The Cubs wrapped up the incredible regular season Sunday afternoon with their eighth straight win. The Cubs posted a 97-65 record, 32 games above .500 and is playing with a lot of confidence going into the one-game playoff Wednesday at PNC Park. The Cubs had the best road record in baseball during the regular season and were 6-4 in Pittsburgh this year.
According to multiple reports, the Cubs leave for Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon (5:00pm CDT) and will work out Tuesday at PNC Park. The Cubs are expected to announce their Wild Card Game roster on Wednesday morning.
Joe Maddon told the beat writers Sunday his lineup was nearly set for the Wild Card Game. Jake Arrieta is staring the game and the final decisions on the roster are coming down to which relievers will be included on the 25-man roster. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were at Miller Park on Sunday to talk to Maddon and the coaching staff about the roster.
The Cubs are expected to carry 16 position players and nine pitchers or 15 position players and 10 pitchers. Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester will reportedly be the only two starters on the active roster for the game. The Cubs finished the regular season with 17 position players on the active roster. Based on playing time, the Wild Card Game roster will not include Jonathan Herrera and the Cubs could be deciding between having Matt Szczur active or a reliever.
It’s going to be a wild week for the Cubs, one that hopefully concludes with a happy flight back to Chicago from St. Louis.
When the year-end awards are handed out, Kris Bryant will be named National League Rookie of the Year. Bryant had an excellent first year in the majors at the plate and in the field. Bryant played five different positions (third base, left field, right field, center field and first base) and really turned himself in to a very good third baseman. The improvement he made at third base throughout the season was almost impressive as the towering home runs he hit at Wrigley Field.
Offensively, Bryant set Cubs’ rookie records that were held by Billy Williams and stood for 54 years.
Bryant had a .275/.369/.488 slash line with 31 doubles, five triples, 26 home runs, .858 OPS, 77 walks, 199 strikeouts, 87 runs scored, 273 total bases and 99 RRBI. Bryant also set the Cubs’ single-season record for strikeouts.
Kris Bryant put up numbers in his first season that only one other player in the history of the game amassed. The only player before Bryant to hit 26 home runs and 31 doubles with 99 RBI, 77 walks and 87 runs scored as a rookie was Ted Williams in 1939.
With the Cubs playoff bound, Theo Epstein talked to the Tribune and ESPN Chicago. Here are two must-read reports:
- Paul Sullivan reported Theo Epstein’s Cubs journey isn’t over, but it has been a wild ride so far.
- Epstein reflected on Cubs’ incredible ride and hopes in October with Jon Greenberg.
Eddy Julio Martinez
According to a report from Jesse Sanchez, that has been verified by Ben Badler and Jon Heyman, the Giants and OF Eddy Julio Martinez agreed to terms on a $2.5 million contract.
The Cubs were reportedly one of more than a dozen teams interested in Martinez, who was expected to sign for more than he did. Reports in recent weeks suggested the early estimates of a $10-plus million signing bonus were more than he would end up receiving. Ben Badler reported Sunday, the 20-year old Cuban outfielder “is a solid prospect but not a premium one.”
News and Notes
• The Cubs shutout the opponent 21 times this year, the most for the Cubs in a single-season since 1969 (22). The Cubs had 11 shutouts in 2014.
• Three times in franchise history the Cubs have had four pitchers on the same staff strikeout 160 or more batters: Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks (2015); Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano and Matt Clement (2003); Ferguson Jenkins, Ken Holtzman, Bill Hands and Dick Selma (1969).
• Joe Maddon set the franchise record for the most wins by a manager in his first season with the Cubs.
• The Cubs had multiple eight-game winning streaks in a single-season, according to Christopher Kamka, for the first time since 1935. The Cubs had three eight-game winning streaks in 1935 in route to a 100-54 record and a NL Pennant.
• Hector Rondon posted a career-high 30 saves and a 1.67 ERA. The only other Cubs’ reliever with at least 30 saves and an ERA of 1.67 or lower was Bruce Sutter in 1997. Sutter saved 31 games with a 1.33 ERA.
• Comcast SportsNet explained why the Cubs believe Addison Russell is ready for playoff spotlight.
• According to the Sun-Times, wherever the Cubs’ ride ends, it started with Anthony Rizzo.
• The Sun-Times reported the Cubs raised the bar with 97-win season, look for more in Pittsburgh.
• After a sizzling finish to the season, the young Cubs are confident with the post-season ahead according to a report from ESPN Chicago.
• Anything is possible this post-season according to Ken Rosenthal.
• Managing the Cubs could be the toughest job in sports, but someone has to do it according to Paul Sullivan.
• Len Kasper confirmed with STATS that this season is the first time in the division era (1969) that the top three records in baseball reside in the same division.
• And Len Kasper confirmed Sunday that he will join Pat Hughes, Ron Coomer and Mark Grote in the radio booth for the post-season.
• Former Cubs’ shortstop Larry Bowa is on the Marlins’ radar to be the new manager in Miami.
And last, but not least, Jake Arrieta didn’t take it from a trash-talking Pirates’ fan on Twitter.
This Day In Cubstory
2010 – Cubs granted free agency to Mike Parisi
2003 – Cubs won their first post-season series since the 1908 World Series with a 5-1 victory over the Braves at Turner Field. The Cubs won the fifth and deciding game of the NLDS to take the series three games to two.
1999 – Cubs released Lance Johnson
1967 – Rey Sanchez, born
1958 – Randy Bush, born
1945 – Claude Passeau pitched a one-hit shutout in game three of the World Series. The Cubs topped the Tigers 3-0 in Detroit.
1935 – Lon Warneke won his second game of the World Series by beating the Tigers 3-1 in the fifth game at Wrigley Field.
1933 – 45-year old Red Faber pitched the final game of his career, a complete-game shutout over Lon Warneke and the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The White Sox topped the Cubs 2-0 in the second game of the City Series.
1930 – The largest crowd to attend a City Series (45,104) saw the Cubs beat the White Sox 6-4 at Wrigley Field.