When the Phillies came to Wrigley Field for this late-May series, they were 26-21 and just 2½ games out of first place in the N.L. East.
The Cubs swept them, and they posted the worst record in the N.L. from the day of that first game at Wrigley till the end of the season — 45-70.
Meanwhile, the Cubs moved to 20 games over .500 after this win at 34-14 and led the N.L. Central by 6½ games.
This never gets old, and as I have said a number of times this year, savor every moment of this magnificent Cubs season, because things like this don't come around very often.
The Cubs defeated the Phillies 7-2 Sunday afternoon, winning their fifth consecutive game and sweeping the Phils at Wrigley Field for the first time in 21 years (more on that later).
The wind was blowing out Sunday, though from a different direction than Saturday: west instead of southwest, though Miguel Montero's homer to left that hit the bottom of the right-field video board didn't appear to need any assistance from the breeze:
That was a second-inning shot, that followed the Cubs scoring a run in the first inning on three singles, the third one a bloop by Anthony Rizzo to short left that feel in between Tyler Goeddel and Freddy Galvis.
Meanwhile, John Lackey was breezing along. He didn't allow a hit until Galvis led off the fourth inning with a double, and although he issued a walk later in that inning, he got out of it by inducing Tommy Joseph to hit a double-play grounder.
The Cubs extended the lead to 5-0 on this three-run homer by Ben Zobrist:
That one did need a bit of help from the west wind, as it just made it over the basket in right-center field. For Zobrist, it extended his hitting streak to 15 games. But wait! There's more!
Ben Zobrist:— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 29, 2016
15-game hitting streak
24-game hitting streak in starts
34-game streak in starts with hit or walk#Cubs
Zobrist ought to have a real good shot at making the All-Star team this year; if he does, it would be the third All-Star nod for him.
The Cubs added their sixth and seventh runs off Phillies starter Vince Velasquez in the fifth, with the key hits being RBI singles from Montero and Kris Bryant. It might have been more if not for a bit of wacky baserunning by Dexter Fowler, who must have thought this ball hit up the middle by Jason Heyward got farther into the outfield than it did. Fowler was caught in a rundown while Heyward took second base:
Lackey got touched up for a homer by Goeddel in the seventh with two out, ruining his chance at a shutout, and Justin Grimm also gave up a solo shot in the ninth to Joseph, but otherwise it was an easy win, yet another "blowout" (by baseball-reference.com's definition, any game won by five or more runs). The Cubs are now 18-2 in such games. More on that:
#Cubs now 18-2 this season in games decided by 5+ runs.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 29, 2016
Still more than half of their wins have been by 5+ runs - 18/34 - 52.94%
Also, Lackey lowered his ERA to 3.16 with this performance. Here's a couple of notes about the Cubs' excellent starting rotation:
#Cubs starters this season:— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 29, 2016
2.49 ERA, 307.1 IP, 224 Hits, 285 K, .205 Opp BA, 1.015 WHIP
Last team to finish season with a sub-2.50 starter ERA was the 1981 Astros (strike-shortened season) at 2.43— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 29, 2016
Last team to finish season with sub-2.50 starter ERA in a non-shortened season was 1968 Cardinals (2.49, with Bob Gibson).— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) May 29, 2016
It was the Cubs' fourth series sweep this season, and as I noted above, the first sweep of the Phillies in Chicago since July 28-30, 1995. Here's an interesting fact about that Wrigley Field series:
Last time #Cubs swept #Phillies, in July 1995, the losing Phillies pitcher in the last game of the set was Jim Deshaies. @ckamka— Al Yellon (@bleedcubbieblue) May 29, 2016
Here's the boxscore from that game; Deshaies got hit hard by the Cubs, allowing six runs in fewer than two innings, including a pair of homers.
That would turn out to be the last game of Deshaies' career; he was released by the Phillies the next day. And now, almost 21 years later, he broadcast the game that broke that 21-year-old mark.
The Cubs moved to a season-high 20 games over .500. As far as I can tell, this is the earliest calendar date any Cubs team has been 20 games in franchise history (since 1900). They were 20 games over at 28-8 in 1907 on May 30.
Like I said, this never gets old. Keep it going!
Cubs walk watch: Six walks in this game brings the season total to 230, or 4.79 per game. Pace: 776. At the current pace they will break the team record (650) on September 4 against the Giants.