Chicago Cubs run differential keeps on climbing
The Chicago Cubs are nearing the century mark.
With their 8-6 victory Friday over the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field, they improved their run differential to a plus-98.
That is by far the best in the major leagues. Entering the day, the Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals were at plus-45, and the New York Mets were plus-42.
In the American League, four teams had not even scored 100 runs.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon credits the starting pitching as much as the offense, and first baseman Anthony Rizzo notices.
"Very, very little have we had to come back this year," said Rizzo, who hit his 10th homer of the season Friday. "Today, we're down 2, which is not what we've done all year. They (the pitchers) have really let us go out and play and just hit, and we let them go out and pitch."
The Cubs entered Friday tied for the second-highest run differential through 27 games with the 1939 New York Yankees. The 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates were at plus-111 through 27 games.
Montero keeps working:
Catcher Miguel Montero continues his rehab from lower-back tightness. He has been on the disabled list, effective April 25.
"It feels better," he said. "It's coming along good. Obviously, I'm not going to rush it, and I'm going to take my time with it and see."
Montero and the Cubs will have to decide whether he will go on a minor league rehab assignment. Montero sounded as if he'd rather not go.
"I don't know," he said. "I only lost eight games, so it's not really that much. It's not up to me. If they ask me, I don't think I really need a rehab. Like I say, it's not my decision."
Minor league honors:
The Cubs named infielder Chesny Young and right-handed pitcher Paul Blackburn their minor league player and pitcher of the month for April, respectively. Both players are at Class AA Tennessee.
Young, 23, batted .402 (33-for-82) with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers, 13 runs and 9 RBI in 22 April games. He drew 16 walks contributing to a .505 OBP and posted a 1.029 OPS.
Blackburn, 22, went 3-0 with an 0.29 ERA in 5 April starts, his first outings at the Class AA level. After allowing 1 earned run in 5 innings in his season debut, Blackburn did not allow an earned run in his next 4 starts, totaling 26 innings.
Makeup dates announced:
The Cubs have announced makeup dates for games rained out earlier this season.
The postponed April 27 game between the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers is scheduled to be made up Tuesday, Aug. 16, as the first game of a split doubleheader at Wrigley Field. The makeup game will be played at 12:20 p.m. and will be followed by the regularly scheduled game at 7:05 p.m. Separate tickets are required for each game, and gates will reopen approximately 90 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Tickets to the April 27 game at Wrigley Field will be honored for the 12:20 p.m. August 16 game. No ticket exchange is necessary.
The April 30 rainout between the Cubs and Atlanta Braves is scheduled to be made up Thursday, July 7 at 7:05 p.m. Tickets to the April 30 game will be honored for the July 7 game. No ticket exchange is necessary. The Ron Santo replica statue giveaway presented by TransUnion will be distributed to the first 10,000 early arriving fans.