The Cubs have won 96 games in a season for the 11th time in franchise history with Tuesday’s 6-1 victory over the Reds. The Cubs are four wins away from another team goal. And Joe Maddon’s team has a chance to clinch the best record in the National League and home field advantage in the NL playoffs before posting their 100th win on the season.
The Cubs lead the Nationals by eight games with 11 left to play for the top record in the Senior Circuit.
There is now a three-way tie in the NL Wild Card race between the Mets (80-71), Giants (80-71) and Cardinals (80-71) with 11 games to play. The Mets lost 5-4 to the Braves. The Giants beat the Dodgers 2-0 and the Cardinals thumped the Rockies 10-5 at Coors Field.
The Cubs will have input on which of the three teams they would face in the NLDS. The Cubs and Cardinals have three games at Wrigley starting Friday.
Anthony Rizzo had another big night at the plate in Tuesday’s win over the Reds. Rizzo drove in half of the Cubs six runs with a pair of singles. Rizzo has now driven in 104 runs on the season, which is a new career-high for the Cubs first baseman. Rizzo had 101 RBI a year ago.
Rizzo hit his 40th double on the season Monday night and became the first left-handed hitter in Cubs history with 40 doubles and 30 home runs in a single season. Rizzo became just the fourth player in franchise history with a 40-30 season, joining Rogers Hornsby (1929), Derrek Lee (2005) and Alfonso Soriano (2007).
Anthony Rizzo is batting .293/.389/.550 with 40 doubles, four triples and 31 home runs for a .939 OPS. Rizzo has 104 RBI, 160 hits and has scored 88 runs in 145 games.
Pedro Strop threw a 20-pitch simulated game Tuesday and told the beat writers afterwards that he will be reinstated from the disabled list on Friday. Strop expects to pitch Friday against the Cardinals according to multiple reports.
Joe Maddon confirmed to ESPN Chicago that Strop would be activated from the DL on Friday.
Strop and Justin Grimm both threw simulated games Tuesday. But all eyes were on Strop as he works his way back from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from The Tribune
- Report from The Sun-Times
Jon Lester kept rolling Tuesday night against the Reds. Lester allowed one run in seven innings and recorded his 18th win of season.
Lester is 18-4 with a 2.36 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 3.40 FIP after 30 starts this season, the ninth straight year the lefty has made 30 or more starts. And Tuesday was the 19th time this season Lester has allowed one or no runs in a start.
Lester took over NL lead with 18 wins, lowered his ERA to 2.36 which is second best in baseball to his teammate Kyle Hendricks (2.06).
Over his last four starts, Lester is 4-0 with a 0.58 ERA and 0.71 WHIP (two runs, 19 hits, three walks, 24 strikeouts, 31 innings). And Lester’s performance in the second half has put him firmly in the conversation for the Cy Young Award in the National League.
Lester is 9-0 (Cubs 11-1) in his last 12 starts with a 1.46 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. Lester has allowed 13 runs on 53 hits with 20 walks and 76 strikeouts in 80 1/3 innings.
There was a scare in the sixth inning when Lester was hit by a line drive in his right wrist. Lester said he was fine after the game and joked about the comebacker from Joey Votto.
“It’s my right hand. I don’t need it. All it’s there for is to hold the glove. I’ll be fine. It’s a long way from my heart.”
David Ross also joked about Lester getting hit and said the first thing he thought about when the ball nailed him in the right wrist, “There goes my job.”
The Cubs have not announced the plans for the postseason much less the rotation. Jon Lester is lined up to pitch game one of the NLDS
News and Notes
• ESPN Chicago reported Cubs win 96th as Jon Lester continues to build Cy Young case.
• Jon Lester is considered a frontrunner for the NL Cy Young Award. But Kyle Hendricks would be Lester’s choice for the award.
• Comcast SportsNet reported with eyes on World Series prize, Jon Lester endorses Kyle Hendricks for Cy Young Award.
• The Cubs have miles to go before they rest and work to do before the playoffs according to the Sun-Times.
• Jorge Soler could be available for Wednesday’s finale with the Reds. Joe Maddon wasn’t clear on Soler’s status when Mark Grote asked about the outfielder’s progress prior to Tuesday’s game. Multiple reports stated Soler was cleared to play Tuesday but Maddon wanted to give him one more day before getting him back in a game.
• Jason Hammel’s role and lineup choices are among Joe Maddon’s upcoming decisions according to ESPN Chicago.
• According to Bruce Levine, Joe Maddon called the idea of a manager’s day off interesting. More off days for player and managers and coaches receiving off days could be a wave of the future.
• Albert Almora Jr. explained the youth movement that is driving the Cubs to Comcast SportsNet.
This Day in Cubstory
1997 – Ryne Sandberg went 2-for-3 in his final game at Wrigley Field. Sandberg was lifted in the fifth inning for a pinch-runner and made a curtain call while Harry Caray sang the 7th inning stretch. The Cubs beat Curt Schilling and the Phillies 11-3 and Kevin Tapani picked up his sixth straight win.
1997 – Harry Caray sang the 7th inning stretch for the final time at Wrigley Field.
1990 – Cubs released Mark Clear and Tom Thobe
1981 – Scott Rice, born
1975 – Doug Davis, born
1971 – Ron Santo hit the 300th home run of his career and Burt Hooton blanked the Mets and Tom Seaver 3-0 at Wrigley Field.
1970 – Cubs selected Hoyt Wilhelm off waivers from the Braves. In December of 1970, the Cubs traded Wilhelm back to the Braves.
1966 – The smallest crowd in the history of Wrigley Field was on hand to see the Cubs beat the Reds 9-3. Only 530 attended the game that lasted two hours and 24 minutes to complete and featured home runs by Billy Williams and Aldolfo Phillips.
1919 – In the final home game of the season, the Cubs beat the Braves 3-0 behind a five-hitter from Grover Cleveland Alexander. It took 58 minutes to play the game, the shortest nine-inning game in Cubs history.
1901 – Clarence Child singled home the winning run in the 17th inning as the Cubs beat Boston 1-0. “Long Tom” Hughes struck out 13 while going the distance for the Cubs. Hughes’ outing was the longest, by innings, since Clark Griffith tossed 14 on June 19, 1900. There was not an extra basehit in the game and Hughes’ complete game remains the longest shutout in Cubs’ history.