Cubs

Cubs catcher David Ross has 'Babe Ruth' moment against Phillies

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Cubs catcher David Ross has 'Babe Ruth' moment against Phillies

In the midst of a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon, Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted to do something to lighten the mood in the clubhouse.

Trailing 11-4 late in the game, Maddon called on catcher David Ross to pitch the ninth inning.

And Ross, who pitched a perfect eighth inning against the New York Mets on May 9, didn't disappoint the fans still left in attendance at Wrigley Field.

[MORE CUBS: Cubs swept by Phillies after Sunday's 11-5 thumping]

Topping out at around 70 mph, Ross finished with the best results of any Cubs pitcher that took the mound on Sunday. He retired the Phillies in order for a perfect 1-2-3 inning, getting Cameron Rupp on a flyout to center and both Darin Ruf and Cesar Hernandez on groundouts to shortstop Addison Russell. Ross only needed eight pitches to accomplish the feat.

"My goal is to throw it right down the middle," Ross said. "I know how hard hitting is, obviously, judging by my batting average. I just try to throw it and hope they hit it at somebody.

"It was nice to get in here and you know, the fans chanting my name. That was kind of a cool moment in my career. I had never had that happen before here in the ninth. It was fun, lighthearted and doesn't mean a whole lot to me other than that it was a lot of fun. It helped our bullpen save an inning down there. It put a smile on a couple guys faces, as well as mine."

[SHOP CUBS: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

After his perfect frame, Maddon sent Ross out to be the first batter of the bottom of the ninth inning. Ross delivered with his first homer as a member of the Cubs on a two-strike slider by Phillies reliever Hector Neris. Ross became the first Cubs reliever to homer since Carlos Marmol did it on Sept. 7, 2006, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"It has to be the first time since Babe Ruth that has happened," Maddon said. "Doesn't it? He comes out and pitches. Positional player pitches an inning and then goes and hits a home run. It was great for the fans. The fans really engaged in that."

Anything else Ross would like to do as a member of the Cubs?

"Win a World Series, that's what I'd like to do on this team."

Cubs Talk Podcast: Schwarber, Baez on night to remember at the Home Run Derby

Cubs Talk Podcast: Schwarber, Baez on night to remember at the Home Run Derby

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Kelly Crull spoke with Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber after an electric and entertaining Home Run Derby in Washington D.C.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here:

Who Knew? Cubs at the All-Star Break

Who Knew? Cubs at the All-Star Break

With a break in the action, let’s take a look at the season so far.

Today, I’ll focus on the first 57.4% of the Cubs’ 2018 season. Which is to say, the 93 games before the All-Star Break. Clearly more than “half.”

In all seasons with an All-Star Game (1933-present, minus 1945)

This is the fifth time the Cubs have had the National League’s best record at the All-Star Break.

Here is the entire list (note – 2016 is NOT on this list. They trailed the Giants by 3 games at the Break in 2016):

1937 44-25 +2.0
1969 61-37 +5.0
2001 51-35 +0.5
2008 57-38 +4.5
2018 55-38 +2.5

Which is incredible since:

• Anthony Rizzo has a wRC+ of 100, which is league average

(he was at 131 – 31% better than league average - through the All-Star break last season)

• Kris Bryant has missed 23 games and has only 10 home runs

• The Cubs as a team have 30 fewer Home Runs through 93 games than they did last season

(100 this season, 130 last season)

• The Cubs have had six pitchers make 8 or more starts this season and only one (Jon Lester – 2.58) has an ERA under 3.90

• Cubs pitching has an MLBhigh walk percentage of 11.0%

(Tyler Chatwood’s 9 starts with 5 or more walks is most in a season by a Cubs pitcher since Dick Drott’s 13 in 1957)

• Cubs have outscored their opponents by only one run in the first inning (5251)

This includes being outscored 18-13 in the first inning in Kyle Hendricks’ 19 starts

• Cubs are 57 against the Reds

(they were 27-11 against Cincinnati in 2016-17)

That being said, it's not so incredible since...

• The Cubs have scored at least 10 runs 15 times this season. No other team has done it more than 12 times.

• Jason Heyward has a wRC+ of 109 (he’s 9% better than league average)

This is notable because in 2016 he was at 71 (29% worse than league average) and 88 in 2017 (12% worse than league average).

• The Cubs have EIGHT qualified players with at least a .340 OnBase pct. (and Ian Happ, who is eight PA short of qualifying, is at .379)

The only qualified Cub with a SUB-.340 OBP is Javier Báez (.326 – a career-high). However…

• Javier Báez has 50 extrabase hits in 91 games. Last season he had 49 extra-base hits in 145 games.

Báez is the first player in Cubs history with 15 Doubles, 5 Triples, 15 HR and 15 Stolen Bases before the All-Star Break**.

Báez is the first player in MLB history with 18 Doubles, 6 Triples, 18 HR and 18 Stolen Bases before the All-Star Break**.

**seasons with an All-Star Game – 1933-present (minus 1945)