Cubs

Cardiac Cubs come through again with another extra-innings win

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Cardiac Cubs come through again with another extra-innings win

The Cubs are starting to feel right at home playing in close games.

The Cubs pulled out another nail-biter Friday night in Cincinnati, coming from behind to take down the Reds 7-3 in 11 innings in front of 39,891 fans at Great American Ballpark.

A couple of unlikely heroes emerged in the 11th inning, as utility infielder Jonathan Herrera lined a base hit to right field to plate Anthony Rizzo before David Ross added a two-run double and Travis Wood drove in another run with a broken-bat groundout.

"That's what we need," Rizzo said. "That's what every good team has - every given day, all 25 guys can contribute."

[MORE - Bryant, Stanton and the popularity of power prospects]

The Cubs are establishing an identity as a group that keeps fighting late in games, never counting themselves out of a contest.

Friday was another example and led to good spirits in the locker room after a three-hour, 48-minute game.

"I've always really thought highly of a team that can win in extra innings on the road," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "That really indicates you are totally focused and into the game in its entirety.

"That's always been my measuring stick of a good team and we showed that tonight."

Hector Rondon shut down the Reds in the bottom of the 11th to cap off an impressive performance for the Cubs relievers - hurling five scoreless innings with six strikeouts, pitching around six baserunners (three hits, three walks).

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Jon Lester didn't factor in the decision, but he did pick up his first quality start as a Cub, albeit with the absolute minimum requirements. The lefty ace gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in six innings while striking out 10. But he couldn't keep Reds speedster Billy Hamilton off base, who singled and scored a run in the first and third innings, stealing three bases in the process.

"A good team win tonight, battling back," Lester said. "Seems like you continually give these guys chances to score runs and they're going to do it. That's a positive sign for us as pitchers that we can make mistakes, but at the same time, these guys will come back and pick us up like they did tonight."

Rizzo keyed the offensive charge early for the Cubs with a two-run homer in the fourth inning and added a double, a walk and a stolen base before singling with one out in the 11th. Chris Coghlan also hit a home run, a solo shot to the opposite field in the seventh to tie the game at 3.

Kris Bryant went 2-for-4 with a walk, a run and a stolen base as the back end of a double-steal with Rizzo in the ninth.

The Cubs are now 3-0 in extra innings games in 2015.

Who Knew? Baseball oddities from Daniel Palka, Anthony Rizzo and more in Chicago baseball

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USA TODAY

Who Knew? Baseball oddities from Daniel Palka, Anthony Rizzo and more in Chicago baseball

After a two-week hiatus, “Who Knew?” is Back!  Time for our (usually) weekly journey through the improbable, inane & obscure of Chicago Baseball.

All notes are through Sunday’s games.

Extra Innings… Extra Runs

Last Monday the Cubs beat the Brewers 7-2… in 11 innings.

They have three wins this season in extra innings.  By 4, 5 and 6 runs!  Their four extra-inning losses this season are by 1, 1, 1 and 2 runs.

No other team has won an extra-inning game by at least 5 runs this season.  The Cubs have done it twice.

Inning Checklist

Anthony Rizzo homered in the 11th inning in that Monday Cubs win.  He has now homered in every inning from 1 to 13 in his career, joining Ron Santo & Sammy Sosa as the only players in Cubs history who can make that distinction.

One-Two Punch

Tuesday night, Yoán Moncada & Yolmer Sánchez led off the game with back-to-back home runs.

It was the fourth time in franchise history the Sox led a game off with consecutive homers.

Sánchez hit the second home run each of the last two times they did it (also September 2, 2017 after Alen Hanson)

It was the FIRST time in Major League history two players whose first name begins with the letter Y had hit consecutive home runs to begin a game.

What’s the Catch?

439 players have had at least 30 at-bats this season.

The best batting average of those players belongs to Kevan Smith (.441 but in only 34 at-bats)

In the Park

The most batters faced without allowing a home run this season is 149, by Dylan Covey. He allowed 20 Home Runs in 70.0 Innings in 2017.

Through the Draft

Friday night:

Javier Báez Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2011 (9th overall)  reached base 3 times (including two walks!)
Albert Almora Jr. Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2012 (6th overall)  reached base 3 times
Kris Bryant Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2013 (2nd overall) homered
Kyle Schwarber Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2014 (4th overall)    homered
Ian Happ Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2015 (9th overall)   homered

Double Time

José Abreu has 21 doubles since May 8th.

You could chop off Abreu’s first 31 games this season and those 21 doubles alone would be enough to tie Ozzie Albies & Nick Markakis for the FULL season National League lead this season

Palka Party

Daniel Palka’s 7 batted balls of at least 115 mph is the 4th highest total in MLB (according to the available data at baseballsavant.com).

But look at how many more plate appearances this season the other guys have had!

  Batted balls of 115+mph  PA
Giancarlo Stanton    10 294
Joey Gallo   9 286
Aaron Judge     8 300
Daniel Palka     7 154

                                                

By the way, the rest of the White Sox team has a combined 3 batted balls of 115+ MPH this season.  Palka is clearly a special talent.

Cubs still owning second place in the NL All-Star vote standings

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USA TODAY

Cubs still owning second place in the NL All-Star vote standings

One Cubs player is within shouting distance of starting at the 2018 MLB All-Star game. But this time around, as compared to last week, the vote deficit is a bit larger.

MLB updated its second round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Catcher Willson Contreras trails Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. The margin was only 22,000 votes at this time last week.

And for other Cubs players such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and others, the margin is a little more substantial.

Rizzo is behind Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman by nearly 870,000 votes. Baez trails Braves second basemen Ozzie Albies by 148,000 votes.

Bryant trails Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado by 447,000 votes. At shortstop, Addison Russell is in third place, trailing the Dansby Swanson of the Braves and Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

In the outfield, Jason Heyward moved up to the seventh spot with 447,359 votes, dropping Kyle Schwarber to eighth with 442,471 votes, and Ben Zobrist ranks ninth with 434,943 votes.

There will be another All-Star ballot update for the NL next Monday, and voting ends on July 5 at 11 p.m. Central.