The Cubs completed sweeps week against the Pirates and Nationals with a perfect 7-0 record that was capped off with Sunday’s walk-off in the 13th inning at Wrigley. Joe Maddon’s team quieted a lot of the critics that said the Cubs were a soft 17-6 before last week because of the teams they played.
The Cubs have six more games on the homestand, three with the Padres and Pirates. Taking care of business against the Padres and another winning week at Wrigley would put the Cubs in a good position before a difficult three-city, nine-game road trip that includes series in San Francisco and St. Louis.
Weather permitting, Jon Lester gets the ball Monday night in the opener against the Padres. Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday night. The Cubs are lined up to have Jason Hammel, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester face the Pirates over the weekend.
Cubs Start and Run Differential
The Cubs improved to an incredible 24-6 with Sunday’s walk-off win over the Nationals in 13 innings. Here are a few tidbits from Sunday’s game …
• The Cubs are 24-6 after 30 games, the best 30-game start for the franchise since the 1907 Cubs began the year 24-6.
• The Cubs have the best run differential of any team since 1903 through 30 games … 2016 Cubs (+102), 1905 Giants (+99), 1939 Yankees (+95), 1984 Tigers (+91), 1932 Yankees (+88).
• According to Christopher Kamka, this is the only season, since 1913, that Cubs starting pitchers have gone five-plus innings in each of the team’s first 30 games.
Joe Maddon told the beat writers Sunday that Miguel Montero is “getting closer to returning.” Montero hit in the cage Sunday after taking Saturday off from his rehab.
Montero “passed all the tests” according to Carrie Muskat and is scheduled to hit again Monday. Jesse Rogers explained after he hits Monday “they’ll determine a course of action.” The Cubs have not ruled out a short rehab assignment for Montero.
The Cubs sent mixed signals throughout the weekend on whether or not he will be activated Tuesday when he’s eligible to come off the DL.
Matt Szczur is on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring strain and is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 18. Szczur was off to an excellent start to the season, batting .367/.441/.600 with a double, two home runs and a 1.041 OPS before landing on the DL.
According to Carrie Muskat, Szczur hit in the batting cage Sunday “and is making progress.”
Cubs Pitching Staff
The Cubs started the season and have maintained a 13-man pitching staff (five starters and eight relievers) and 12 position players. Joe Maddon used the entire bench in the last two games of the Nationals series. With four position players, three plus a backup catcher, Maddon has only a few options late in games. Maddon said Sunday he kept Javier Baez on the bench longer than he wanted to because Baez is the Cubs’ third catcher and he had to be careful.
Baez entered the game in the eighth inning and was the third different third baseman Maddon used Sunday.
According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs carrying 13 pitchers is “not set in stone.” The Cubs could decide that a 12-man staff is enough, for now, in order to have an extra position player on the bench.
Jon Heyman reported Sunday there are four teams “showing keen early interest” in Tim Lincecum. Heyman thinks the Giants, Angels, Diamondbacks and White Sox have the most interest right now in Lincecum.
Lincecum would like to sign with a team that will use him in a starting role, not a reliever.
Lincecum’s showcase Friday reportedly went well and teams are interested. According to Dan Duquette, Lincecum will be signing with a team west of the Mississippi and as a starter.
As reported, the Cubs appear to have just been doing their due diligence by attending Lincecum’s workout.
News and Notes
• Anthony Rizzo and Ben Zobrist, the Killer Z’s, are the first pair of Cubs teammates to drive in 25 or more runs through the first 30 games of a season since 1929. Charlie Grimm (28), Riggs Stephenson (27), Hack Wilson (27) and Kiki Cuyler (25) had at least 25 RBI through the first 30 games of the 1929 season (87 years ago) according to Christopher Kamka.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Trevor Cahill started the rally, Javier Baez blasted the walk-off homer as Cubs sweep Nationals.
• Bryce Harper reached base seven times Sunday without an official at-bat, the first time in the history of the game a player has accomplished the feat.
• Tanner Roark was not happy with the Cubs not pitching to Bryce Harper. Roark was very, very surprised with the Cubs avoided Harper. Roark accused the Cubs and Joe Maddon of playing scared baseball according to Hardball Talk.
• Through 30 games, Cubs pitchers have walked 88 batters this season … 13 of the 88 free passes have been issued to Bryce Harper.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Bryce Harper reached seven times but did little damage, just like the Cubs planned.
• Ryan Zimmerman left 14 runners on base in Sunday’s 13-inning game, setting a new Major League record.
• Baseball takes center stage in Chicago, and Cubs, White Sox put on a show according to Paul Sullivan.
And last, but not least, Javier Baez became the first Cub to hit a walk-off home run on Mother’s Day since Jody Davis in 1982. For those they may have missed Baez’s walk-off … here’s one more look and pay close attention to the return of the Strop Strut.
— #VoteCubs (@Cubs) May 8, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2013 – Yankees purchased Alberto Gonzalez from the Cubs
2003 – Cubs sent Alan Benes to the Rangers as part of a conditional deal
2003 – Cubs signed free agent Derrin Ebert
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Tim Worrell
1993 – Mark Grace hit for the cycle in a 5-4 loss to the Padres. Grace is the 14th and last player in Cubs history to hit for the cycle.
1986 – Daniel Schlereth, born
1969 – Desi Wilson, born
1967 – Ron Santo had five hits in five at bats in a 10-2 win over the Giants at Wrigley Field.
1963 – Ernie Banks made 22 putouts at first base in a 3-1 victory over the Pirates. Dick Ellsworth limited the Pirates to two hits at Wrigley Field. Banks became the first NL first baseman to register 22 putouts in a game.
1952 – Sam Mejias, born
1925 – Cubs acquired Tommy Griffith from the Brooklyn Robins for a PTBNL. Cubs sent Bob Barrett to Brooklyn on May 22, 1925 to complete the trade.
1908 – Billy Jurges, born
1888 – Tommy Clarke, born
1868 – Josh Reilly, born
1866 – Gus Krock, born