Fun facts regarding Harang's homer

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Aaron Harang’s three-run bomb off the Cubs’ Randy Wells in the second inning of Friday’s game…

… was his first in 390 career at-bats.

… gave him his first run scored in 233 at-bats since Apr. 8, 2006.

… bumped both his career OBP and slugging percentage over the century
mark. His career line went from .087/.099/.098 to .090/.101/.108.

… upped his career high for RBI in a season from three to six.

Harang has actually improved considerably as a hitter since arriving
from the AL in 2003. He bottomed out in 2005, going 2-for-74 (.027)
without any extra-base hits or walks and 39 strikeouts. Since then,
he’s hit .108 in 2006, .095 in 2007 and .130 in 2008. He entered today
at .143 for this year. Still, he had allowed 367 runs since scoring his
last run.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.