Mind-blowing stats that illustrate just how dominant Cubs starting staff was in 2016

Mind-blowing stats that illustrate just how dominant Cubs starting staff was in 2016

It's mind-bottling how dominant the Cubs starting rotation was in 2016. 

When the reigning National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta goes 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA and he's considered the No. 3 option, you know it's been a special season for the starting staff.

CSN resident stat guru Chris Kamka compiled some of the most eye-popping statistics from Kyle Hendricks and Co.:

  • 2.96 ERA by starters (better than AL leader Aaron Sanchez - 3.00)
  • 2.96 Starter ERA by Cubs in 2016 is their best since 1963 (2.90)
  • 2.96 starter ERA is best in baseball since the 2011 Phillies (2.86)

Best Cubs career ERA (1920-present); minimum 50 starts

2.52      Jake Arrieta                   98  starts

2.84      Lon Warneke                 190 starts

2.89      Jon Lester                     64  starts

2.92      Kyle Hendricks              75  starts

2.96      Claude Passeau                        234 starts

2016 Cubs are one of 5 teams in MLB history with four pitchers with at least 170 K

1969 Astros      Larry Dierker (232)         Tom Griffin (200)                       Denny Lemaster (173)    Don Wilson (235)

1990 Mets         David Cone (233)          Sid Fernandez (181)       Dwight Gooden (223)     Frank Viola (182)

2015 Indians      Trevor Bauer (170)         Carlos Carrasco (216)    Corey Kluber (245)         Danny Salazar (195)

2016 Nationals  Gio Gonzalez (171)        Tanner Roark (172)        Max Scherzer (284)        Stephen Strasburg (183)

2016 Cubs        Jake Arrieta (190)          Kyle Hendricks (170)      John Lackey (180)         Jon Lester (197)

[RELATED - Cubs unveil NLDS rotation]

Jon Lester (NLDS Game 1 starter)

  • First pitcher in Cubs history with 8 straight starts allowing 1 or 0 runs (Aug 17-Sep 25)
  • First Cubs player (whose primary position is pitcher) with a walkoff plate appearance (July 31) since Les Lancaster 7/20/1989
  • First Cubs lefty to strike out 9 without a walk in consecutive starts during the modern era (since 1900)
  • First Cubs lefty with a Complete Game and NO Walks (June 1) since Steve Wilson (10 K, 0 BB) 7/15/1990 vs Dodgers
  • First Cubs pitcher to allow leadoff HR and no other runs in a Complete Game (June 1) since Larry French 7/26/1940 (14-1 win at  Giants)

Most starts in a season by a Cubs pitcher with 5+ innings and 1 or fewer runs

20         Jon Lester         2016

20         Jake Arrieta       2015

20         Hippo Vaughn   1919

19         Dick Ellsworth   1963

Best ERA by a Cubs lefty (min 150 ip) since 1920

2.11      Dick Ellsworth               1963

2.40      Ray Prim                       1945

2.44      Jon Lester                     2016

Most strikeouts in a season by a Cubs lefty

207     Jon Lester          2015

202       Ken Holtzman    1970

197       Jon Lester         2016

Kyle Hendricks (NLDS Game 2 starter)

  • First Cubs pitcher to lead NL in ERA since Ray Prim in 1945
  • First Cubs pitcher to lead MLB in ERA since Bill Lee in 1938

Best ERA at Wrigley Field in a season (Cubs history; minimum 10 starts)

1.11  Grover Cleveland Alexander           1920

1.32  Kyle Hendricks                              2016

1.38  Mike Morgan                                 1992

  • 2016 Post All-Star Break

Jon Lester         14 starts, 1.76 ERA

Kyle Hendricks  14 starts, 1.68 ERA

Only Cubs teammates with 10+ starts and sub-1.80 ERA after the All-Star break (since 1933 - first All-Star game)

  • Cubs finishing 1-2 in MLB in ERA (since 1900)

1906     Mordecai Brown            (1.04) & Jack Pfiester    (1.51)

1907     Jack Pfiester                 (1.15) & Carl Lundgren   (1.17)

1938     Bill Lee                        (2.66) & Charlie Root     (2.86)

2016     Kyle Hendricks              (2.13) & Jon Lester        (2.44)

  • Cubs teammates with 150+ K and sub 2.50 ERA

1909     Mordecai Brown            1.31 ERA, 172 K                        Orval Overall     1.42 ERA, 205 K

2016     Kyle Hendricks  2.13 ERA, 170 K                        Jon Lester         2.44 ERA, 197 K

  • Most consecutive starts allowing 3 or fewer ER (Cubs, 1913-present)

29         Jake Arrieta       6/21/2015-5/20/2016

27         Mike Morgan     4/21/1992-9/7/1992

23         Frank Castillo    7/31/1994-8/19/1995

22         Kyle Hendricks  5/22/2016-9/26/2016

22         Hippo Vaughn   5/11/1916-8/21/1916

Jake Arrieta (NLDS Game 3 starter)

  • Cubs won 23 straight Arrieta starts (last 13 of 2015, first 10 of 2016). They are 10-11 in his 21 starts since.
  • First Cubs starter to allow 5 R & 5 BB, hit HR AND get a Win since Pat Malone 6/28/1929 (July 27)
  • Last 6 starts in California (dating back to 2015): 6-0, 0.20 ERA, 45.0 IP, 15 Hits, 9 BB, 44 K, 0.533 WHIP
  • First Cubs pitcher with 2+ HR and 4+ Walks at the plate in a season since Jim Bullinger in 1996
  • First Cubs pitcher to start season 9-0 since Ken Holtzman in 1967

John Lackey (NLDS Game 4 starter)

  • Two 10-K starts in 2016.  At age 37 y, 196 d (his most recent - on May 6th), he's oldest Cubs pitcher with a 10-K game since Greg Maddux (age 39 y, 26 d) 5/10/2005
  • Oldest Cubs pitcher to reach 180 K in a season (age 37 season).  Previous oldest was Ryan Dempster (191 K in age 34 season, 2011)

[SHOP: Get your Cubs gear right here]

Oh and if the Cubs actually do make it to the promised land and face an AL team in the World Series...

Cubs pitching in interleague play in 2016

W-L      15-5

ERA     1.90

IP         180.1

Hits      111

K/BB    161/43 

WHIP    0.854 (MLB season record for interleague)

Opp BA            .176

Best interleague ERA in a season MLB History (interleague play started in 1997)

1.80      Mariners            2011

1.90      Cubs                2016

2.06      Tigers               2013

2.09      Athletics           2011

2.23      Pirates              2013

A Hobbled Hero: Baez, Cubs keep finding wild ways to win

A Hobbled Hero: Baez, Cubs keep finding wild ways to win

Javy Baez has only seen one pitch in the Cubs-Phillies series, but that's all he needs to make a major impact.

"El Mago" notched his first walk-off RBI since May 8, 2016 in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night, lacing the only pitch he saw from Juan Nicasio down the right-field line. Baez had missed the entire series to that point due to a heel injury he suffered Sunday in Washington D.C. and actually underwent an MRI before Tuesday's game to make sure there was no other damage.

Baez's single put the finishing touches on the Cubs' first win this season when trailing after eight innings. They now lead the majors with five walk-off victories.

After another blown lead by the bullpen (the third in the last week), the Cubs entered the bottom of the ninth down 2-1, but Kris Bryant led off with a walk and then Anthony Rizzo doubled. After a Willson Contreras flyout, Jason Heyward was intentionally walked and then Albert Almora Jr. hit a tapper in front of home plate that Bryant just barely beat out at home to tie the game.

Then came Baez, as Joe Maddon opted to go to the hobbled star in place of Daniel Descalso, who was 0-for-4 on the evening to that point.

Prior to the ninth inning, Maddon wasn't sure if Baez would even be available to pinch hit in the game, but trainer P.J. Mainville taped up Javy's foot/ankle at the start of the inning and gave the Cubs skipper the all-clear.

"Just give PJ some credit on the tape job," Maddon joked. "This is right out of the Lombardi era kind of stuff. Tape and aspirin — go ahead and play. That's what everybody's football coach said."

If Baez hadn't delivered the walk-off hit and the Cubs wound up in extra innings, Maddon said he didn't know if Baez would be able to even play the field on his injured heel and the only player left on the bench was backup catcher Victor Caratini.

"In moments like that, you can only think it so far," Maddon said. "And then at some point, you gotta throw it at the wall and see what happens."

Maddon doesn't know if Baez will be able to play Wednesday night, but plans to make two lineups and then check with the shortstop to see about his status when he arrives at the field.

Baez's Cubs teammates are no longer surprised at the ridiculous things he does or how easy he makes some very difficult tasks look. Bryant joked he was actually upset Baez didn't hit it over the fence for a walk-off grand slam.

"I don't even know what's going on with him half the time anyway," Bryant said. "It's like, 'oh, Javy's pinch-hitting. And then I was debating like, 'don't swing at the first pitch," but I was like, 'no, it's Javy.' 

"It was awesome. He just like goes up there and swings the bat. If he didn't have to run to first base, he wouldn't. It's just like, 'I'm so good, I'm just gonna get this hit and then we're gonna go home.'"

However awe-inspiring Baez's Kirk Gibson impression was, the only reason the Cubs were even in the spot to win the game at that moment was because of the hustle and aggressive baserunning from Bryant. 

His game-tying run on Almora's tapper in front of the plate was huge, but his first trip around the bases was even more impressive. 

With Bryant on second base and Rizzo on first in the first inning, both runners were off on the full-count pitch to Contreras, who hit a routine grounder to Phillies shortstop Jean Segura. As Segura made the throw to first to retire Contreras, Bryant never hesitated around third base and scored on some heads-up, aggressive baserunning that looked like a page right out of the El Mago Playbook.

Bryant said as he was running, he thought about what it's like to play the left side of the infield on such a routine play and felt like he could catch the Phillies by surprise.

"I saw [third base coach Brian Butterfield] holding me up, too, and I just kept going," Bryant said. "I almost felt like I had eyes in the back of my head. It was kind of like one of those experiences that it's hard to explain, but I just kept going."

That run was all Jose Quintana and the Cubs needed for six innings, until Carl Edwards Jr. came on in relief for the seventh. Edwards allowed a leadoff single and then a double two batters later, giving way to Brandon Kintzler with two outs.

Kintzler gave up a groundball single up the middle to Andrew McCutchen and just like that, the Cubs' thin 1-0 lead had evaporated in the blink of an eye. And with the offensive issues (they were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position before Baez's hit), that looked to be enough to send the Cubs to their second straight defeat in frustrating fashion.

But the magic of El Mago and Bryant allowed the Cubs to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and send fans home happy and with a little more belief that this just might be a special summer on Chicago's North Side.

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Cubs Talk Podcast: Jake Arrieta discusses his return & Mark DeRosa talks the leadoff spot


Cubs Talk Podcast: Jake Arrieta discusses his return & Mark DeRosa talks the leadoff spot

Hear from Jake Arrieta after his first start as a visitor at Wrigley Field, including his thoughts on facing his former teammates and the standing ovation he received during his first at-bat (1:30). Then, Luke Stuckmeyer is joined by MLB Network's Mark DeRosa to discuss the Cubs' leadoff spot, the team outperforming expectations so far, and much more (8:15).

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Cubs Talk Podcast