9/25 Extra bases
Heading into the series finale against the Cardinals, here are some pre-game Cubs notes and tidbits:
* Aramis Ramirez may not play until Tuesday, and there’s a possibility he may be done for the season. He did some exercises in the field on Sunday to test his strained right quad.
“I think it’s solely up to him and if he feels he can help us or not,” Mike Quade said Sunday. “We’ll let him determine how he feels physically.”
* Starlin Castro leads the National League with 202 hits, 12 more than the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp. Castro could become the youngest player (and first 21-year-old) to lead the NL in hits. He will be 21 years 188 days when the season ends. Before this season, the youngest NL hits champ was the Cubs’ Charlie Hollocher in 1918, who with 161 hits was 22 years 83 days at the end of the season. Thanks to Elias and Ed Hartig for the info.
Castro would be the third Cub in the last seven seasons to win the NL hits crown, joining Juan Pierre in 2006 and Derrek Lee in 2005. However, he would only by the fifth Cub in the last 70 seasons to win the hits title, joining Pierre, Lee, Billy Williams (1970) and Phil Cavarretta (1944).
Castro would be the 15th Cub to lead the NL in hits (dating to 1876), the most different players to lead the league for any NL franchise. It would be the 16th overall hits title for a Cub, tied with the Phillies for second-most in the NL and trailing only the Cardinals (20).
* Castro has reached base safely in a career-high 36-straight games. That breaks the 82-year-old club mark for a shortstop. Woody English had owned the mark by reaching base safely in 34-straight games streak in 1929. He’s hit safely in 45 of his last 50 games since July 31 (70-for-217/.323). The last Cubs player to have a longer streak was Jerome Walton, who had a 43-game streak in 1989.
* Jeff Samardzija has eight relief wins this year, the most in a single-season by a Cubs reliever in 25 years when Lee Smith won nine games in 1986.
* Alfonso Soriano has recorded his 10th-straight season with 20 homers and his eighth overall campaign with 25 blasts, his first since 2008. He has 85 RBIs this year, his most since 2006 with Washington (95). Soriano has 24 RBIs starting Aug. 27, tied for the most in the Majors by any player in that span.
* Carlos Peña has 97 walks, third-most in the NL. That sets a modern day record (since 1900) for most walks in a season by a Cubs first baseman. Mark Grace had 95 walks in 2000. Since 2001, only Sammy Sosa has drawn more walks in a Cubs campaign than Peña. Sosa had 116 free passes in 2001 and 103 in 2002.
Peña enters the day with a .229 batting average. Only one player has ever recorded at least 97 walks and a batting average of .229 or less: Ken Harrelson in 1969 with Cleveland and Boston (99 walks, .221 batting average).
* Carlos Marmol will be happy to say goodbye to Busch Stadium and the Cardinals. He has a 5.79 ERA against St. Louis this year, with two saves in four opportunities. He is 0-1 with a 8.53 ERA in six games at Busch, and 1-for-3 in save opportunities. Against the NL Central, he has a 5.72 ERA.
* Thinking out loud: Interesting that Ramirez says he wants to play for a contender. At the Trading Deadline this year, didn’t he say he would not waive his no trade clause when contending teams were inquiring?
– Carrie Muskat