The Cubs' 1-0 win over the Padres Monday night was a thing of beauty (despite Carlos Marmol loading the bases in the ninth inning before getting Nick Hundley to fly out to end the game), but it also generated quite a few interesting numbers that deserve mention:
- It was the Cubs' fourth 1-0 win of the season. That seems like a lot -- and it is -- but in a season where there have now been 60 1-0 games in the major leagues (the most since 1976), three teams have had more: the Dodgers (six), Mets (five) and Padres (five).
- Carlos Zambrano has now allowed two or fewer runs in ten consecutive starts of five or more innings. That's the most in Cubs history since 1920, and it comprises all his starts since his return to the rotation, during which he has posted a 1.27 ERA and allowed only one HR in 64 innings. He accomplished this feat in front of his mother, who was watching him throw a major league game for the first time. She'll be at his final start of the year in Houston over the weekend, too.
- Z posted his tenth win of the season, eclipsing his total from last year. He also passed Charlie Root into second place on the all-time Cubs strikeout list, with 1436. That's 602 behind the all-time leader, Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins.
- Carlos Marmol made his 300th career relief appearance and posted his 35th save. He became the sixth Cub pitcher (Bruce Sutter, Lee Smith, Randy Myers, Rod Beck, and Mitch Williams the others) to have that many saves in a season.
- The Cubs' only run, and the lone tally of the game, scored on a Blake DeWitt single following an Alfonso Soriano double. The double was Soriano's 39th of the season, which ties him with his teammate Marlon Byrd (who also had his 39th two-bagger last night) for seventh in the National League. Soriano's SLG ranks 20th in the NL, for those who think he hasn't been productive this year.
- It was the Cubs' seventh straight road win. That's the most consecutive road wins since 2008, when the Cubs won nine straight away from Wrigley.
For a while, it appeared the game would go so fast that it might end before the Bears/Packers game, which seemed for a while headed to possible overtime. But the Green Bay fumble and subsequent Robbie Gould field goal gave the Bears the win while the Cubs and Padres were in the bottom of the seventh. Z was solid last night, though again issuing too many walks. That's the primary thing I've seen since Z's return that is concerning -- the walks.
Sean Marshall threw a scoreless eighth with two K's and that left it up to Marmol, who retired the first two batters without event.
And then Carlos turned into Bad Marmol. Yorvit Torrealba beat out an infield hit that DeWitt cut in front of Starlin Castro to field -- Len & Bob said, and I agree, that it should have been Castro's play. Then, Marmol hit Chase Headley with a pitch. Or, at least that's what plate umpire Greg Gibson said. Mike Quade came out of the dugout and had a fairly animated discussion with Gibson; replays appeared to show that the ball hit the dirt between Headley's feet and bounced away. Maybe it grazed his pants, but otherwise it didn't appear to hit him at all.
Was Marmol rattled? He walked Tony Gwynn Jr. to load the bases and then Nick Hundley hit a 1-1 pitch into the air.
What's the first reaction of a Cubs fan seeing the ball head into left field like that? Right. "Uh-oh. That's a grand slam."
But it wasn't. It settled gently into Sam Fuld's glove short of the warning track and the Cubs had a 1-0 win.
There's one more number that's significant with that win. It was the Cubs' 36th road win this season -- that's one more game than they won at home in 2010. The last time a Cubs team won more away than at home was 2005 (38-43 at Wrigley, 41-40 on the road). This team still has a shot at a winning road record. Go for it; finish the year strong.