Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

david ross cubsAnnually, Jayson Stark compiles a must-read list of the “strange but true” feats of the previous MLB season. This year’s two-part installment – regular season, and post-season – is no exception.

You’ll want to read both pieces for the full slate of baseball weirdness, but I’ll tease you with a handful of the Cubs-related bits and some thoughts of my own (saving the best for last):

  • Jorge Soler reached base in all of his first nine postseason plate appearances … despite reaching base just seven times total in all of September (Stark has it as five, but I see five hits and two walks). Of course, Soler was injured for much of September, and Kyle Schwarber’s emergence made the outfield mix a little trickier. Still, his line in September – .217/.280/.609 – wasn’t all that bad.

  • You remember that the Cubs had six homers from six different players in Game 3 of the NLDS, but did you know that it was just the third time in baseball history (the other two being during the regular season) that a team’s 1-2-3-4-5-6 batters had homered in a game? And one of those two regular season ones came during THIS regular season (it was the Mets, just two months earlier)? That’s crazy. Next up: some team goes back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back to start a game. That team will be the 2016 Cubs.
  • The Cardinals scored six runs on Jake Arrieta in that NLDS game, by the way, but still lost. They hadn’t lost any of their last 54 games in which they scored at least six runs.
  • Speaking of those Mets, by beating Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw in the same postseason, they became the first team to do that against the top three Cy Young finishers.

  • David Ross’s double duty as pitcher-then-homer-hitter comes in for a mention, which was all the more incredible because that was Ross’s only homer of the year (thus, he hit it as a pitcher, not a catcher). He did have two very close calls, though – remember the time he hit that monster bomb in the tight game against Corey Kluber at Wrigley? It would have given the Cubs an early lead in what was ultimately a one-run game, but it was taken off the board. It was a good 20 feet foul, but was initially called a homer – reversed on replay. Sahadev Sharma reminded me yesterday of Ross’s other near homer – it came in a July game against the Rockies when the Cubs had blown a 9th inning lead, and Ross crushed one to center and it looked like he had just won the game, but the Wrigley wind knocked it down.
  • My own addition to the strange but true? Both of those games where David Ross nearly hit a decisive homer for the Cubs were thereafter won on Kris Bryant walk-off home runs. You remember them both and the iconic images they generated. If Ross’s two near-homers go out, neither of those Bryant moments happen at all. How about that?

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