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A Review Of A Cubs Playoff Season: September/October 2015

The Cubs continued in high gear as the regular season came to a close.

Jon Durr/Getty Images

The Cubs saved a lot of the best for last, as they continued with some shutouts, an exciting walkoff win, and near-total dominance of the Cardinals.

Team record

The Cubs were 19-9 in September, their best September since the 19-8 mark posted in 2003. Add to that the 4-0 in October and the Cubs were 23-9 from September 1 to the end of the season. That's the most wins any Cubs team has had from September 1 to season's end since 1935, when they went 23-3.

Best win

There were plenty this month, but I have to go with yet another walkoff, the 1-0 win over the Royals to close the Wrigley Field home season September 28. Chris Denorfia's walkoff homer in the 11th inning was the first in major-league history hit by a pinch-hitter in a scoreless extra-inning game.

Also considered: the 9-0 spanking of the Cardinals in St. Louis September 7, Jake Arrieta's three-hit shutout of the Brewers September 22 at Wrigley, and the 14-5 dismantling of the Diamondbacks September 2 at Wrigley, which featured four Cubs homers, the biggest single inning (eight runs) at home this year, and the most runs scored by the Cubs at Wrigley in 2015.

Toughest loss

3-2 to the Pirates September 25 at Wrigley. After the Pirates broke a 1-1 tie with single runs in the seventh and eighth, a double by Denorfia and triple by Starlin Castro brought the Cubs to within one run and placed the tying run on third with one out, but the Cubs could not bring Castro home.

Best individual performance

Jake, of course. Possibly the best monthly pitching performance in Cubs history, including his one October start: six starts, 46 innings, 0.39 ERA, 0.565 WHIP, two earned runs allowed, four walks, 46 strikeouts.

Honorable mention: Starlin Castro. From September 1 through season's end: .369/.400/.655 (31-for-84) with seven doubles, a triple, five home runs, 20 RBI and only 13 strikeouts. Looking for a big postseason from Starlin, who redeemed his bad year with hard work and dedication over the season's last two months. He ends the year just short of 1,000 career hits at 991. Just 24 other players in major-league history have had that many or more hits through their age-25 season.

Roughest individual performance

Jason Hammel finished with a scoreless outing against the Reds, but all told had a 5.34 ERA in six starts after September 1. Here's hoping he keeps that scoreless thing going in the postseason.

Weirdest happening

Dan Haren's three excellent September appearances, one each against the Cardinals, Reds and Brewers. Two were scoreless, all were needed and welcome, but completely unexpected.

Coming next: the wild-card game against the Pirates, tonight!