles and three home runs, that is a .400/.531/.660 line with a 1.191 OPS.
Jake Arrieta earned his 19th win of the season in game one of Friday’s doubleheader. Arrieta will shoot for No. 20 on Wednesday at PNC Park. The last Cubs’ starter to win 20 games was Jon Lieber in 2001. Lieber was 20-6 in 34 starts with a 3.80 ERA and 1.15 WHIP for Don Baylor.
Arrieta passed the 200-strikeout mark Friday and now has 204 in 199 innings this year. For the season, Arrieta is 19-6 with a 1.99 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 2.51 FIP. Arrieta has allowed 138 hits with 46 walks. And for as good as he has been this year, Arrieta’s post-break numbers are simply incredible.
Over his last 11 starts, Arrieta is 9-1 with a 0.93 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Arrieta has allowed 10 runs, eight earned, on 43 hits with 21 walks and 81 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings. Arrieta is on pace, according to ESPN, to have the lowest ERA after the All-Star break in MLB history.
Comcast SportsNet reported Arrieta is gearing up for 20 wins, a case for the NL Cy Young and the playoffs.
Starlin Castro was 2-for-4 with a home run and two runs scored in game one of Friday’s doubleheader. Castro is 29-for-82 over his last 30 games with a .354/.369/.561 slash line, that is a .930 OPS. And over his last seven games, Castro is 9-for-18 with a double and two home runs (.500/.526/.889) for a 1.415 OPS.
News and Notes
• According to multiple reports Friday, the Cubs could use Carl Edwards Jr., Clayton Richard, Travis Wood or Trevor Cahill to start Sunday’s finale against the Phillies. Joe Maddon has already said it will be a bullpen day. Whoever starts the game will only pitch a couple of innings.
• Joe Maddon is not worried about where the Cubs could play a potential Wild Card game according to ESPN Chicago. Maddon said Friday, the one game depends on the starting pitchers more than where the game is played. Comcast SportsNet pointed out it might be better for the team to play the Wild Card game on the road instead of at the fishbowl that is Wrigley Field.
• The Pirates announced Friday that Gerrit Cole (game one) and J.A. Happ (game two) will start Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Cubs. Jon Lester and Jason Hammel will start the twin bill.
• The Cubs have swept two doubleheaders (July 7 vs. Cardinals; Sept. 11 vs. Phillies) in a season for the first time since 1984. Ryne Sandberg, Rick Sutcliffe, Gary Matthews and company won both ends of a doubleheader five times.
• The Sun-Times reported the Cardinals and Pirates are about to find out what the Cubs can do with 22 games left.
• The Cubs rookies entered record books, help sweep Phillies according to ESPN Chicago. And sometimes they fall, but according to the Sun-Times, the Cubs rookie keep getting back up during historic season.
And last, but not least … from Christopher Kamka: Kyle Schwarber became the first Cubs’ player to homer in the first and second inning of a game since Kris Bryant (July 4). Schwarber is the first Cub to hit a home run in the first and second inning of the first pitch since Alfonso Soriano (June 8, 2007). And Schwarber is first Cubs’ player to hit two home runs in the same game on the first pitch of the at-bat since Jorge Soler (Aug. 29, 2014).
This Day In Cubstory
2001 – The Rockies selected Ross Gload off waivers from the Cubs
2000 – Kerry Wood pitched the second complete game of his career in a 2-1 victory over the Reds.
1998 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 60, a three-run shot in the seventh inning off Milwaukee’s Valerio de los Santos in a 15-12 victory over the Brewers at Wrigley Field. Sosa became the fourth player in Major League history to his 60 home runs in a single season, joining Babe Ruth, Roger Maris and Mark McGwire
1998 – Cubs purchased Chris Haney from the Royals
1983 – Clayton Richard, born
1982 – Carmen Pignatiello, born
1975 – Mark Johnson, born
1967 – Pat Listach, born
1919 – Cubs completed a triple play in the sixth inning of the first game against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field, shortstop Charlie Hollocher to first baseman Fred Merkle. The Cubs won 3-1 on Merkle’s seventh inning home run through the fence in the left field corner. The Cubs dropped the second game 5-4.