National League Central Division Champions ☑. Best record in the National League ☑. Home field advantage in the NL playoffs ☑. 100 Wins ☑. Best record in baseball ☑. Fourth most wins (103) in a single-season in franchise history ☑. And the list could go on for the 2016 Chicago Cubs.
“The boxes have been checked in the regular season,” Joe Maddon said. “We won the division, we stayed relatively healthy, we’ve played well. All this stuff we talked about in camp regarding embracing the target and dealing with the pressure, we’ve done all those things.”
As Maddon pointed out, the Cubs lived up to all the hype and were the best team in baseball throughout the regular season.
The Cubs finished the season 103-58-1. The Cubs were 53-35 in the first half and 50-23 after the break. The Cubs did not lose more than two games in a row in the second half of the baseball season.
The Cubs scored 808 runs and allowed 556, a plus-252 run differential for the season. And the pitching staff led all of baseball in ERA (3.15) ERA and WHIP (1.11).
The Cubs starting rotation had the best ERA (2.96) and WHIP (1.07) and gave up the fewest hits (759) while striking out 922 batters, second to only the Nationals (987) in baseball. The Cubs rotation held opponents to the lowest batting average (.213), OBP (.279), slugging percentage (.349) and OPS (.628) in baseball.
As for individual awards … Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks are strong candidates for the NL Cy Young Award. Joe Maddon will be a finalist for NL Manager of the Year. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are NL MVP candidates with Bryant considered the favorite to take home the award.
The Cubs are taking Monday off. Team practices at Wrigley Field begin Tuesday with a simulated game. And the Cubs will find out Wednesday if they will take on the Mets or Giants in the NLDS.
It’s almost time for the ‘Big Boy Games’ …
David Ross’ Yearlong Retirement Party came to an end Sunday with the Cubs last game of the regular season. For David Ross it’s all about the team and helping the Cubs reach the ultimate goal. The regular season was about saying good-bye to the game, now it is all about winning.
David Ross did not play in Sunday’s season finale. Ross hit .229/.338/.446 with six doubles and 10 home runs for a .784 OPS. Ross had 30 walks, scored 24 runs and had 32 RBI in 67 games. This season was his first since 2007 with the Reds in which he reached double-digits in home runs. All-in-all, offensively this was his best season in almost a decade.
Ross took out the lineup card Sunday in his final regular season game.
Wild Card Games
The Wild Card Games are set for both leagues. There will not be a Game 163 this season.
The Orioles and Blue Jays will square off in Toronto on Tuesday (7:08pm CDT) for the AL Wild Card. The winner makes the trip to Texas to take on the Rangers.
The Mets and Giants are set for Wednesday (7:08pm CDT) at Citi Field … Noah Syndergaard versus Madison Bumgarner. And the Cubs will face the winner in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday at Wrigley Field.
TBS is carrying the AL Wild Card Game. ESPN has the moving pictures for NL Wild Card Game.
News and Notes
• The Cubs led baseball with 656 walks on the season, the most in walks in a single-season in franchise history. The Cubs walked nine times Sunday to run the total to 656 for the season, surpassing the ’75 Cubs (650). Top three seasons for walks in Cubs’ history: 2016 (656), 1975 (650), 2008 (636)
• Dexter Fowler is the first player in Cubs history with back-to-back seasons of 10 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 70 walks.
• The Sun-Times – Jake Arrieta on the playoffs: ‘Now the fun starts’ When asked which team he would rather face in the NLDS, the Mets or Giants, Arrieta responded, “Who gives a [bleep]? Now the fun starts. That’s what we’ve been waiting three weeks for.”
• Jake Arrieta is pitching in Tuesday’s simulated game.
• According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs are riding the wave and ready to surge to postseason glory.
• ESPN Chicago reported Cubs’ 2016 defining moments not as obvious to Joe Maddon.
• It’s playoff time … and ESPN Chicago posted four things Cubs fans should know. Kyle Schwarber will be traveling with the Cubs throughout the playoffs.
• Home schooled, Anthony Rizzo learned to give it his all early according to the Tribune.
• Comcast SportsNet asked as Cubs advance will Kyle Hendricks’ game work in the playoffs.
• Joe Maddon stresses simple approach leading up to the playoffs according to the Tribune.
• With the White Sox set to hire former Cubs’ manager Rick Renteria, Comcast SportsNet reported on Joe Maddon’s reaction to the Robin Ventura/Rick Renteria news.
• The 2017 draft order for the first round was set Sunday … the Twins have the No. 1 pick, and the Cubs will pick last in the first round.
• D.J. LeMahieu won the NL Batting Title this season by edging out the Nationals’ Daniel Murphy. LeMahieu had a .348 batting average, Murphy finished the season .347. It is quite the accomplishment for LeMahieu that came with controversy. LeMahieu sat in four of the last five games of the season and had only two at-bats over the last five games. Because of LeMahieu playing with the Rockies and for a team not in the mix for the postseason, his lack of playing time over the final week of the regular season in order to win the batting title will likely receive very little attention.
Miguel Montero hit the Cubs’ first home run of the regular season … and he hit the last in the ninth inning Sunday in the Cubs’ 103rd win of the season.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 2, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2013 – Cubs selected Mat Gamel off waivers from the Brewers
1999 – Sammy Sosa hit home run No. 63.
1994 – Jen-Ho Tseng, born
1981 – Matt Murton, born
1979 – Cubs released Ken Holtzman
1976 – Bill Madlock went 4-for-4 on the final day of the season to win the batting title with a .339 average. The Cubs beat the Expos 8-2 at Wrigley Field.
1965 – Cubs turned their third triple play of the year and tied a Major League record … first baseman Ernie Banks to shortstop Don Kessinger in the fifth inning. Bill Faul was on the mound for all three triple plays. The Cubs lost the game 6-3 to the Pirates at Forbes Field.
1954 – Dennis Eckersley, born
1945 – Cubs beat the Tigers 9-0 in game one of the World Series behind Hank Borowy’s six-hitter.
1897 – Cap Anson ended his 27-year career by hitting two home runs in a 10-9 loss to the Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader in St. Louis. Anson, at age 46, was the oldest player to hit a home run in the majors. Anson went 0-for-3 in the second game the Cubs won 7-1.
1890 – John ‘Pat’ Luby won his 17th straight game, a franchise record, in a 3-2 victory over the Giants at West Side Park that was called after seven innings due to darkness.