Thanks to a little help from the Mets, the Cubs rallied for a 6-5 win this afternoon at Wrigley Field to finish off a four-game sweep.
The Mets got out to an early 5-1 lead behind two home runs from Anthony Recker, a solo shot from Wilmer Flores, and a two-run single from John Mayberry, Jr., which chased Travis Wood from the ballgame. However, the Cubs tied things up against Jon Niese by batting around in the bottom of the fifth inning. A throwing error from Wilmer Flores helped open the door for more damage, but Niese gave up four hits and a walk in the frame.
Niese stuck around until the seventh inning when he gave up a one-out single to Dexter Fowler before hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. He was relieved by Hansel Robles, who got Kris Bryant to fly out to right field, but Fowler moved over to third base on the play and eventually came around to score the go-ahead run when Recker was charged with a passed ball during Starlin Castro’s at-bat. Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon followed with scoreless innings to finish off the victory for Chicago.
This was the Cubs’ first four-game sweep at Wrigley Field since May 29-June 1, 2008 against the Rockies and their first four-game sweep against the Mets since August 6-9, 1992.
The Mets are 7-12 since their 11-game winning streak and now sit at 20-15 on the year, just one game ahead of the Nationals in the National League East. As for the Cubs, they improved to 19-15 on the year with the sweep and find themselves five games behind the first-place Cardinals in the National League Central.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays announced that right-hander Alex Cobb underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his right elbow today.
The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews. Cobb was initially diagnosed with forearm tendinitis in March, but he suffered a full tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow while rehabbing the injury. He was given a platelet-rich plasma injection in hopes of avoiding surgery, but his season is now officially over and he’ll likely be out of the mix until late in the 2016 season.
Drew Smyly was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his left shoulder earlier this week and could also need season-ending surgery, so these losses are going to be very tough for the Rays to overcome. Matt Moore is nearing a minor league rehab assignment as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery, but command is often the last thing to return and he averaged 4.3 BB/9 in the majors prior to the procedure.
Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays to move into fourth-place on baseball’s all-time list with his 661st career home run tonight against the Orioles. He’s currently 53 home runs away from tying Babe Ruth for third all-time. It’s not impossible. Heck, most had pretty low or even non-existent expectations for him coming off his year-long absence with a PED suspension, so he has already proved a lot of people wrong. Still, it’s a lot to ask from someone who turns 40 in July and is playing on two surgically-repaired hips. Who knows how long this will last.
While catching Ruth is likely a longshot, 3,000 career hits could be Rodriguez’s next milestone. After going 2-for-3 tonight against Baltimore, he’s sitting on 2,962 career hits. That puts him just 38 away from becoming the 29th player in MLB history to join the historic club. With the way Rodriguez is swinging the bat right now, it’s realistic that he could be able to do it by the All-Star break if he can stay healthy. Derek Jeter (2011) was the last player in MLB to reach 3,000 career hits.
Only four players have reached 500 career home runs and 3,000 career hits: Hank Aaron, Mays, Eddie Murray, and Rafael Palmeiro. It’s easy to forget that Palmeiro is in that club with the way he has faded into oblivion since being disgraced, but Rodriguez has a good chance to be the fifth member soon.
While these don’t register nearly as high on the attention-getting scale, here are a couple of other numbers to follow with A-Rod:
- Rodriguez is fifth on MLB’s all-time list with 1,987 RBI. He’s just eight away from tying Lou Gehrig for fourth and nine away from Barry Bonds. That could happen pretty quickly, which would leave only Ruth (2,213) and Aaron (2,297).
- Rodriguez is ninth all-time with 1,935 runs scored. He’s just 14 away from tying Stan Musial for eighth while he’s 65 away from Tris Speaker. Reaching Speaker this year would likely be a bit of a stretch, but he should pass Musial this summer if his health cooperates.