Cubs Stat of the Day: Sept./Oct. 2021
MLB.com is keeping track of a Stat of the Day for the Cubs this season, highlighting a unique, interesting or fun nugget from each game.
Oct. 3: Cubs 3, Cardinals 2 (7 innings) -- All-time roster in 2021
When catcher Tyler Payne pinch-hit for the Cubs in the fifth inning of the season's final game, it gave the North Siders an MLB-record 68 players used this season. That surpassed the 67 used by the 2019 Mariners. The 2021 Cubs upped their list to 69 in the bottom of the frame, when reliever Joe Biagini took the mound. Payne also gave the Cubs 15 players who made their MLB debut this season. With Payne and Biagini appearing, Chicago extended its club record for Cubs debuts to 44 this year.
Oct. 2: Cubs 6, Cardinals 5 -- Thompson's first slam
Outfielder Trayce Thompson went 3-for-4 for the Cubs, launching his first career grand slam in the fifth inning in St. Louis. Through 14 games and 32 plate appearances with Chicago, Thompson has hit .280/.438/.800 with four homers, nine RBIs and seven walks. That is already more home runs than he had in 2018 (his last MLB season), and as many RBIs and walks. In '18, Thompson had 137 PAs in 51 games with the A's and White Sox.
Oct. 1: Cardinals 4, Cubs 3 -- Batterymates join rare club
Right-handed pitcher Cory Abbott and catcher Erick Castillo each made their first Major League start. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the first time since Sept. 14, 2017, that Cubs batterymates (Jen-Ho Tseng and Taylor Davis) each made their first MLB start in the same game. As it happened, both players also collected their first career hits. It marks the first time in the Modern Era (since 1900) that Cubs batterymates each had a hit in their first MLB start in the same game. That had not happened in MLB since Luther Hackman and Ben Petrick turned the trick on Sept. 1, 1999, for the Rockies.
Sept. 30: Cubs 9, Pirates 0 -- Ortega's home run and run home
Cubs center fielder Rafael Ortega led off the finale in Pittsburgh with a home run. He then singled in the second and went on to steal both third base and home in the frame. According to STATS, that made Ortega the first player in the Modern Era (since 1900) to hit a leadoff homer and steal third and home in the same game.
Sept. 29: Cubs 3, Pirates 2 -- Giambrone's debut
When rookie Trent Giambrone pinch-hit in the eighth inning for the Cubs, he became the 65th player used this season by the ballclub. That extended the team's single-season franchise record and established a National League record as well. The MLB record of 67 players used in one season was set by the 2019 Mariners. Giambrone also became the 40th player (club record) to make his Cubs debut this season. Thirteen of those have been MLB debuts, the most for the Cubs since 2012.
Sept. 28: Pirates 8, Cubs 6 -- Martini's four knocks
Outfielder Nick Martini entered the night 5-for-27 on the season, then delivered four hits against the Pirates to set a single-game career high. In fact, Martini had not enjoyed so much as a three-hit game since Sept. 9, 2019, when he did so for the Padres. The opponent in that game two years ago? The Cubs, naturally.
Sept. 26: Cardinals 4, Cubs 2 -- Get a whiff of Thompson
In his three-inning start against the Cardinals, rookie Keegan Thompson not only set a career high with seven strikeouts, but also with 14 swinging strikes. Per Statcast, the right-hander had 14 whiffs combined in his previous five starts this season. Nine of his whiffs against St. Louis came via the cutter.
Sept. 25: Cardinals 8, Cubs 5 -- Contreras gets to old batterymate
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras has caught 548 of lefty Jon Lester's career innings. Only Cubs manager David Ross (578 2/3) ranks higher on Lester's list of all-time batterymates. Perhaps that knowledge has helped Contreras' production against the veteran Cardinals starter. Contreras had an RBI single and an RBI double in three at-bats vs. Lester. In their first meeting as ex-teammates on May 17, Contreras went 2-for-3 with a homer off the left-hander.
Sept. 24: Cards 8, Cubs 5 (Game 1); Cards 12, Cubs 4 (Game 2) -- Hit streak at 13
Cubs first baseman Frank Schwindel went 1-for-4 with a double in Game 1 of Friday's doubleheader against the Cardinals, and then went 2-for-3 with a double in the nightcap. That upped Schwindel's career-best hitting streak to 13 games. That also tied the longest hitting streak of the season for the Cubs, who also received a 13-game run by Kris Bryant from May 17-31. Schwindel has hit at a .393 (22-for-56) clip over his streak.
Sept. 22: Twins 5, Cubs 4 -- Schwindel extends streak
With his single in the third inning against the Twins, Frank Schwindel extended his career-best hitting streak to 11 games. He finished the contest 2-for-4 (with a double in the ninth). Over the course of his streak, the Cubs first baseman has hit .388/.423/.694 with three homers, six doubles and seven multihit showings.
Sept. 21: Twins 9, Cubs 5 -- Twice is nice for Trayce
When Trayce Thompson homered on Sunday in Milwaukee, it marked his first blast in the big leagues in 1,235 days. He had not gone yard in the Majors since May 3, 2018, when he suited up for the White Sox. So, naturally, Thompson homered again against the Twins -- a solo shot off Griffin Jax in the second inning -- giving him a blast in consecutive games for the Cubs after that long drought between home runs.
Sept. 19: Cubs 6, Brewers 4 -- Wisdom makes history
Patrick Wisdom's three-run homer in the eighth inning against the Brewers gave him 27 shots on the season. That established a new single-season record for a Cubs rookie, surpassing the 26 Kris Bryant belted in his 2015 National League Rookie of the Year campaign. Next on the list in Cubs history are Billy Williams (25 in 1961), Ian Happ (24 in 2017) and Geovany Soto (23 in 2008).
Sept. 18: Brewers 6, Cubs 4 -- Steele gets first hit
In the third inning, Cubs rookie pitcher Justin Steele sent a 96 mph sinker from Brewers ace Corbin Burnes up the middle and into center field for a leadoff single. That was not only the first hit of Steele's MLB career, but it snapped a run of 36 consecutive batters faced by Burnes with no hits allowed, dating back to Sept. 5. Steele then came around to score the Cubs' first run of the year against Burnes, who had 16 shutout innings against them to that point.
Sept. 17: Brewers 8, Cubs 5 -- Schwindel's soaring OPS
Frank Schwindel kept his hot streak going with another two-hit performance, which included his 14th homer of the season (13th in 42 games with the Cubs). The first baseman now has a 1.103 OPS, which is the highest mark by a Cubs batter since at least 1901 in his first 42 games with the franchise (min. 150 plate appearances). Behind Schwindel are Hank Sauer (1.090 in 1949), Hack Wilson (1.078 in 1926), Chuck Klein (1.077 in 1934) and Nick Castellanos (1.070 in 2019).
Sept. 16: Phillies 17, Cubs 8 -- (Un)lucky sevens
The Cubs scored seven runs in the third inning, only to then allow a seven-run inning in the fourth. That marked the second time this season that Chicago both recorded a seven-run frame and allowed at least seven runs in an inning in the same game. The other instance came on June 30 at Milwaukee, when the Cubs scored seven runs in the top of the first before conceding eight runs in the fourth en route to a 15-7 loss. The Cubs are the first team in the Modern Era to lose two games in a season by at least seven runs after leading by at least seven runs, according to STATS.
Sept. 15: Phillies 6, Cubs 5 -- Close, but not enough
Robinson Chirinos hit a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth inning, and after the Phillies retook the lead in the bottom of the frame, Matt Duffy added a game-tying solo shot in the ninth. It marked just the third time in franchise history that the Cubs hit a game-tying homer in both the eighth and ninth innings of the same game.
The most recent instance came on May 27, 2002, against the Pirates, when Corey Patterson homered in the eighth and Bobby Hill went deep in the ninth. The Cubs ultimately lost that game, 3-2, in 10 innings. The other such game came May 14, 1978, when Bobby Murcer and Dave Kingman pulled off the feat against the Dodgers. Kingman later hit a three-run blast -- his third homer of the game -- in the 15th inning to lift the Cubs to a 10-7 win.
Sept. 14: Cubs 6, Phillies 3 -- Sharing some Wisdom
Patrick Wisdom hit his 26th home run of the season, matching Kris Bryant's franchise rookie record. Wisdom has needed only 329 plate appearances to hit his 26 homers -- 321 fewer than Bryant's 650 in his 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award-winning campaign.
Sept. 12: Giants 6, Cubs 5 -- Homer Happ-y
Ian Happ's solo homer in the fourth inning gave him eight big flies in his past 16 games. In fact, Happ's 11 home runs going back to Aug. 13 are tied with Phillies star Bryce Harper for the most in the National League in that time period.
Sept. 11: Giants 15, Cubs 4 -- Team HR streak ends at 16
With no home runs against the Giants, the Cubs saw their run of consecutive games with a blast end at 16, dating back to Aug. 23. It marked the longest such streak for Chicago since the North Siders enjoyed a franchise-record 17-game stretch with at least one homer from Aug. 19-Sept. 5, 1998.
Sept. 10: Giants 6, Cubs 1 -- Schwindel's latest homer
Frank Schwindel launched a solo home run in the fourth inning, giving the Cubs' first baseman seven dingers in his last 11 games. He joins Patrick Wisdom (done multiple times) as the only Cubs batters this season to have as many as seven homers in an 11-game span. Prior to that duo this season, Kris Bryant was the last Cubs batter to pull off that feat (seven homers in 11-game stretch from May 6-17, 2019).
Sept. 8: Cubs 4, Reds 1 -- Happ sees red against Reds
Ian Happ's first-inning blast against the Reds extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games and gave him a homer in each of his last three games. It also marked his MLB-leading seventh against Cincinnati this season.
In fact, Happ ranks sixth among active players in career homers against the Reds with 22 in 70 games. He trails Albert Pujols (47 in 180 games), Anthony Rizzo (34 in 153 games), Andrew McCutchen (32 in 166 games), Yadier Molina (26 in 235 games) and Kris Bryant (23 in 94 games).
Sept. 7: Reds 4, Cubs 3 -- Hammerin' Happ in midst of hot streak
With a first-inning single against the Reds, Ian Happ extended his hitting streak to a career-best eight games. The outfielder finished the night with three hits, including his 20th homer of the season, to give him a .429 (15-for-35) average during his hitting streak. Since Aug. 12, Happ has turned in a .376/.411/.776 slash line across 23 games, raising his season OPS from .599 to .725 in that period.
Sept. 6: Cubs 4, Reds 3 -- What a relief
The Cubs' win over the Reds gave the club a season-high winning streak of seven games. Chicago’s bullpen was credited with four scoreless innings in the victory, giving the relief corps a combined two earned runs allowed in 35 innings over that seven-game stretch. That equates to an impressive 0.51 ERA during the winning streak.
Sept. 5: Cubs 11, Pirates 8 -- Duffy's day of dingers
After getting the Cubs on the board with a solo shot in the bottom of the second, Matt Duffy came up with the bases loaded in the third and drove the ball into the left-field bleachers. Duffy's second homer of the day helped the 30-year-old reach a couple of personal milestones. It was the first grand slam of Duffy's career, and with two home runs on the day -- the first two he's hit at Wrigley Field -- it marked his first career multihomer game.
Sept. 4: Cubs 7, Pirates 6 -- K No. 1,000 for Hendricks
With a first-inning strikeout of Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings, Kyle Hendricks reached one of his first major pitching milestones. That punchout notched the 1,000th of the the 31-year-old's big league career. His first strikeout came on July 10, 2014, against the Reds, when he got Chris Heisey with a 1-2 sinker.
Sept. 3: Cubs 6, Pirates 5 -- Hometown kid has a day
In the bottom of the fourth, Michael Hermosillo smacked a ball over the left-field bleachers to mark his first home run -- and first big moment -- at Wrigley Field. Hermosillo attended Ottawa High School (Ill.) and grew up a Cubs fan. The dinger capped off a day in which he also doubled and singled in the first and second innings, respectively, making it the first three-hit game of his career.
Sept. 2: Cubs 6, Pirates 5 (11) -- Cubs on a winning streak
The Cubs haven't had much to show for in the winning department over the last two months, but they've managed to take advantage of other struggling clubs on their schedule as of late. After sweeping a two-game set in Minnesota, Chicago took the series opener against Pittsburgh for its third consecutive victory, the Cubs' first three-game streak since they won five in a row from June 8-13.
Sept. 1: Cubs 3, Twins 0 -- Schwindel's magic number
There must be something that Frank Schwindel really likes about the No. 3. With runners on second and third in the top of the third inning, Schwindel drove one over the left-field wall to put the Cubs ahead, 3-0. That was the first three-run home run of Schwindel's career, and it extended his homer streak to a career-high three consecutive games.