The Cubs improved to a Major League best 8-1 (.889) with Thursday night’s 8-1 victory over the Reds. Joe Maddon’s team has won five in a row and has outscored their opponents 64-21 after nine games.
According to ESPN Chicago, only two teams in the modern era have a better run differential through nine games than the Cubs (+43), the 1905 Giants and 1999 Indians had a plus-44 run differential. The Cubs finished each of the first three series with at least a plus-10 run differential.
The Cubs lead the majors in walks with 53, nine more than the Pirates, while being tied for 16th in strikeouts with the Tigers (71). And the pitching staff has issued the fewest walks (17) in baseball. The Cubs starting staff has a 2.78 ERA after nine games and the bullpen’s ERA is 1.21.
According to Christopher Kamka, the Cubs are 53-19 in the last 72 regular season games. The Cubs have lost twice in the regular season since Sept. 25, 17-2 in last 19 games.
Thursday’s Post-Game Reports
After Thursday’s 8-1 victory over the Reds, his team’s fifth straight win, Joe Maddon said, “We’re ready to play baseball. The things you talk about in camp or in meetings, our guys are doing it. That’s about as well as I can explain it … following game plans, great at-bats, playing catch on defense, being in the right spot.”
The Cubs are 8-1 for the first time since 1969 and for the sixth time in franchise history the team is 8-1 after the first nine games of a season (1876, 1879, 1880, 1934, 1969 and 2016). The ’69 Cubs started the season 11-1.
- CCO Recap – Cubs Sweep the Series, Take All Three from the Reds
- ESPN Chicago – Jason Hammel goes six shutout innings as Cubs improve to 8-1
- ESPN Chicago – Pitching, offense come together again in Cubs’ series sweep of Reds
- The Sun-Times – Hammel’s fresh start big part of Cubs best-in-majors 8-1 start
- Comcast SportsNet – Better than advertised: Cubs roll to 8-1 start
- Bruce Levine – Jason Hammel Resurrects His Status
The New Helmet Rub?
Last season the helmet rub became a big part of the Cubs culture as the team went on a run in August and September that took the team all the way to the NLCS.
The year is all about being in the moment and that’s why players are pointing to the ground with both hands when they reach base (Click Here)
According to the Tribune, pointing to the ground was David Ross’ idea and it means “you’re here, you’re in the present moment.”
News and Notes
• The Cubs defense, especially in the outfield, is much improved from this time last year. The Sun-Times reported Cubs can’t spell torrid without ‘D.’ Jason Heyward is living up to Gold Glove reputation for new-look Cubs defense according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Jason Heyward received the Wilson Sporting Goods Defensive Player of the Year Award before Thursday night’s game.
• Fox Sports reported Virgin Hotels and Jon Lester “teamed up to create a unique cocktail to baseball season, and the drink does double-duty as a charitable beverage.” The “Never Quit” cocktail “is a vodka infused leather cocktail with peanut syrup and leaf alcohol that smells of fresh cut grass.” And it’s topped off with a splash of Old Style.
• According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs follow tanker truck on wide open road toward 2016 playoffs.
• The Cubs are already getting use out of new facilities according to ESPN Chicago.
• Yahoo Sports has the Cubs in the top spot of its power rankings.
• The Giants offense might not be as prolific as the Cubs, but it has as many tough outs according to Buster Olney.
• Joe Maddon is looking forward to having Addison Russell for entire season at shortstop according to a report from Carrie Muskat. Maddon talked about how important Russell is to the Cubs.
• Bruce Levine reported no predicting how Joe Maddon will tinker with Cubs lineup.
• Willson Contreras led off the second inning of Thursday’s game with a single to right and extended his hitting streak to seven games. Contreras was 1-for-4 with a run scored in Iowa’s 4-2 win over New Orleans.
• The Cubs assigned RHP Jonathan Pettibone and LHP Jack Leathersich to Double-A Tennessee.
• Charlie Blackmon will not be on the field at Wrigley this weekend. The Rockies placed Blackmon on the DL with turf toe and recalled catcher Dustin Garneau from Triple-A Albuquerque.
• The Angels signed 2B Angelo Amendolare to a minor league contract.
• The Pirates signed RHP Justin Masterson to a minor league contract.
And last, but certainly not least, Cubs teammates seek title for veteran catcher David Ross according to Bob Nightengale.
This Day in Cubstory
1969 – Jeromy Burnitz, born
1960 – Mike Diaz, born
1954 – Cubs purchased Jim Davis from Seattle in the Pacific Coast League
1945 – Ted Sizemore, born
1942 – At Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis, Hiram ‘Hi’ Bithorn became the first Puerto Rican to play Major League Baseball. The Cubs’ right hander from Santurce made a relief appearance and did not allow any runs or hits in his two inning of work. Cubs lost the game 4-2.
1941 – Lou Stringer made four errors in his debut at second base, but the Cubs beat the Pirates 7-4 in the opener at Wrigley Field. Claude Passeau went the entire way and Bill Nicholson hit a two-run homer.
1937 – Cubs purchased Jack Salveson from the Senators
1931 – Ed Bailey, born
1886 – King Cole, born
1862 – Sy Sutcliffe, born