Morning Rewind, 8/31: These aren't your father's Cubs
By JOHN DORN
When you think of the Chicago Cubs, it's perfectly understandable if the first thing that comes to mind is losing. Well, green ivy and losing. The team has made the playoffs just six times since 1946, and 12 times total in the franchise's 140-year history. Of course, their last world championship came more than a century ago in 1908.
But these Cubs -- Joe Maddon's Cubs -- there's just something about them. Their .574 winning percentage is their best since the 2008 season, and you have to go back to 1989 to find another comparable campaign. Things seem to be breaking right for Chicago these days -- breaking like Jake Arrieta's 95 mile-per-hour sinker that capped off the righty's first career no-hitter on Sunday Night Baseball.
Arrieta continued his amazing season, notching his 17th win, third complete game and second shutout. As the Cubs have finally come around, so has the 29-year-old Arrieta, who after five seasons in the league -- combining for a 34-32 record and a 4.48 ERA -- seems to have it all figured out.
Of course, he was due for a postgame shower on the Dodger Stadium grass.
And, for some reason, the pitcher suited up in his mustache onesie for the postgame quotes.
Interesting choice. But who are we to judge? Arrieta and the Cubs -- at 74-55 -- would be leading both the NL East and West divisions. They're currently slated in a Wild Card slot, but with a new charge in them heading into September, keep an eye on Chicago, which has an energy around Wrigley Field that's been missing for years.
Cubs 2, Dodgers 0
Around the League
TOR 9, DET 2
Another day, another Blue Jays rout. Josh Donaldson mashed his 36th homer of the year, while Kevin Pillar, Russell Martin and Edwin Encarnacion each added a pair of RBIs, maintaining Toronto's 1.5-game lead over the Yankees in the East.
NYM 5, BOS 4
It'd been a disappointing series at home for the Mets against the lowly Red Sox, dropping the first two in front of huge crowds. But Noah Syndergaard kept Boston at bay through most of his 6.2 innings, the offense turned on late and Jeurys Familia locked down his 35th save of the season to salvage one game in the series.
TB 3, KC 2
A sixth-inning home run off the bat of Kevin Kiermaier broke a 2-2 tie and put Tampa in front of the AL-leading Royals, securing their 64th win of the year, and maintaining faint playoff hopes. The Rays sit 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card position.
CLE 9, LAA 2
After winning their fifth straight, Cleveland has now crept to within three games of .500, and sit a mere five games out of a playoff position. They still have three teams to leapfrog, but to put the parity into perspective, the Indians are closer to a Wild Card than the San Francisco Giants, who are the closest team to the NL's second spot. The fact that the W came on rookie initiation day made it even sweeter.
COL 5, PIT 0
Jorge De La Rosa went six scoreless for Colorado on the road, setting up the bullpen to close the game out in the same fashion. Just four Pirates reached base, and the Rockies escaped PNC Park without getting swept.
WSH 7, MIA 4
The Nationals continue to beat up on their weak schedule, but can hardly manage to re-climb the NL East standings, with the Mets facing equally as horrid opposition. They came back from an early deficit, but remain 5.5 games back of New York with a road series against the NL-best Cardinals looming.
NYY 20, ATL 6
For the second time this year, the Yankees have put up a 20-spot. Somehow, Stephen Drew led the way, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs, while he, Jacoby Ellsbury and Chase Headley all homered at Turner Field in the blowout.
SD 9, PHI 4
The Padres piled it on Alec Asher early, while James Shields went seven strong for San Diego, allowing just one run in the victory.
MIL 4, CIN 1
Martin Maldonado cranked a pair of double, Jean Segura tripled and Ryan Bruan smashed his 24th home run of the year in the battle of NL Central Division rejects.
MIN 7, HOU 5
Somehow, the Minnesota Twins continue to come on strong. They've won eight of their last 10, standing at 67-63 and just a game-and-a-half out of the final AL Wild Card spot.
CWS 6, SEA 5
We got our dose of walk-off action in the South side of Chicago, with the White Sox triumphing over Seattle. Tyler Saladino did the honors, singling off David Rollins in the 11th, driving in Alexei Ramirez for the sixth and winning run. Which led to some hard postgame cheesing.
TEX 6, BAL 0
Texas continues to impress, winning the seventh in their last 10, pounding the Orioles, who are now 63-67 and falling fast out of the Wild Card race.
STL 7, SF 5
The Cardinals are now 84-46, and are comfortably the best team in the Major Leagues. We still have a month between now and playoff time, but an NLDS matchup against one of their division rivals is seeming more and more likely.
OAK 7, ARI 4
It took 11 innings, but in Arizona, the Athletics chipped away and put three runs across the plate against Brad Ziegler and A.J. Schugel.
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