Jon Lester shut out the Astros for seven innings. Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman made Kris Bryant’s two-run homer hold up and the Cubs snapped their two-game skid with a 2-0 win in Houston. The Cubs became the first team in the majors to win 90 games on the season.
The Cubs maintained their 16-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central. And Joe Maddon’s team leads the Nationals by eight games in the loss column for the best record in the National League.
The Cubs have won at least 90 games in consecutive seasons for the first time in 86 years. The Cubs posted three straight 90-win seasons from 1928-30. The ’28 Cubs were 91-63, the ’29 Cubs won the National League with a 98-54 record and the ’30 Cubs finished second in the NL with a 90-64 mark.
With 22 games remaining on the schedule, the Cubs are 10 victories away from being the first team since 1935 to win 100 games. The ’35 Cubs won the National League that season with a 100-54 record.
The Cubs are 187-115 under Joe Maddon the past two seasons.
Javier Baez – Jason Heyward
The defense has been fun to watch on a daily basis and is one of the big reasons the Cubs are closing in on a division title and a second straight trip to baseball’s postseason tournament.
The Cubs lead baseball with 91 defensive runs saved this season. The Astros (78), Giants (65), Blue Jays (57), Dodgers (45) and Red Sox (40) round out the top five according to Mark Simon.
The Cubs defense played another big role in a win on Friday night. Javier Baez, Addison Russell, Jason Heyward and David Ross all made plays while Jon Lester was on the mound that helped keep the Astros from scoring.
Here are two more gems turned in by Javier Baez and Jason Heyward.
Kris Bryant – Anthony Rizzo
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo continue to put up numbers that have rarely been reached in franchise history. Bryant pulled ahead of Rizzo in the NL MVP race with his incredible August. And Bryant is three home runs away from hitting 40 this season.
With 22 games left in the regular season, the duo better known as Bryzzo have a chance to pass all-time Cubs greats and etch their names in the record books.
Mark Gonzales noted Friday that Anthony Rizzo is one home run and three RBI away from becoming the second left-handed hitter in franchise history with multiple 30-home run, 100 RBI seasons. Billy Williams is the only other lefty in Cubs’ history to reach those totals in multiple seasons. Williams did it three times … 1965 (34 home runs, 108 RBI), 1970 (42 home runs, 129 RBI), 1972 (37 home runs, 122 RBI).
Kris Bryant has 159 hits, 69 walks, 32 doubles, one triple and 37 home runs in 136 games. Anthony Rizzo has 150 hits, 67 walks, 38 doubles, four triples and 29 home runs in 136 games. Quite the 1-2 punch as Buster Olney pointed out.
Cubs-Cardinals Series at Wrigley
The Cubs announced Friday the Sunday, Sept. 25 game versus the Cardinals at Wrigley Field has been selected by ESPN and is now scheduled to begin at 7:08pm CDT.
The Cubs wrap up the final homestand of the season, 10 games against the Brewers (Sept. 15-18), Reds (Sept. 19-21) and Cardinals (Sept. 23-25) with a three-game series against St. Louis. The Cubs now have two afternoon games against the Cardinals on Friday and Saturday. The Cubs final home game of the regular season will also be ESPN’s last Sunday night broadcast of the season.
- Friday, Sept. 23 – 1:20pm CDT
- Saturday, Sept. 24 – 12:05pm CDT
- Sunday, Sept. 25 – 7:08pm CDT
The Cubs are on the road for the final seven games of the regular season. The Cubs play four against the Pirates at PNC Park (Sept. 26-29) and three versus the Reds at Great American Ball Park (Sept. 30-Oct. 2).
News and Notes
• The Sun-Times explained why the Astros passed on Kris Bryant in 2013 draft and why Jeff Luhnow doesn’t dwell on the decision. And Comcast SportsNet explained how the Cubs almost landed Carlos Correa as their franchise shortstop.
• Kris Bryant is all about adjustments and his in-game adjustments are something to see as he showed once again Friday night. Bryant struck out in his first plate appearance, walked in his second and hit a two-run homer in his third. Buster Olney reported Bryant has a .898 OPS in his first plate appearance against a starting pitcher this season, 1.023 in his second, 1.105 in the third and if he faces the starting pitcher for a fourth time, his OPS is 1.400.
• According to the Sun-Times, Houston becomes focused Cubs’ latest home away from home.
• Joe Maddon isn’t a fan of the designated hitter according to the Tribune.
• David Ross is on board with the Cubs carrying three catchers on the postseason roster.
• Addison Russell has the most hits (8) with the bases loaded this season … one more than Starlin Castro (7), Edwin Encarnacion (7) and Gregory Polanco (7) according to Christopher Kamka.
• Dexter Fowler led off Friday’s game with triple to center field at Minute Maid. According to Daren Willman, Fowler’s triple was projected at 430 feet … 4,231 home runs were hit at a shorter distance this season.
• And speaking of Dexter Fowler, Christopher Kamka noted that in 100 plate appearances leading off a game this season he is hitting .395/.480/.744 with eight doubles, two triples, six home runs, 12 walks and two HBP.
• Joe Sheehan noted that as the Yankees make a late-season push for the Wild Card and in the AL East, since the trade deadline in which Brian Cashman traded Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, they are 7-0 in one-run games and 3-0 in extra-inning games.
• Adam Warren is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 3.69 FIP in 20 games out of the Yankees’ pen since he was traded back to the Bronx in the Aroldis Chapman deal.
And last, but not least, click here for photos from the Wrigley Blog of the sod project at the old ballyard.
This Day in Cubstory
2001 – Cubs released Trent Hubbard
1999 – Cubs signed free agent Shane Andrews
1999 – Cubs released Doug Creek
1997 – Cubs selected Ramon Morel off waivers from the Pirates
1989 – Rookie Steve Wilson struck out 10 batters in five innings and the Cubs pen struck out eight more in a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals. Dwight Smith hit a two-run homer and The Boys of Zimmer took a 2 ½ game lead over St. Louis in the NL East.
1981 – Kameron Loe, born
1980 – Bill Gullickson struck out 18 Cubs in a 4-2 loss in Montreal. Gullickson set the rookie mark for the most strikeouts in a single game … a record Kerry Wood would top 18 years later.
1977 – Chad Hermansen, born
1969 – Cubs dropped out of first place for the first time in 155 days with a 6-2 loss to the Phillies.
1968 – Billy Williams hit three home runs in a 3-1 victory over the Mets. Williams hit two longball the previous day. Williams’ five home runs in a two-day stretch tied him with Cap Anson for the franchise record.
1961 – Ken Hubbs made his Major League debut at the age of 19 and went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI in a 14-6 loss to the Phillies at Wrigley Field.
1941 – Johnny Schmitz made his Major League debut and posted a win after throwing one pitch in the ninth inning. Cubs topped Brooklyn 5-4.
1935 – Cubs beat the Braves 4-0 behind Charlie Root.
1918 – Players on both the Cubs and Red Sox threatened to strike and not continue the World Series unless $2,500 each is guaranteed to the winners and $1,000 each for the losers of the Series. The players backed off when they were told they would appear greedy with the Country at War. There were no fines, but no rings or mementos would be given out for the Series. On the field, Hippo Vaughn started on two days rest and tossed a five-hit shutout in a 3-0 Cubs victory over the Red Sox.