The Cubs held off the Pirates on Tuesday and won 6-4 at PNC Park. The Cubs have won 101 games for the first time since 1910 and will go for the series win behind Jake Arrieta on Wednesday night.
All three of the NL Wild Card contenders won Tuesday and the Mets still hold the top spot in the race for the Wild Card Game. The Mets (84-74) are a half game in front of the Giants (83-74) and the Cardinals (82-75) are on the outside looking in.
Chris Coghlan had another good night at the plate Tuesday as he looks to play his way onto the Cubs’ postseason roster. Coghlan started the game in right field and moved to first base when Maddon gave Anthony Rizzo the rest of the night off.
Coghlan delivered the big hit, a bases clearing triple in the second inning. Coghlan just missed a Grand Slam. Coghlan has put together back-to-back multi-hit games and he’s reached base six times in his last 10 plate appearances.
Coghlan is batting .333/.440/.524 with three doubles, a triple and a home run with a .964 OPS. In his last 17 games, Coghlan has more walks (8) than strikeouts (6) and has driven in 11 runs.
Since the break, Coghlan is hitting .317/.432/.483 with five doubles, a triple and a home run for a .916 OPS. In 25 games (60 at bats), Coghlan has walked 12 times with 10 strikeouts.
And for as bad as he struggled with the A’s, Chris Coghlan has been the exact opposite with the Cubs. In 44 games since the Cubs reacquired him from Oakland, Coghlan is batting .271/.403/.417 with seven doubles, two triples and a home run for a .820 OPS.
It was obvious watching Jorge Soler play against the Cardinals that something was still not right with the slugger. Soler played in two games, one as a pinch-hitter, and just appeared off. Soler missed time with tightness in his right side but returned to the starting lineup for Saturday’s game.
As it turns out, Soler is still hurt.
Soler had an MRI on his right side that, according to ESPN Chicago, came back clean. Soler is listed as day-to-day.
Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs are in a holding pattern with Soler. The Cubs, as would be expected, are downplaying his latest injury
Jorge Soler’s absence “has given more playing time to reserve outfielders” according to the Tribune. And Joe Maddon is “toying with the idea of having Matt Szczur or Tommy La Stella pinch-hit for Jason Heyward to simulate a late-inning situation.”
Cubs Practice Plans
Joe Maddon talked about the Cubs plans for next week during his weekly spot Tuesday on the Spiegel and Goff Show (670 The Score).
Maddon said the Cubs will take Monday off. The team has not scheduled any activities for the first day after the regular season concludes Sunday.
The Cubs will likely have a simulated game Tuesday at Wrigley as the team waits to find out which team they will host in the NLDS on Friday.
Wednesday and Thursday will likely just be practice with workouts at Wrigley on both days. The Cubs have not discussed having more than one simulated game.
Dodgers NLDS Rotation
Dave Roberts announced the Dodgers rotation for the NLDS. The Dodgers will take on the Nationals in the division series. Roberts said they have not given up on having home field advantage. The Dodgers are (90-67) two games behind the Nationals (92-65) for the second best record in the National League.
Roberts decided Clayton Kershaw will get the ball in Game 1. LHP Rich Hill and RHP Kenta Maeda will follow Kershaw and start games two and three.
According to Scott Miller, LHP Julio Urias will be an option for game four of the NLDS.
News and Notes
• Cubs keep cruising versus Pirates according to Comcast SportsNet.
• ESPN Chicago reported the Cubs’ playoff roster starts to take shape.
• Comcast SportsNet explained what the Cubs need to see during finals week before playoff test.
• Kris Bryant believes 2016 Cubs would ‘crush’ last year’s 97-victory version according to a report from the Tribune.
• Comcast SportsNet explained why Kris Bryant is such a money player for this Cubs team.
• Kris Bryant kept his word to Chris Coghlan. Bryant told the Tribune on Tuesday that Coghlan will receive all of his meal money on this trip ($703.50) to pay off the promise he made Monday.
• Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks have a chance at becoming only the second pair of teammates in the history of the game to make 10-plus starts and post a sub-1.50 ERA after the All-Star break. If Lester (1.34) and Hendricks (1.36) are able to keep up what they’ve done since the break in their last starts of the regular season in Cincinnati, they would join Bob Gibson (1.19) and Ray Washburn (1.34) of the ’68 Cardinals.
• Jason Heyward thinks Cubs can reach bigger goals than 100 victories according to the Tribune. Heyward has played on back-to-back 100-win teams “and understands the significance of that milestone as it relates to bigger goals.”
• Jay Jaffe took a look at which of the three teams (Mets, Cardinals, Giants) should the Cubs want to face in the NLDS.
• Nationals’ RHP Stephen Strasburg is unlikely to pitch in the NLDS. Catcher Wilson Ramos will miss the rest of the season and the postseason with a torn ACL.
• One of the Cubs targets last off-season, RHP Tyson Ross is considering surgery on his right shoulder according to Dennis Lin.
• Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius are the first pair of middle infielders in Yankee history to hit 20 home runs in the same season according to Katie Sharp.
• 107 players have hit at least 20 home runs this season, an MLB record.
• NESN reported David Ross admitted he’s been dreaming about a Cubs-Red Sox World Series.
• David Ross talked about his impending retirement and admitted it’s time to go home according to a report from the Tribune.
• Willson Contreras keeps his parents on his mind while playing for the Cubs according to the Tribune … this is a must-read.
• Albert Almora Jr. waits patiently for answers about future with Cubs according to the Sun-Times. According to Christopher Kamka, Almora Jr. became the first Cubs player Tuesday night to hit a double and a triple after coming off the bench since Mickey Morandini more than 17 years ago (April 7, 1999).
• Watching video of one of the best hitters in the game helped save Miguel Montero’s season according to a report from the Tribune.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – Chris Denorfia hit the first-ever pinch-hit, walk-off homer in extra innings to lift the Cubs to a 1-0 win in 11 innings over the Royals at Wrigley Field.
2012 – Darwin Barney’s errorless streak ended. Barney made a wild throw to first base after fielding a groundball off the bat of Justin Upton in the eighth inning. Barney was charged with an error and snapped his 141-game errorless streak.
2007 – The Cubs clinched the National League Central Division with a 6-0 shutout over the Reds. The Cubs waited in the visitor’s clubhouse at Great American Ball Park on the outcome of the Brewers game. Lou Piniella led his third different team to the post-season.
2007 – Alfonso Soriano led off the division winning game with a home run off Bronson Arroyo, his 32nd longball of the season. Soriano set a Major League record by hitting hit sixth home run to start a game during the month and tied Ernie Banks’ franchise record with his 13th home run during the month of September.
2003 – The Cubs retired Ron Santo’s #10. Santo proclaimed that having his number retired by the Cubs meant more to him than the Hall of Fame. Santo’s #10 joined Ernie Banks’ #14 on the left field foul pole and became on the third number retired by the Cubs at the time (Banks 14, Williams 26).
2001 – In the first game back at Wrigley Field after the attacks on 9/11, Sammy Sosa hit his 59th home run of the season and pulled a small American flag out and waived it as he circled the bases.
1998 – Game 163 … The Cubs beat the Giants 5-3 at Wrigley Field and won the National League Wild Card.
1997 – Ryne Sandberg played his last game. Sandberg went 0-for-2 in a 2-1 loss to the Cardinals. Sandberg played 2151 games with the Cubs over 15 seasons and a total of 2164 games during his Hall of Fame career.
1987 – Nick Greenwood, born
1978 – Joey Nation, born
1962 – In front of only 595 fans at Wrigley Field, the Cubs (58-101) beat the Mets (39-118) in the first game between two teams that both lost 100 games in the same season in Major League history. The Mets ended up with a 40-120 record in its first season, and established the record for the most losses in the modern era.
1959 – Charlie Grimm began his third stint as manager of the Cubs. Grimm replaced Bob Scheffing, who skippered the Cubs to a 74-80 record, the most wins for the Cubs since 1952 (77-77).
1953 – Cubs released Phil Cavarretta
1953 – Cubs released Dutch Leonard
1953 – Cubs signed free agent Gene Mauch
1952 – On the last day of the season Stan Musial pitched for the one and only time in his Hall of Fame Career. Musial faced Frankie Baumholtz with two outs in the bottom of the first inning and Baumholtz reached on an error. Paul Minner and the Cubs beat the Cardinals 3-0 at Sportsman’s Park ,but Musial won the batting championship over Baumholtz, .336 – .325. Since it was the end of the season, the two teams decided to have Musial and Baumholtz face one another.
1938 – The Homer in the Gloamin’ … Gabby Hartnett hit his famous home run in the ninth inning off Mace Brown as darkness set in at Wrigley Field. The Cubs beat the Pirates 6-5 and basically clinched the National League Pennant with their ninth win in a row.
1930 – Hack Wilson drove in his 190 and 191st runs of the year on the final day of the season. Wilson was credited for 190 RBI at the time, but years later a RBI that Wilson was not initially given credit for was discovered. In 1999, Jerome Holtzman found a run that Wilson drove in during a game in July. Wilson’s 191 RBI is the Major League record for a single season. In 1930, Hack Wilson hit .356/.454/.723 with 35 doubles, six triples, 56 home runs, 191 RBI, 105 walks and 84 strikeouts for a 1.177 OPS.
1912 – Cubs released player-manager Frank Chance. In 7 ½ seasons as the Cubs skipper, Chance led the Cubs to four pennants and two World Series Championships. Chance posted a 753-379 record, a .665 winning percentage, the highest in team history.