When the Chicago Cubs acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees in late July this past baseball season, experts saw that move as the last acquisition that would make the Cubs the prohibitive favorite as the 2016 season was pushing to a close. Pundits saw Chapman as the shutdown closer the Cubs needed and a pitcher who could give the Cubs a save whenever they would need one for the rest of the season, and more importantly, saves in the post-season.
For the most part, Chapman fulfilled that promise. However, with a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning in the seventh game of the World Series, the unexpected happened: Chapman blew the save. Fortunately for the Cubs, they were able to regroup and win Game 7 and the World Series in extra innings. The line score for that game, however, showed Chapman as the winning pitcher and Mike Montgomery with the save for the Cubs.
Let’s look at some of the interesting stats/numbers from that Game 7 save:
- Montgomery’s save for the Cubs in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was only the 14th Game 7 of the World Series save in history. It was also the only Game 7 of the World Series save to happen in extra innings.
- Montgomery only faced one batter for his save. It was the third time in Game 7 of the World Series that a save occurred with a pitcher facing only one batter. The other times: Darold Knowles in 1973 for the Oakland A’s and Bill Hallahan in 1931 for the St. Louis Cardinals.
- The save for Montgomery was the first of his career, post-season or regular season. Knowles had 143 career regular season saves and had two save sin the ’73 World Series. The 1973 World Series was his only World Series. Hallahan had seven career saves; he made four World Series appearances… the ’31 save in Game 7 was his only World Series save.
- Of the 14 Game 7 of the World Series saves, three were less than an inning, five were one inning, 1 1/3 inning or 1 2/3 innings, six were saves of two innings or more.
- Montgomery became one of 16 pitchers to get a one-batter save in any World Series game. His was the first since Mark Buehrle did it in the 2005 World Series for the Chicago White Sox in Game 3 versus the Houston Astros.
- In addition to Montgomery’s Game 7 save, Chapman had a save for the Cubs in Game 5. Two different pitchers for the same team with a save in a World Series this year was the first since the White Sox did it in 2005 with Buehrle and Bobby Jenks.
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“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’
1. The Cubs made the playoffs in the first full season of a new manager three times since 1984. They went to the playoffs in 1984 in Jim Frey‘s first year; in 2003 in Dusty Baker‘s first season; and in 2007 in Lou Piniella‘s first year as Cubs’ skipper. Can they do the same in Dale Sveum’s first year at the helm?
2. In the last 28 seasons, the Cubs have won 85 or more games eight times. They made the playoffs in six of those seasons. The two years when they did not make the playoffs after winning 85 or more games? In 2001 they won 88 games; in 2004 they won 89 games.
3. The Cubs are one of only two franchises to have played in 20,000 or more major league games. Can you name the other franchise? Answer at the end of the blog.
4. Five players played 2,000 or more games with the Cubs: Ernie Banks (2528), Cap Anson (2277), Billy Williams (2213), Ryne Sandberg (2151) and Ron Santo (2126).
5. Here’s a few “last times”… Last time Cubs player won the N.L. MVP was 1998 (Sammy Sosa)… Last time a Cubs pitcher won the N.L. Cy Young Award was in 1992 (Greg Maddux)… Last time a Cubs rookie won the N.L. Rookie of the Year Award was 2008 (Geovany Soto)… Last time a Cubs reliever won the N.L Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the Year Award was in 1993 (Randy Myers)… Last time a Cubs manager won the N.L. Manager of the Year Award was in 2008 (Lou Piniella)..
6. The Cubs won 71 games last season. Since 1996, the Cubs have won fewer than 70 games in the season. Here’s how well they did after those five sub-70 win seasons.
1997: 68 wins (they won 90 games the next season)
1999: 67 wins (they won 65 games the next season)
2000: 65 wins (they won 88 games the next season)
2002: 67 wins (they won 88 games the next season)
2006: 66 wins (they won 85 games the next season)
Answer to item #3: The Atlanta Braves franchise has played 20,215 games in the majors. The Cubs have played 20,250. The Cubs and Braves are the two remaining charter members of the National League.