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Notes from #Cubs wild Wild Card win

More notes from Wednesday’s 4-0 Cubs win over the Pirates at PNC Park in the NL Wild Card Game:

*Dexter Fowler went 3-for-4 for his second career multi-hit postseason game. He also tied a Cubs single-game postseason record by scoring three times, matching Frank Demaree’s mark, set Oct. 2, 1932, against the Yankees.

*Fowler hit his first postseason home run. It also was his first homer since Sept. 7, and first of his career at PNC Park.

*Kyle Schwarber is the first Cubs rookie to homer in a postseason game since Geovany Soto did so in Game 2 of the 2007 Division Series at Arizona. It’s the third time in Cubs postseason history that a rookie homered in a game. He joins Soto and Frank Demaree, who connected in the 1932 World Series. Schwarber is the first to do so in his first postseason game. He joins Demaree as the only Cubs rookie with three RBI in a postseason game.

*The Cubs posted their first shutout in a postseason game since Game 1 of the 1984 League Championship Series against the Padres. It was the ninth shutout in Cubs postseason history.

*Jake Arrieta extended his scoreless innings streak to 31 innings with his complete game on Wednesday.

*Arrieta is the first Cubs pitcher to throw a shutout in the postseason since Claude Passeau did so Oct. 5, 1945, against Detroit in Game 3 of the World Series.

*Wednesday’s win snapped the Cubs’ nine-game postseason losing streak. It was  the team’s first win since Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS.

#Cubs Arrieta does it all — 11 Ks, SB, starts a fight and a W

In his first postseason game, Jake Arrieta threw a four-hit complete shutout, striking out 11, to lead the Cubs to a 4-0 victory over the Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game. Claude Passeau was the last Cubs pitcher to throw a shutout in the postseason, doing so Oct. 5, 1945, in Game 3 of the World Series. But Arrieta topped that.

*Arrieta is the first pitcher in postseason history to throw a shutout while striking out at least 10 and not walking a batter. The previous high was nine Ks, set by Cole Hamels in Game 3 of the 2010 NL Division Series.

*Arrieta’s 11 strikeouts tied the Cubs franchise record, set by Kerry Wood in Game 1 of the 2003 NLDS against the Braves. Wood was at PNC Park on Wednesday to share in the win.

*Arrieta is the 10th pitcher all-time to be hit by a pitch in a postseason game. And, after he was plunked, Arrieta then stole second base. He’s the fifth pitcher all-time — and the first since Cliff Lee in 2009 — to steal a base in the postseason.

It won’t show up on the stats sheets but Arrieta getting plunked also sparked a bench-clearing melee in the seventh. He had hit two Pirates earlier in the game and Pittsburgh’s Tony Watson decided it was time to get even.

“The playoffs,” Arrieta said of why both benches emptied. “There’s a lot at stake. Tempers were running hot, and it is what it is. It’s just the environment. It breeds that kind of intensity and sometimes those things happen.”

This was Arrieta’s sixth start this season against the Pirates.

“They’ve seen Jake a lot and we’ve seen [Gerrit Cole] a lot,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “At the end of the day, it really comes down to execution of pitches in the moment. We were able to get him there.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs fan Eddie Vedder joins in the party

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder joined in the Cubs’ post game party Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of’s Jordan Bastian


3 #Cubs rookies start vs Bucs

The Cubs will have three rookies in the lineup Wednesday night when they face the Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game at PNC Park. Kyle Schwarber will start in right, Kris Bryant in left, and Addison Russell at shortstop. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF
Schwarber RF
Bryant LF
Rizzo 1B
La Stella 3B
Castro 2B
Montero C
Russell SS
Arrieta P

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said on paper, it may not look like a good lineup defensively, but says they can get the job done. Also, it’s the same lineup that was behind Jake Arrieta in his last start against the Brewers.

“Hopefully, we’ll grab a lead and eventually move the defense around game in progress,” Maddon said.

#Cubs pre Wild Card game notes

The Cubs and Pirates meet Wednesday night in the Wild Card Game at PNC Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CT. Here are some pre-game notes to prepare you for the contest, provided by MLB Network researchers:

*This will be the 2,442nd meeting all-time between the Cubs and Pirates dating back to 1887, but it’ll be the first time they’ve ever met in the postseason.

*The Cubs finished the regular season with an eight-game winning streak and 0.61 ERA.

*The Cubs went 11-8 vs. the Pirates this season, including 6-4 at PNC Park.

*This is the Pirates’ third straight postseason appearance, and they are hosting the Wild Card game for the third straight year.

*The Cubs have lost nine straight postseason games, tied for the sixth-longest skid in postseason history. The only longer
active postseason drought belongs to the Twins (12). The last time the Cubs won a postseason game was Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS. Aramis Ramirez, now on the Pirates, hit two home runs for the Cubs in an 8-3 win over the Marlins in that game, including a grand slam. If he’s in the lineup on Wednesday, Ramirez would be playing against the Cubs in what will likely be his final game.

*The Cubs went an MLB-best 48-33 (.593) on the road this season. That’s the most road wins by a Cubs teamm since winning a franchise-record 49 road games in 1945. The Pirates were 53-28 (.654) at PNC Park this season, third best home record in the Majors behind the Cardinals and Dodgers.

*The Cubs won 24 more games this season than a year ago, the biggest improvement from 2014 in all of baseball.

*The Pirates (3.21) and Cubs (3.36) ranked second and third in MLB in ERA this year. Plus, the Pirates 2.67 bullpen ERA was the best in the Majors.

#Cubs Wild Card Game roster

The Cubs announced the 25-man roster for Wednesday’s Wild Card Game against the Pirates. Here you go:

28-Kyle Hendricks, RHP
33-Clayton Richard, LHP
34-Jon Lester, LHP
37-Travis Wood, LHP
46-Pedro Strop, RHP
49-Jake Arrieta, RHP
52-Justin Grimm, RHP
53-Trevor Cahill, RHP
56-Hector Rondon, RHP
57-Fernando Rodney, RHP

3-David Ross
5-Quintin Berry
8-Chris Coghlan
9-Javier Baez
11-Tommy La Stella
12-Kyle Schwarber
13-Starlin Castro
15-Chris Denorfia
17-Kris Bryant
22-Addison Russell
24-Dexter Fowler
27-Austin Jackson
44-Anthony Rizzo
47-Miguel Montero
68-Jorge Soler

#Cubs Bryant, Schwarber could be in OF

Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t want to reveal his lineup for Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game because he didn’t want to give the Pirates any edge. But judging by batting practice on Tuesday, the Cubs could have rookies Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber at the corner outfield spots.

Tommy La Stella worked out at third base, including some extra work after batting practice ended on Tuesday at PNC Park. Bryant was in left field during the workout.

“I can do it,” Bryant said about playing the outfield. “I made a pretty good play here the last time I was in the outfield. [I’ll play] wherever they need me. This is a game where it really doesn’t matter where I play. I just want to help the team win any way I can. If that’s in the outfield, then I’ll play the heck out of the outfield.”

In the last 10 days, Maddon has moved players around in preparation for the postseason.

“I love the fact that we’re so versatile,” Maddon said Tuesday. “I love that young players are not stuck in one position, and if you move them, all of a sudden they freak out about it or it’s going to hurt them in arbitration or whatever years from now because they don’t have one position. Our guys don’t think that way and I love it. All of this has been experimentation waiting to get to this moment.”

Bryant has started 10 games in the outfield, including four in left, one in center and five in right. His only start in center was at PNC Park on April 23. In a doubleheader on Sept. 15, he started the first game at third, and was in right field for the second game.

“Right field is a little different because there’s a chain link fence,” he said of PNC Park. “There’s not the traditional padded wall. Left field is pretty big, left center is huge. I hit a couple balls to left center that I thought were homers and they were outs, so it’s a pretty big left field.”

The Cubs most likely would want La Stella in the lineup as the left-handed hitting infielder is the only Cubs player with an extra-base hit off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole this season. Bryant is 3-for-9, striking out six times.

Schwarber has started 38 games in the outfield, primarily in left (36 games). With Bryant, Schwarber, and shortstop Addison Russell, the Cubs could have three rookies starting on Wednesday.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs notes: Arrieta honored; Vote Rizzo; TV ratings

Arrieta wins NL Pitcher of the Month for 2nd time

Jake Arrieta was voted the NL Pitcher of the Month for September, the second time he’s won the award this season. The Cubs right-hander is the first NL pitcher to win the award in consecutive months since the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw di so in June and July 2014.

Arrieta was 4-0 in five September outings with a Major League-best 0.45 ERA. He held opposing hitters to a .148 batting average, which was the second-lowest mark among qualifying ML pitchers last month, while ranking fifth among NL hurlers in innings pitched (40.0) and sixth in strikeouts (39). He gave up 20 hits during the month and issued only four walks.

Arrieta’s September ERA was the lowest by a Major League pitcher during the month of September since
the Twins’ Johan Santana notched the same mark in September 2004 during his Cy Young Award-winning
campaign. The last NL pitcher to post a September ERA of 0.45 or lower was Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who
had a 0.29 ERA in 1995 with the Braves during his Cy Young Award-winning season.

Arrieta capped September with seven shutout innings, permitting one hit in a 4-0 win over the Pirates at Wrigley
Field on Sept. 27. In the outing, Arrieta extended his Wrigley scoreless streak to 40 2/3 innings, which,
according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is the longest such streak at Wrigley in its 101-year history. The previous
best streak was held by Hall of Famer Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals, who tossed 37-scoreless frames at
the historic ballpark spanning the 1965 and ‘66 seasons.

With the strong September, Arrieta finished the season with a Major League-best 22 wins (22-6) and a 1.77 ERA, which was baseball’s second-lowest mark.

Rizzo a Hank Aaron nominee

The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo is one of 30 finalists for the 2015 Hank Aaron Award, which was announced Monday by Major League Baseball and MLB Advanced Media. Fans can vote for the winner online at and the 30 Club sites. Combined, the nominees have been named All-Stars 90 times, including 16 2015 All-Stars.

For the sixth straight year, a special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron will join fans in voting for the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has recognized the most outstanding offensive performer in each League since it was established in 1999.

Continuing through Oct. 11, fans will have the opportunity to select one AL and one NL winner from a list comprising of one finalist per Club. The winners of the 2015 Hank Aaron Award will be announced during the 2015 World Series.

Vote Rizzo.

Comcast SportsNet sees boost

Comcast SportsNet posted big year-to-year television ratings increases in overall Chicago market households and in every key demographic category, along with scoring significant TV ratings increases for its surrounding pre/postgame programming.

Comcast SportsNet’s Cubs television ratings averaged a 3.32 household rating in 2015 (approx. 112,317 Chicago market TV households tuning in per game) — a 121% increase over 2014’s 1.50 final household season average. More than 60,000 Chicago market TV homes tuned in per game this season compared to last season.

#Cubs Bryant top selling jersey in MLB

Kris Bryant’s No. 17 is the most popular player jersey in all of MLB for 2015. Bryant becomes the first rookie and youngest player ever to lead the list since MLB and MLBPA released jersey sales rankings in 2010. The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo also is on the list at No. 8. Here are the top five:

1. Kris Bryant
2. Madison Bumgarner
3. Buster Posey
4. Clayton Kershaw
5. Mike Trout

It was quite the season for the #Cubs

Facts and figures from the Cubs’ 2015 season:

*Anthony Rizzo became the 43rd 30-100 player in Cubs history, driving in his 100th and 101st runs with a two-run single in the first. Rizzo, who has 30 home runs, is the first Cubs player with a 30/100 season since Alfonso Soriano did in 2012. Rizzo also is just the fourth left-handed hitter to accomplish the feat in franchise history.

*Kris Bryant finished with 26 home runs, 31 doubles, 99 RBI, 86 runs scored and 74 walks. In Major League history, only one other player has reached those numbers in his rookie season and that was Ted Williams in 1939. Manager Joe Maddon wasn’t too upset that Bryant didn’t reach 100 RBIs. Maddon said: “It gives him something to shoot for next year.”

*The Cubs finished with 97 wins, the most since a 97-64 record in 2008. Maddon set a franchise record for most wins in the first year with the Cubs. Jim Frey held the old mark of 96 in 1984.

*Hector Rondon totaled a career-high 30 saves and a 1.67 ERA. He’s the second pitcher in Cubs history to save 30 games and post a 1.67 ERA or lower, joining Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, who saved 31 games and had a 1.34 ERA in 1977.

*The Cubs pitchers totaled 1,431 strikeouts, setting a National League single-season record. The old mark was 1,404, set by the 2003 Cubs. The Cubs batters also led the Majors in K’s with 1,518, but led the NL in walks (567).

*The Cubs finished 48-33 on the road this season. It’s the first time they’ve won more than 45 games on the road since a franchise-record 49 wins in 1945.


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