Jake Arrieta posted his 22nd win and the Cubs won for the 95th time on Friday night at Miller Park, but the Reds could not hold the lead at PNC and lost 6-4 in 12 innings to the Pirates when Starling Marte cranked a two-run walk-off home run. With two games left on the schedule, the Pirates are one win or one Cubs loss away from hosting the Wild Card Game.
The Cubs are 6-4 in 10 games at PNC Park this year and Jake Arrieta is 3-0 in five career starts at PNC with a 2.25 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, this season Arrieta is 2-0 in three starts in Pittsburgh with a 0.82 ERA and 0.73 WHIP.
Addison Russell’s defense has stood out all year, whether at second base or now at his natural position of shortstop. Addison Russell has turned out highlight reel after highlight reel play. And ESPN named Russell its Defensive Player of the month for September.
Russell ranked fourth, as of Thursday, in all of baseball in defensive runs saved for the entire season at both second base and shortstop. Simon pointed out that Russell might not win a Gold Glove this year, but “he will be a legitimate candidate for The Fielding Bible’s annual award for multi-positional excellence.” Russell has been “highly above average” fielding balls hit up the middle of the field at both positions this year.
Kyle Schwarber, Right Fielder
Kyle Schwarber started in right field Friday night in Milwaukee. Schwarber played parts of two games recently, but Friday was the first time he started a game at that position. Schwarber moved from left field to right field on Wednesday in Cincinnati.
Joe Maddon is exploring options to maximize his lineup while weighing the importance of defense versus the offense the player could provide against Gerrit Cole. This season right handers have hit .251/.287/.361 with a .648 OPS against Cole while left handers have batted .227/.287/.310 against him with a .597 OPS.
Career numbers against Gerrit Cole:
- Chris Coghlan: 2-for-13 with two walks
- Kris Bryant: 3-for-9 with two walks
- Jorge Soler: 2-for-7
- Kyle Schwarber: 1-for-5
- Chris Denorfia: 3-for-6 with a double and a walk
Kyle Schwarber could be an option in right field at PNC Park. There is less ground to cover in right field at PNC than in left and center field. Starting Schwarber in right field, Kris Bryant in left field and Dexter Fowler in center field would also give Maddon a way to start either Javier Baez or Tommy La Stella at third base. Starlin Castro is 6-for-17 with a walk in 19 career plate appearances versus Gerrit Cole.
The two biggest bats in the Cubs’ lineup are closing in on the century mark for RBI. And while RBI is a team driven stat, driving in 100 or more runs in a season is quite the accomplishment.
With two games remaining on the schedule, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant each have 99 RBI.
Rizzo has a .279/.389/.516 slash line with 38 doubles, three triples and 31 home runs for a .905 OPS after a 2-for-4, three RBI performance on Friday night that included his 31st homer of the year. Bryant has hit .277/.368/.492 with 31 doubles, five triples and 26 home runs for a .860 OPS.
Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are tied for fourth in the NL in RBI and 13th in baseball.
News and Notes
• The Cubs are 44-19 in their last 63 games dating back to July 27, the day after the Phillies completed the three-game sweep at Wrigley Field. The Cubs 44 wins are the most in the majors over that span.
• The Cubs improved to 46-33 on the road with Friday night’s win at Miller Park. According to the Sun-Times, the 46 road victories are the most for the Cubs since the 1945 team won a franchise record 49 games. The Sun-Times pointed out six of the 46 road wins came in Pittsburgh. The Cubs are 6-4 in 10 games at PNC this season.
• The Cubs set a National League record on Friday night. The Cubs’ pitching staff has struck out 1,414 batters this season passing the All-Time National League record of 1,404 set by the 2003 Chicago Cubs.
• The Sun-Times reported nobody saw 95 win for Cubs this year … except Anthony Rizzo.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Kris Bryant’s Rookie of the Year season is just the beginning for the Cubs.
• Chris Coghlan is not thrilled about his reduced playing time according to a report from ESPN Chicago. Coghlan thinks he should be in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s Wild Card Game. Coghlan doesn’t understand why he hasn’t been playing all of a sudden.
• Jon Lester had a great year according to Jed Hoyer.
• Harry Caray’s is hosting a Cubs Playoff Rally on Wednesday, Oct. 7. And Ryne Sandberg will be at the rally with Dutchie Caray.
• Jeff Passan and Tim Brown posted their year-end awards on Yahoo Sports. Passan and Brown have Zack Greinke winning the NL Cy Young Award, Jake Arrieta finishing second. Both have Anthony Rizzo fourth for NL MVP. Kris Bryant is the NL Rookie of the Year according to Passan and Brown. Passan thinks Joe Maddon has been the best manager in the NL while Brown has Terry Collins as the top skipper in the Senior Circuit.
• Jayson Stark thinks Zack Greinke should win the NL Cy Young, Bryce Harper the NL MVP, Kris Bryant the NL Rookie of the Year and Joe Maddon the NL Manager of the Year.
• Rich Hill told Rob Bradford, “I can pitch for anybody, against anybody, anytime, anywhere.” Hill had four rather impressive outings with the Red Sox in his return to the majors. Hill kept the Blue Jays in check, shut down the Orioles and was very good against the Yankees. Hill is looking to sign with a team this off-season and not as a backup plan or bullpen option. The once mild mannered Hill did not hold back when he talked to WEEI.
And lastly, a Cubs fan started a GoFundMe page to raise money to send Steve Bartman to the Wild Card Game next week and was halfway to the goal of reaching $5,000. Jesse Rogers reached out to Steve Bartman’s camp and was told by his spokesman that Bartman appreciated the effort but he “has no intention of being at the Wild Card Game.” Bartman still roots for the Cubs, as one would expect, and “is capable of attending the game on his own.” The money raised will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association and Bartman was “happy to hear the money would go to charity.”
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs selected Mat Gamel off waivers from the Brewers
1999 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 63.
1994 – Jen-Ho Tseng, born
1981 – Matt Murton, born
1979 – Cubs released Ken Holtzman
1976 – Bill Madlock went 4-for-4 on the final day of the season to win the batting title with a .339 average. The Cubs beat the Expos 8-2 at Wrigley Field.
1965 – Cubs turned their third triple play of the year and tied a Major League record … first baseman Ernie Banks to shortstop Don Kessinger in the fifth inning. Bill Faul was on the mound for all three triple plays. The Cubs lost the game 6-3 to the Pirates at Forbes Field.
1954 – Dennis Eckersley, born
1945 – Cubs beat the Tigers 9-0 in game one of the World Series behind Hank Borowy’s six-hitter.
1897 – Cap Anson ended his 27-year career by hitting two home runs in a 10-9 loss to the Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader in St. Louis. Anson, at age 46, was the oldest player to hit a home run in the majors. Anson went 0-for-3 in the second game the Cubs won 7-1.
1890 – John ‘Pat’ Luby won his 17th straight game, a franchise record, in a 3-2 victory over the Giants at West Side Park that was called after seven innings due to darkness.