The Astros, of all teams, recorded their third shutout Tuesday and beat the Cubs 3-0 in the first matchup of 100-loss teams since 1962.
Houston handed the Cubs their 100th loss by winning 3-0 on Monday, setting up the historic matchup. Tonight’s game featured the same score. The Cubs fell to 60-101 for the season, though that still leaves them five games ahead of the 55-106 Astros in the NL Central.
The last time two 100-loss teams met was fifty years ago, when the Cubs played the expansion Mets at the end of the 1962 season. Those Cubs finished 59-103, while the Mets, one of the worst teams of the century, went 40-120.
The Astros also beat the Brewers 7-0 on Sunday, so this gives the team three straight shutouts. Bud Norris did the bulk of the work tonight, pitching six scoreless innings. The Astros are the third team this season to notch three straight shutouts. The Giants did it four games in a row in June, and the Braves did it earlier this month. It’s just the third time in franchise history the Astros have pulled it off. They did it once in 1974 and again in their NLCS year of 1986.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.