It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa's longest homer drought of June 1998 is behind us as the slugger took nearly a week off in between longballs.
When he did connect again on June 13, it came in the form of a 410-foot blast off Phillies pitcher Mark Portugal, a two-run shot in the sixth inning. The Cubs wound up winning the game 10-8 in 10 innings.
Sosa went five straight games with a homer from June 3 to June 8 but then did not get a hit at all in three games from June 9-12. That little dry spell dropped his season average to .331 before his homer off Portugal.
Fun fact: The win on June 13 improved the Cubs' season record to 39-27 in 1998. The current 2018 Cubs team entered play Tuesday 38-25 overall, so slightly ahead of the '98 pace that took the team into the postseason as a wild card.
ST. LOUIS — Cubs nation can breathe a sigh of relief for now.
The team announced Javy Baez has a left elbow contusion after taking a 90 mph fastball off it in the third inning of Sunday night's game. Baez will still undergo X-rays to be sure there is nothing more sinister at play, but for now, it looks as if he has avoided serious injury.
Still, this is not what the Cubs wanted to see.
The Cubs entered play Sunday night having gone 24-12 since getting swept out of St. Louis in the first weekend of May. They were feeling good about themselves, starting to get their mojo back and playing more like the team everybody expected.
And then Baez took a fastball off the left elbow:
After a couple minute delay, Baez was led off the field and Addison Russell came in off the bench to replace him at first base.
The 25-year-old was in the midst of a breakout season for the Cubs, sitting 5th in the National League with 46 RBI and on pace for a near 30-30 seaosn (33 homers, 29 stolen bases).
He had slowed a bit (.175 average, .502 OPS in June) but still gives the Cubs so much energy and versatility on a daily basis with his ability to move around the infield and lineup.
If the Cubs are going to be without Baez for any length of time, it could be a huge blow to a team that was just hitting its stride.
ST. LOUIS — The game was over and Yadier Molina knew it.
As Ian Happ turned on Sam Tuivailala's two-strike pitch in the 7th inning, Molina crumbled to the ground in defeat.
Happ's two-out double gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead they did not relinquish in a 6-3 victory Saturday night at Busch Stadium.
The Cubs had to claw back all night against the Cardinals, fighting to tie the game at two separate spots before Happ's breakthrough off Tuivailala.
Molina couldn't contain his disappointment:
Molina is a common target of ire from Cubs fans in the heated rivalry with the Cardinals, so you can bet his #SadFace led to some glee in the Chicago fanbase (just look at the comments on that Tweet):
The 35-year-old catcher just returned recently from a nearly month-long stint on the disabled list when he took a foul tip off a Kris Bryant swing to the groin on Jordan Hicks' 102 mph pitch the last time the Cubs were in town.
Molina has drawn 3 walks and has a single in this weekend's series with the Cubs, but he also committed a miscue in Friday's game, when he threw wild to first base on Jon Lester's squeeze bunt.
The Cubs are now 24-12 since they were swept in St. Louis on the first weekend of May.