6/29 Pena homers, June & more
Carlos Pena is the first Cubs player ever to reach 17 home runs before July after hitting none in April. He’s the first Major Leaguer to do so since Juan Gonzalez in 1997 with the Rangers. Gonzalez missed the first month of the season because of injury, and connected on his first homer May 2. Thanks to STATS Inc. and SABR for research.
The last player to accomplish the feat while playing in April of a non strike-shortened season was the Brewers’ Gorman Thomas in 1982. He hit 19 by June 30 after failing to homer in 17 April games. Larry Walker turned the trick with the Rockies in 1995 when the start of that season was delayed because of a strike.
Pena’s 17 home runs have come since May 3 and rank tied for first in that timeframe with the Yankees’ Mark Teixeira.
* Pena has homered in seven of his last 13 games. Eleven of his last 13 hits have been for extra bases.
* The Cubs are 9-18 in June with two games to go. Their 31 home runs this month are tied for the NL lead with the Braves and Brewers, and tied for second in the Majors. Cubs pitchers have a 4.60 ERA in June, including a 5.11 ERA by the starters.
* The Cubs are a season-low 16 games under .500 for the first time since finishing play on Sept. 15 last season at 65-81.
— Carrie Muskat