The Cubs wrap up the nine-game road trip today (12:45pm CDT) with the rubber game at Busch Stadium. Jon Lester makes the start as the Cubs will look to beat Carlos Martinez and the Cardinals.
When Ben Zobrist took Mike Leake deep in the second inning of Monday’s 4-1 win over the Cardinals for his 15th home run of the season, Joe Maddon’s Opening Day infield etched their names in the Cubs history book.
According to Christopher Kamka, this is the first time in franchise history the Opening Day infield all hit 15 or more home runs in a single season.
Anthony Rizzo (29), Ben Zobrist (15), Addison Russell (20) and Kris Bryant (37) have hit a combined 101 home runs on the season.
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are in the conversation for NL MVP with many pointing to Bryant as the favorite to win the award. Bryant is hitting .297/.391/.565 with 33 doubles, a triple and 37 home runs for a .956 OPS. Rizzo is batting .289/.386/.542 with 38 doubles, four triples and 29 home runs for a .928 OPS.
Addison Russell has had a very good second half (.259/.329/.402/.804). For the season, Russell is hitting .246/.329/.431 with 22 doubles, three triples and 20 home runs for a .760 OPS. And Ben Zobrist is batting .269/.381/.433 with 29 doubles, two triples and 15 home runs for a .814 OPS.
Rizzo (98), Bryant (94), Russell (91) and Zobrist (67) lead the Cubs in RBI. Bryant (113), Rizzo (86) and Zobrist (85) top the Cubs’ leader board in runs scored followed by Dexter Fowler (74) and Russell (60).
The Cubs Opening Day infield has put up the numbers this season and validated being only the second infield to start the All-Star Game for the National League.
Dexter Fowler is going again and that can only be a good thing for the Cubs. Fowler led off Tuesday’s game with a home run to center, the second day in a row Fowler went yard. Fowler has a double, a triple and two home runs in his last five games. And he’s 6-for-15 with seven walks during that span.
Fowler has a .380 OBP and a .830 OPS in his last 11 games.
Tuesday’s homer was the 21st time in his career that Fowler has led off a game with a home run, 12th time with the Cubs and seventh this season. Fowler is fourth on the Cubs’ All-Time list for leadoff home runs … Alfonso Soriano (22), Jimmy Ryan (20), Rick Monday (17) and Fowler (12).
Dexter Fowler is hitting .404./490/.775 with eight doubles, two triples, seven home runs, 13 walks and two HBP in 104 plate appearances leading off a game this season.
As Dexter Fowler goes, the Cubs go and he will be key to the team’s success in the postseason tournament.
Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award
The Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award goes to the Player whose on-field performance and contributions to his community most inspire others to higher levels of achievement.
Eloy Jimenez hit clean up and was the Pelicans’ DH in game three of the Mills Cup Championship Series on Tuesday night. Myrtle Beach blanked Lynchburg 7-0 behind Trevor Clifton and took a two games to one lead in the Best-of-5 series.
Jimenez went 0-for-3 with a walk. In two games at the High-A level, Jimenez is 1-for-6 with three walks and a RBI.
According to Scott Kornberg, Jimenez put on quite the show during batting practice.
The Pelicans’ play-by-play man noted that Jimenez hit “five balls in a row over or off the center field wall and everyone on the field stopped to watch him.” Kornberg said he has “never seen anything like that before in the minors” and explained a couple of coaches, one with Major League service time, “were giggling it was so crazy.”
News and Notes
• Comcast SportsNet reported the clinch party will move to Wrigley after Cardinals beat the Cubs. After loss the Cubs’ magic number stays at three according to Comcast SportsNet. Cardinals relocated Cubs’ division-clinching party to Wrigley according to the Sun-Times.
• Joe Maddon and the Cubs are weighing whether to carry three catchers on the postseason roster. Maddon reiterated Tuesday during his weekly radio spot on the Spiegel and Goff Show (670 The Score) that Javier Baez would be the emergency catcher if the Cubs were to carry two catchers.
• David Ross is the Cubs’ true MVP according to Kris Bryant.
• Kyle Hendricks pointed out how big a role Miguel Montero played in his gem Monday night in St. Louis. Hendricks said, “It’s tough to find guys like Miggy. He controls the tempo, really. There aren’t many catchers who control the tempo of the game. He keeps me in sync, he keeps me on time. He knows when to give me a breather. He has a really good feel. “We go into the game with a good game plan, and I think his in-game adjustments are where he picks it up the most. He’s been around, and he can feel when a guy is trying to do certain things to you. That’s where we were on the same page yesterday. I didn’t have to shake him off much. He was calling my secondary pitches a lot. When you’re on the same page like that, rolling, it keeps it easy.”
• Jesse Rogers caught up with Jon Lester before his last start in Houston and asked the lefty several questions. Lester admitted that David Ross knows how to push his buttons.
• The Sun-Times asked could Willson Contreras be the Cubs’ Buster Posey in rare World Series role.
• Joe West’s cowboy act still bothers Joe Maddon according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Kyle Hendricks said to the Sun-Times ‘I have to trust myself’ in a playoff situation.
• Comcast SportsNet explained why Ben Zobrist sees Kyle Hendricks near the front of a Cubs playoff rotation.
• Jay Jaffe: Amid breakout season, can Cubs’ Kyle Hendricks take home NL Cy Young?
• According to Jon Paul Morosi, if Kyle Hendricks wins the Cy Young “he will be the first pitcher without 200 strikeouts to do so in either league since Cliff Lee in 2008.” Morosi pointed out BBWAA voters “are more apt to go for Cy Young candidates with high strikeout totals.”
• ESPN Chicago asked what can Cubs-Cardinals series tell us about October.
• The Pirates shut Gerrit Cole down for the season Tuesday when he was placed on the 60-day DL with right elbow posterior inflammation. The Pirates acquired LHP Wade LeBlanc from the Mariners for a PTBNL or cash.
• Tony Andracki explained how ‘Try Not to Suck’ became the rallying cry for Joe Maddon and the 2016 Cubs.
• Tom Verducci: How Cubs star Kris Bryant got even better and became the NL MVP favorite
And last, but certainly not least, Vin Scully announced Tuesday that he will not be calling any of the Dodgers’ postseason games. “I’m going to say good-bye at Dodger Stadium the last game with Colorado. I will say good-bye in San Francisco. And then that will be it.”
This Day in Cubstory
2008 – Carlos Zambrano pitched a no-hitter against the Houston Astros at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Zambrano became the first Cubs pitcher to toss a no-hitter since Milt Pappas in 1972. The Cubs were playing the Astros, the home team, in Milwaukee as a result of Hurricane Ike. It was the first no-hitter pitched at a neutral site in big league history.
2006 – The Marlins sent James Adduci to the Cubs as part of a conditional deal
1965 – Bob Hendley beat Sandy Koufax 2-1 at Wrigley Field in the first match-up after Koufax’s perfect game. Hendley allowed four hits and a Billy Williams’ homer was the difference in the game.
1957 – Ernie Banks hit three consecutive solo home runs in a Cubs 7-3 victory over the Pirates in the second game of a doubleheader at Wrigley Field.
1953 – Ernie Banks and Gene Baker joined the Cubs, but Banks would not make his big league debut for four more days. Banks and Baker watched the Cubs post their 10th straight win in a 3-1 victory over the Dodgers at Wrigley Field. Banks participated in batting practice and hit the first pitch he saw into the left field bleachers.
1935 – Cubs move into first place in the NL with an 18-14 victory over the Dodgers. The Cubs posted their 11th straight win and the Cubs used a relief pitcher for the first time in 11 games.
1913 – Larry Chesney allowed 14 hits, the most ever given up in a shutout, as the Cubs beat the Giants 7-0 at West Side Grounds.
1907 – Solly Hoffman collected five hits and the Cubs totaled 12 runs on 19 hits off the Reds Andy Coakley in a 12-5 win at West Side Grounds. The two teams combined for 29 hits, all singles.
1905 – Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers, previously on good terms, engaged in a fist fight on the field during an exhibition game at Washington, Indiana after arguing over Evers taking a taxi to the park while leaving the other players in the hotel lobby. The two did not speak for the rest of their Cubs careers, despite playing brilliantly on the field together.