As the Cubs limp into Crosstown weekend and the All-Star Break, the list of Cub Killers continues to grow.
Josh Bell and Adam Frazier absolutely annihilated Cubs pitching over the four-game series in Pittsburgh this week:
6-for-15, 4 HR, 11 RBI
10-for-15, 1 HR, 6 RBI
Though, to be fair, Bell is hammering everybody this year:
Josh Bell now has 59 extra-base hits this season.— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) July 4, 2019
Most XBH before All-Star break, since 1st ASG in 1933:
1996 Edgar Martinez: 66
2013 Chris Davis: 64
1969 Reggie Jackson: 63
1994 Frank Thomas: 60
2019 Josh Bell: 59
Bell's total is the most by an NL player before the break.
Maybe this one series was enough to notch a spot on the modern-day Cub Killers team, especially for Frazier. They also have a teammate to make the cut, though he didn't play against the Cubs this week in Pittsburgh.
A quick note before we get into it: We only included current players who would not be heralded as superstars, but certainly appear like they're Hall of Famers whenever they're facing the Cubs.
Yes, Paul Goldschmidt and Ryan Braun and Albert Pujols show out against the Cubs, but they've also had very, very good careers and have posted strong numbers against many teams.
The guys on this team are solid players, no doubt, but they always seem to find another level when facing the Cubs, even in a small sample size:
C — Francisco Cervelli
1B — Daniel Murphy
2B — Ozzie Albies
3B — Asdrubal Cabrera
SS — Orlando Arcia
LF — Rajai Davis
CF — Billy Hamilton
RF — Phillip Ervin
DH — Nomar Mazara
SP — Ivan Nova
Look at that team. That is not a lineup of All-Stars by any means, but there is no doubt they would easily sweep the Cubs in any series from April to October.
Check out each guy's individual case:
Career stats vs. Cubs: .290/.363/.470 (.833 OPS), 7 HR, 38 RBI
Career stats at Wrigley Field: .309/.367/.536 (.903 OPS), 6 HR, 30 RBI
The Cubs lucked out in that they didn't have to contend with Cervelli during their recent four-game series in Pittsburgh and they may not have to face him next weekend coming out of the All-Star Break, either. The veteran catcher is still dealing with concussion-like symptoms, which is scary considering he was first placed on the IL on May 26.
But when Cervelli has suited up against the Cubs, he has an .833 OPS — which is essentially Willson Contreras' career line (.828 OPS).
The numbers take an even bigger jump when Cervelli is playing the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In 30 starts at "The Friendly Confines," he has 30 RBI while hitting .309 with a .903 OPS. So in other words, he becomes Mike Piazza (career .308 AVG, .922 OPS) when facing Cubs pitchers on Chicago's North Side.
Career stats vs. Cubs: .341/.377/.574 (.951 OPS)
Career stats at Wrigley Field: .364/.397/.594 (.991 OPS)
Even a lobotomy wouldn't help Cubs fans forget about Murphy's insane stretch in the 2015 NLCS. He hit .529 with a 1.850 OPS in those four games, including 4 homers and 6 RBI. Now imagine rolling those stats into the above career line for Murphy against the Cubs.
Following along with the old adage that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, the Cubs acquired Murphy last August in a waiver deal and he was a solid presence in their lineup for the final six weeks of the season.
But then he signed with the Rockies over the winter and has continued his Cub Killing ways this year, going 9-for-17 (.529 AVG) with a homer and 5 RBI in 4 games against the Cubs this season.
Career stats vs. Cubs: .456/.519/.809 (1.328 OPS)
Joe Maddon summed it up simply as the Cubs closed out a four-game set with the Braves last week at Wrigley Field: "The guy just hits us."
Albies is a very nice young player who has inflicted his fair share of damage against everybody over his first couple years in the big leagues. But he just takes his game to another level against Cubs pitching — which includes 13 extra-base hits (7 doubles, 5 homers, 1 triple), 13 RBI and 14 runs in 17 games.
Career stats vs. Cubs: .286/.316/.629 (.944 OPS)
Career stats at Wrigley Field: .389/.400/.444 (.844 OPS)
Maybe an odd choice given he hasn't played the Cubs a ton in his career (only 18 starts in his 13 MLB seasons), but he has 7 homers and 12 RBI in that span.
That includes a heck of a series in Texas to open 2019 when the veteran switch-hitter clubbed 2 homers and drove in 5 runs in the three games as the Cubs began the year 1-2.
Cabrera was also a thorn in the Cubs' side while he was with the Mets, hitting 4 homers in 9 games between 2016-17.
This one hasn't been going on as long and the career stats aren't worth mentioning for Arcia. But he has been a huge issue dating back to last Oct. 1, when the light-hitting shortstop went 4-for-4 and scored the winning run in Game 163 at Wrigley Field.
That's carried over into the 2019 season, as the Brewers shortstop is hitting .421 with a .542 on-base percentage and 1.121 OPS in 6 games against the Cubs this year.
This from a guy who has a career .249 batting average and .668 OPS...
Career stats vs. Cubs: .302/.348.512 (.859 OPS)...and one VERY big World Series dinger
Davis is also hitting .500 with a 1.328 OPS at Wrigley Field, but has made only 4 starts there in his long career.
In general, he hasn't played against the Cubs much (only 5 regular-season starts since 2010) but he's only put up a better line against three other MLB teams over his 14 years in the game. And his performance against the Cubs in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series might be enough to etch Davis' name in Cub Killer lore forever.
Career stats vs. Cubs: .276/.350/.393 (.743 OPS), 39 stolen bases
Career vs. everybody else: .239/.285/.320 (.605 OPS)
You could make a serious case that the Cubs are the main reason Hamilton has had a big-league job over the last 7 years. When a guy is struggling to put up a .600 OPS against the rest of the league, you know he's going through and circling every game on the calendar against the only team he consistently produces against.
Ditto if Jon Lester happened to be starting that game for the Cubs. In his career against the veteran southpaw (24 at-bats), Hamilton is hitting .333/.407/.667 (1.074 OPS).
Career stats vs. Cubs: .314/.364/.608 (.971 OPS), 4 HR, 12 RBI
Career stats vs. everybody else: .250/.302/.390 (.692 OPS), 7 HR, 35 RBI
Another Reds outfielder and another guy who may not even still be in the big leagues if not for how often he plays the Cubs. Every other fanbase in baseball might read Ervin's name and ask, "Who?!" But Cubs fans know all too well.
The 26-year-old outfielder has hit 36 percent of his career homers against Cubs pitching, including a solo shot last Friday in Cincinnati. He then came back Sunday and drove in Yasiel Puig twice with a pair of bloop hits to put the game out of reach and send the Cubs on a four-game losing streak.
There's not much of a sample size and you could make the case any of the other hitters should be in this spot over Nomar Mazara including Randal Grichuk. Grichuk hasn't played the Cubs since 2017 and Mazara has only had three good games against Joe Maddon's bunch in his career, but that was enough.
As the Cubs opened their "Year of Reckoning" in Texas in March, Mazara hit a 2-run homer in Game 1, drew 4 walks in Game 2 and then collected a clutch 2-run triple in Game 3 as the Rangers won each of the last two contests.
Jeff McNeil also would've been a fair choice here, since he had a huge four-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley a couple weeks ago (6-for-14, 6 RBI), but he's also hit everybody early in his career (.340 AVG through his first 136 games).
Nova's career line against the Cubs isn't much to write home about (4-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in nine starts), but the players have continually talked about how they've struggled against him in the past. Kris Bryant even brought it up unprompted last month as Nova — now with the White Sox — spun a gem against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Game 1 of the Crosstown series.
Brewers right-hander Jhoulys Chacin would also be a nice call here, as he's held the Cubs to a 1.57 ERA in six starts over the last two seasons. However, he's actually only 2-3 in that stretch as the Cubs have found a way to beat him even when he's pitched well.
Cubs fans have seen the future Hall of Fame catcher come up with some really big plays against their team for the last decade-plus and the numbers back it up — his 105 RBI vs. Cubs is second only to the 108 RBI he has against the Reds.
He has a career .296/.335/.638 slashline (.974 OPS) against Cubs pitching along with 11 homers and 33 RBI in 37 career starts. But the Cubs will hardly have to face Grichuk moving forward now that he makes his home in Toronto.
In two of the last three years, Markakis has worn out Cubs pitching (1.008 OPS in 2017, 1.110 OPS in 2019) but he also sported just a .625 OPS in 2018 sandwiched in between. He also has 10 RBI in only 7 games against the Cubs this year and may well have a chance to add to that total if his Braves meet the North Siders in October.
Another guy who's been really good against many teams — Cain has a career .320 batting average and .844 OPS against the Cubs, but he's also a career .289 hitter over his 10 years in baseball.
One of the original Cub Killers, Walker would probably have been on this team a few years ago. But he's hardly played against the Cubs over the last few seasons and even when he has, the veteran infielder hasn't come up with too many big hits.