Welcome to October!
The Cubs finished September with a 7-3 win over the Reds and wrapped up the last full month of the regular season with a 17-10 record. The Cubs have only one month over the past two seasons under Joe Maddon in which the team did not play at least .500 baseball.
The Cubs posted win No. 102 on the season and with two games left on the schedule, the Cubs are 102-57. And despite the cliché that states every team in baseball wins 60 games and every team loses 60 games in a season, it’s the other 42 that is the difference, the 2016 Cubs will not lose 60 games during the 2016 season.
This is the first year since Major League Baseball switched to a 162-game schedule the Cubs have not lost at least 60 games in a single season.
With two games remaining on the schedule, the Cubs have a chance at equaling the third highest win total in franchise history. The 1909 and 1910 Cubs teams won 104 games.
Ben Zobrist could be getting locked in at the plate at just the right time for the Cubs. Zobrist went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs, three runs scored and three RBI on Friday night. It was Zobrist’s second multi-homer game of the season and seventh of his career. Friday was Zobrist’s third three-hit game in his last seven and the first time all season that Zobrist had three extra basehits in the same game.
Over his last seven games, Ben Zobrist is 11-for-22 with two doubles, two home runs, six walks and one strikeout (.500/.607/.955). Zobrist has scored seven runs and has eight RBI. Zobrist had two home runs in his previous 62 games before launching two at Great American Ball Park in almost the exact same place.
Joe Maddon said Friday that Zobrist “thrives this time of year.” Without a doubt, the Cubs could use the Zobrist that helped the Royals last season reach their goal.
A locked in Ben Zobrist throughout October will only mean good things for the entire Cubs’ lineup.
Déjà Zo. pic.twitter.com/DHYhRyb6et
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 1, 2016
Maddon has said that Soler doesn’t necessarily have to play this weekend to be included on NLDS roster. Soler has played in a grand total of two games with four at-bats since Sept. 16. Soler appeared to be very rusty last Saturday against the Cardinals.
According to the Sun-Times, Maddon indicated “the Cubs could play it cautious with Soler and leave him off the roster in the first round, the re-evaluate for a potential NLCS.”
It will be interesting to see how the Cubs handle Jorge Soler if he does not play this weekend. Soler has shown the knack of stepping up when the bright lights are on. The Cubs could wait until after the workouts and sim game next week to decide whether or not to include him on the NLDS roster.
Cubs Playoff Rotation
Joe Maddon fielded questions about his rotation for the playoffs Friday. Maddon said he’s known for about a week on how the Cubs plan to lineup the starting staff for the NLDS. The Cubs do not plan to announce the order of the starting pitchers until next week.
Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks have been lined up to start the first two games of the NLDS at Wrigley. From all indications, Jake Arrieta will start game three. John Lackey is expected to be the Cubs’ game four starter, if necessary.
“We have an idea of what we want to do,” Maddon said. “But we haven’t had that final conversation with Theo and Jed and everybody else and all of our coaches. What I like to do under these circumstances is talk to the players first before they have to read about it in the newspaper.”
When asked if the players know the order of the rotation, Maddon’s response, “They’re not stupid.”
Clear the Way! – Boys of Spring
Tim Sheridan, the long-time voice of Cubs Spring Training games in Mesa, updated his video for Clear the Way! If you haven’t seen it, this is must-see-TV for all Cubs fans. This is the best hype video that I’ve seen.
Here is a link where the song can be purchased and downloaded (CLICK HERE).
Beginning Thursday, Sept. 29 and running through Saturday, Oct. 8 all proceeds from every download will go to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation. The song download is $1.29.
This is a great song that now can be purchased for a great cause due to the outstanding work Rizzo’s Foundation has done.
News and Notes
• David Ross talked to the Sun-Times about family, memories and one last squat behind the dish.
• The Reds gave David Ross a box of soaps from the Grandpa Soap Co.
• The Sun-Times reported on the extensions Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod signed. From top to bottom, the Cubs have all the pieces in place, including new deals for Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod according to Comcast SportsNet. ESPN Chicago reported Cubs GM Jed Hoyer, scouting director Jason McLeod get five more years.
• Jason Hammel tested his elbow with a side session on Friday.
• The Rangers secured the best record in the Junior Circuit and now have home field advantage throughout the postseason. The Cubs have the best record in baseball. Due to the American League winning the All-Star Game, the Rangers will have home field advantage for as long as they keep playing.
• The Cardinals activated Matt Holliday from the 15-day DL prior to Friday’s game. The Cardinals are not picking up his option for next season. Holliday issued a statement thanking the organization for his time in St. Louis. And Holliday slugged a home run Friday night in his first plate appearance back in what could have been his last at bat with the Cardinals.
• The Reds and Bryan Price agreed to a one-year extension that included a team option.
• Ken Rosenthal’s 2016 awards: Kris Bryant – NL MVP; Kyle Hendricks – NL Cy Young; Dave Roberts – NL Manager of the Year
• Bob Nightengale’s 2016 award winners: Max Scherzer – NL Cy Young; Kris Bryant – NL MVP; Dave Roberts – NL Manager of the Year
• The playoffs are next week, but October starts now according to Buster Olney.
Greg Maddux, movement. pic.twitter.com/tyFZIuyOEJ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 30, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2013 – Cubs granted Michael Bowden free agency
2013 – Cubs granted Eduardo Sanchez free agency
2008 – Cubs dropped the first game of the NLDS to the Dodgers 7-2.
2002 – Cubs released Jesus Sanchez
1985 – Mitch Atkins, born
1972 – Milt Pappas won his 11th straight game as the Cubs beat the Cardinals 3-0 at Wrigley Field
1967 – Chuck McElroy, born
1956 – Vance Law, born
1940 – Cubs selected Bob Scheffing from the Cardinals in the Rule 5 draft
1938 – Cubs clinched the NL Pennant with a 10-3 victory over the Cardinals in the second game of a doubleheader at St. Louis. Charlie Root pitched a complete game and Billy Herman had four hits.
1932 – Babe Ruth’s Called Shot … Legend has it that Babe Ruth pointed toward the Wrigley Field bleachers and reportedly called his shot. Ruth hit a home run in the fifth inning off Charlie Root in the third game of the World Series. Ruth and Lou Gehrig both hit two home runs in a Cubs 7-5 loss to the Yankees.
1924 – In the first Chicago baseball game ever broadcast on radio with Sen Kaney at the mike for WGN, the Cubs beat the White Sox 10-7 in the City Series opener at Wrigley Field. Second baseman George Grantham drove in four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run single. Whitey Sheely belted two home runs for the White Sox. Grover Cleveland Alexander pitched a complete game for the Cubs, collected two singles and scored two runs. The Cubs lost the series to the Sox, four games to two.
1920 – Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Cardinals Jesse Haines both went the distance in a Cubs 3-2 victory at Wrigley Field that lasted 17 innings.
1908 – Ed Reulbach pitched his fourth straight shutout, 6-0 victory over the Reds, and tied a club record set by Mordecai Brown earlier in the season.
1906 – Ed Reulbach won his 12th straight game in a Cubs 4-3 victory over the Phillies in a game that was called after six innings due to darkness in Philadelphia. Cubs won the first game 4-0 behind Carl Lundgren’s two-hit shutout.