And so, I thought I’d post a few team notes here, in advance of the game preview at 4 p.m. CT, for you to peruse.
- The Cubs look to move 22 games over .500 tonight for the first time since they finished the 2017 season at 92-70. The Cubs’ high-water mark in 2017 was 23 games over .500, one game before the regular season’s final game, which they lost.
- The Cubs lead the major leagues with 14 shutouts this season, one more than the Pirates. Since 2015, the Cubs’ 58 shutouts are the second-most in MLB. The Dodgers lead with 60.
- The Cubs shut out the Pirates in consecutive games for the first time since June 21-22, 1989, at Pittsburgh. The Cubs have shut out the Pirates four times this season, the most they’ve had over a Pittsburgh team since 1945 (five). The Cubs’ other shutouts this year: five over the Brewers, and one each over the Reds, Mets, Giants, Dodgers and Royals.
- Of the 13 pitchers currently on the Cubs’ active roster, only six were with them in 2017. Of those six, just four (Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr.) were on the team for all of last year. This is a tribute to how good Theo & Co. have been in acquiring bullpen assets and guys who have been on the Iowa Shuttle and succeeded.
- The Cubs are second in the National League in runs and runs per game, and lead the league in BA, OBP and OPS.
- Since July 29 the Cubs are 11-6 and have increased their division lead by four games — despite being outscored in those 17 games 68-64.
- The Cubs’ post-All-Star record is finally starting to look good at 16-12 (.571). If the Cubs continue at that percentage the rest of the year, they’ll go 23-18 and win 94 games. Overall, since 2015 the Cubs have posted a 165-85 record after the All-Star Break, 80 games above .500, and the team’s .660 winning percentage is by far the best in baseball. The Indians are a distant second at .623 (154-93).
- Happy birthday to Justin Wilson, who turns 31 today.
- If the Cubs win 90 or more games this year — and they’d have to go just 19-22 in their remaining 41 games to do that — that would make four straight years of 90+ wins. The Cubs franchise hasn’t done that since they did it nine years in a row from 1904-12.
That should be enough to get you through the afternoon! As noted above, the game preview for tonight will post at 4 p.m. CT.