Cubs

Lesser-celebrated feats by the much-celebrated 2016 Cubs

Lesser-celebrated feats by the much-celebrated 2016 Cubs

The Cubs' championship season was full of fun facts and historic statistical notes. 

But today, let's go back and recap some of the things you may not have known or perhaps forgot about, with assistance from the incomparable Baseball-Reference.com Play Index (subscribe now!). I selected twelve players and found one fact for each. 

So without further ado…

Miguel Montero

  • The only Cubs player with a regular season (9/6/2015) AND postseason (10/15/2016) grand slam at Wrigley Field (Will Clark has one of each as an opponent).

Anthony Rizzo

  • On Aug. 1, Rizzo had a single, double, triple, walk and a HBP. He’s the only Cubs player (1913-present) to do that in a game.

Addison Russell

  • Russell led the Majors with 9 bases loaded hits in 2016; the most by a Cubs player in a season since Derrek Lee (9) in 2009.

Dexter Fowler

  • On May 31, the Cubs were shut out 5-0 by Dodgers; held to one hit and one walk. The hit and walk were both by Dexter Fowler. The last time the Cubs were held to a lone hit and walk – both by the same player – was July 6, 1940 (Stan Hack).

Javier Baez

  • On June 28, Baez hit the latest grand slam (inning-wise) in Cubs history – in the 15th inning at Cincinnati. The previous “record” was held by Cliff Johnson (14th inning in 1980).

Willson Contreras

  • Both his first AND second career home runs were in games he didn’t start. The last Cubs player to make that claim was Bobby Scales in 2009.

Jason Heyward

  • On Sept. 4, Heyward collected 3 RBI singles accounting for all three Cubs runs in a 3-2 walk-off win vs Giants. The last Cub to do exactly that (3 RBI singles accounting for all 3 runs in a Cubs win) was Randy Hundley (also including a walk-off) July 26, 1969.

Kyle Schwarber

  • Schwarber is the first player ever to have no hits during the regular season but at least three during that season’s World Series (he had 7 hits).

Jake Arrieta

  • Over the 2015-16 seasons, Arrieta has posted a .201 BA and .562 OPS at the plate. He has held opponents to a .189 BA and .543 OPS over that span.

Kris Bryant

  • In 2016, Bryant had three games with at least 4 Runs, 4 Hits and 5 RBI. There were three such games in Cubs history from 1960-2015. Hack Wilson was the last Cub with three such games in a season (1930).

David Ross

  • Ross hit a home run in the World Series in the final game of his career. (Assuming Javier Baez, Dexter Fowler & Rajai Davis all play again) Ross finishes his career as the third player to do this, joining Bobby Kielty (2007) and Shawon Dunston (2002).

Ben Zobrist

  • On May 6, Zobrist hit 2 home runs off Max Scherzer, who went on to win the 2016 NL Cy Young Award. The last Cubs player to hit 2 HR in a game off that season’s eventual  Cy Young winner was Ernie Banks in 1963 (off Sandy Koufax).

Yu Darvish emotional after Cubs lose another tough one: 'I'm so frustrated'

Yu Darvish emotional after Cubs lose another tough one: 'I'm so frustrated'

With their postseason hopes fading by the day and the Cubs needing him most, Yu Darvish delivered on Sunday.

And yet, the game ended in a far-too familiar way for the Cubs: with a 3-2 loss, the Cubs’ fifth-straight one-run defeat — and third since Thursday when they were tied or leading in the ninth inning or later.

“If you just play back the tape, it’s almost unbelievable that it turned out this way,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Also, the games against Cincinnati. For the last six, this is really wash and repeat. Of course it’s frustrating."

Darvish was extremely emotional postgame, as evidenced by a mud stain spread across his locker resulting from an anger-laced throw of his cleat. He pitched well — 8 1/3 innings, three earned runs, 12 strikeouts and no walks — only running into trouble in the ninth.

“I’m so frustrated, you can see it, right?” he said, looking back at his locker. “We have to win, especially today, but we lost.”

The 33-year-old right-hander was rolling heading into the ninth, which started off with pinch-hit triple by Jose Martinez that hit off Albert Almora Jr.’s glove, despite a valiant diving effort.

“It sucks that we couldn’t win that game,” Almora said. “I really wanted to make that play there. Can’t catch them all, but I tried.”

For what it’s worth, Craig Kimbrel didn’t pitch Sunday because he was unavailable, though Maddon said he would’ve stuck with Darvish even if his closer was available.

"I was happy at that point, but right now everything just….There’s no words right now," Darvish said.

That’s neither here nor there, though. What matters is that the Cubs lost another game that they seemed to have in their grasp, only to see it slip away late. They're now eliminated from NL Central contention, and their elimination number in the Wild Card race is three.

Even Maddon struggled to explain the series, one where the Cubs played quite well but only saw their playoff hopes take a big hit.

“It’s really difficult,” he said. “You look at it, how did that all happen? How did we lose all those four games? They were just one runner better than us every night and they were really evenly matched. That’s all I will concede.”

Although Darvish admitted he feels responsible for Sunday’s loss, Maddon spoke highly of the right-hander, even comparing how he's pitched to what Jake Arrieta did during his tenure with the Cubs. 

“I saw Jake pitch really well and win a Cy Young, but this is equivalent of all of that,” he said. “The stuff, command of his stuff. [Darvish] absolutely deserved a better fate.”

Whether you think that Maddon was being too hyperbolic there or not, there’s no doubting that Darvish looked excellent for majority of his outing on Sunday. Baseball is a game of inches, something the Cubs experienced firsthand this weekend.

“They got us. They got us,” Maddon said. “Give them credit for that, but we did not leave anything on the field, man.”

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Swept by the Cardinals (and playoff dreams dashed)

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USA Today

Cubs Talk Podcast: Swept by the Cardinals (and playoff dreams dashed)

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Tony Andracki and Kelly Crull discuss the Cardinals sweep, Yu Darvish taking the loss so hard, and what to look for over the final six games of the year.

01:00 - Reaction to being swept by the Cards

03:30 - Darvish taking the loss really hard

05:30 - This is the Yu Darvish Cubs fans thought they were getting when he signed with the Cubs

07:00 - Almora's miscue in the 9th inning of the loss

08:00 - It feels like the end of an era

12:00 - Is this the end of an era for the Cubs?

16:00 - Surprised Rizzo was available on the field for the entire Cardinals series?

20:00 - There is no one thing you can look to that didn't work this season

22:00 - What do you want to see over the final six games?

25:00 - Seeing a cornerstone being helped off the field for a second Sunday in a row

29:00 - How much will we see the injured guys on the field?

Listen here or in the embedded player below. 

Cubs Talk Podcast

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