A DANDY DOZEN: Despite last night’s 3-0 setback at Dodger Stadium, evening this four-game series at one win apiece, the Chicago Cubs have won 10 of their last 12 games into this afternoon’s tilt
ON THE RECORD:
… the Cubs are 20-8, a .714 winning percentage, in their last 28 games starting May 9.
This series at Dodger Stadium wraps up a stretch of 14 games in a row against National League West competition
… the Cubs are 10-2 through the first 12 games
… overall, the Cubs are 17-4, an .810 winning percentage, vs. the National League West this season, including wins in 12 of their last 14 games.
The Cubs remain the only team in baseball to have not lost more than two games in a row at any point this season … the last time the Cubs lost back-to-back games was May 24-25 in Pittsburgh.
The Cubs boast the best record in the big leagues with a 39-23 mark, the club’s best start through its first 62 games in 31 years since 1977 when they were 40-22 (and 41-22 through 63 games) … in fact, the Cubs have been better than 39-23 through 62 games just twice in the last 90 seasons: 1977 and 1969 (41-20, one tie).
Since 1900, the Cubs have been better than 39-23 through 62 games only six times: 1977, 1969, 1918 (43-18, one tie), 1910 (40-22), 1907 (47-15) and 1906 (43-19).
After tomorrow night’s series finale, the Cubs enjoy an off day Monday before returning to Wrigley Tuesday for a brief three-game series with the Atlanta Braves … the Cubs then dive into interleague play for the first time this season with a six-game trip through Toronto and Tampa Bay starting next weekend.
IN SEARCH OF NINE:
Carlos Zambrano this afternoon is in search of his ninth win this season after starting the campaign with wins in eight of his first nine decisions … Carlos brings a seven-game winning streak into this afternoon’s tilt and is unbeaten in his last 10 starts, going 7-0 with a 2.31 ERA (17 ER/66.1 IP) in those 10 outings.
Zambrano is just the second Cubs starter since 1970 to start a season 8-1 or better, joining Kevin Tapani (2001) … Tapani would eventually fall to 8-10.
OH, AND HE CAN HIT, TOO …:
Carlos Zambrano is batting .366 (15-for-41) with two doubles, one triple, one home run, five RBI and a .537 slugging percentage this season.
Zambrano boasts a .903 OPS (on-base + slugging), a total that would rank 20th among all National League players if he had enough at-bats to qualify.
Carlos has 13 career home runs as a Cub, which places him with Fergie Jenkins atop the Cubs all-time leaderboard for home runs as a pitcher.
The Cubs with this trip began a stretch of games during which they play 23 of their next 32 contest on the road through July 6 after they started the season by playing 34 of their first 57 games at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are 13-15 on the road this year, the fourth-best road record in the National League this season … Chicago is 26-8 record at the Friendly Confines, the club’s best home start since 1918 (also 26-8) … the Cubs are one of 26 teams in the big leagues this season with a record below .500 on the road.
Chicago’s series win in San Diego this week was its first on the road since sweeping a three-game set in Pittsburgh April 7-10, its first road series of the year.
THE NEED FOR LEAD:
The Cubs have held a lead in 26 of their last 28 games starting May 9, the lone exceptions being during last night’s 3-0 loss at Los Angeles and Thursday’s 2-1 setback at San Diego, which ended a 25-game streak with a lead … the Cubs had last held a lead in at least 25-straight contests in 1935 when they had a 28-game run from July 6 to July 31.
YOU CAN CALL THEM COMEBACKS:
Eight of Chicago’s last nine victories have been in come-from-behind fashion … in fact, Chicago won four games in a row last week (May 27-30) that saw the club trailing entering the seventh inning or later, only to come back for the victory each time, including a 9-1 deficit to the Rockies on May 29 that turned into a 10-9 win.
The Cubs and Phillies tie for the major league lead with 20 come-from-behind victories this season.
IN GOOD STANDING:
The Cubs lead the Cardinals by 3.5 games in the National League Central, matching their largest lead of the season … the Cubs last held a greater than 3.5-game edge in the division on August 1, 2001, when they were 4.5 games ahead of Houston.
CLOSE COUNTS IN HORSESHOES AND CUBS GAMES:
15 of the Cubs’ last 20 games dating to May 17 have been decided by two or fewer runs, including 11 of their last 14 … eight of Chicago’s last 10 wins have been decided by two or fewer runs … five of their last six losses have been decided by two or fewer runs.
Overall this season, the Cubs have seen 35 of their 62 games decided by two runs or less, a noteworthy 56 percent.