It’s always fun to look back at good games the Chicago Cubs have played, even in a year that wound up with a losing record.
The Cubs were 39-31 after the All-Star break, among the better records in the National League — and, in fact, one game better than the pennant-winning Phillies over that span.
Let’s take a look back at the five best Cubs games from this year. As always with lists like this, these choices are subjective and my opinion only. You might have other choices; feel free to share them in the comments.
I’m not ranking these — they are posted in chronological order.
While in the grand scheme of things this game meant little, it still established quite a few records, including being the biggest shutout win in Cubs franchise history (and only one run short of tying the biggest in MLB history).
There have been just five games in MLB history (post-1900) that were shutouts with that many runs scored. In addition to this one:
- September 15, 1901, Detroit Tigers 21, Cleveland Blues 0
- August 13, 1939, New York Yankees 21, Philadelphia Athletics 0
- September 16, 1975: Pittsburgh Pirates 22, Chicago Cubs 0
- August 31, 2004, Cleveland Indians 22, New York Yankees 0
So the Cubs came within one run of “revenge” for that 1975 shutout the Bucs laid on them. Kyle Hendricks, Sean Newcomb and Scott Effross combined on a three-hit shutout. You’ll note that none of those pitchers was on the Cubs’ active roster when the season ended.
Here’s my scorecard from that game:
This game was highlighted by a grand slam by Patrick Wisdom [VIDEO] that went a lot farther than Statcast claimed.
Patrick Wisdom with his 15th home run of the season. A GRAND SLAM to Waveland Avenue. 440+ ft. One hop off the #CPD van and down Kenmore. 5th street home run of 2022. Cubs up 6-0. #wrigley #reds pic.twitter.com/2JFHpWtc5f— BALLHAWK.NET (@Super_Dave) July 1, 2022
Here’s an entire article posted here from a week later about how this sort of measurement isn’t always accurate.
The other curious thing about this game is that the Cubs won this game by the exact score (15-7) that they had LOST a game exactly one year earlier, June 30, 2021.
The game itself was fairly ordinary, although Cubs pitchers did combine to strike out 14 Reds. What made this game among the best of the year was its location — Dyersville, Iowa. The Cubs’ participation in the second Field of Dreams game was everything I’d hoped it would be when I made the 3½-hour trek from Chicago to Dyersville.
Drew Smyly struck out nine in five shutout innings in one of his best outings of the year.
When the Cubs had last faced Jacob deGrom, on June 16, 2021, deGrom faced nine Cubs and struck out eight of them before leaving with an injury.
deGrom made just four more starts in 2021 before missing the rest of that season and the first four months of 2022.
On his return in August 2022, he made seven starts and posted a 1.38 ERA and struck out 63 and walked just four in 43⅓ innings.
And then he faced the Cubs. He did strike out 10 Cubs in this game, but allowed three runs in six innings including a home run by Ian Happ, and the Cubs wound up sweeping the three-game series. You could, if you wanted, say that sweep prevented the Mets from winning the NL East — since they wound up tied with the Braves and lost the tiebreaker, forcing them into a Wild Card series with the Padres. If the Mets win the NL East, the playoff matchups are different and who knows what might have happened?
With the Phillies scrambling to win any game they could to lock down the final NL wild card spot, three Cubs pitchers (Javier Assad, Michael Rucker and Keegan Thompson) held a power-laden Philly lineup to six singles. In winning this game, the Cubs became the only team to play the Phillies more than four times in 2022 and not lose a game, an impressive season series sweep.
In the ninth inning, Ian Happ made this fantastic catch to help out Thompson [VIDEO].
Right there is one of the reasons Happ is a Gold Glove finalist.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, the companion piece (the five worst games of the year) will be posted tomorrow.
What was the best Cubs game of 2022?
This poll is closed
21-0 win over Pirates April 23
15-7 win over Reds June 30
4-2 win over Reds August 11
4-1 win over Mets September 13
2-0 win over Phillies September 29
A different game (leave in comments)