With an easy 8-1 win over the Cubs on Saturday night, the Cardinals claimed their 50th victory in 74 games. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch notes, they’re the quickest to 50 wins since the 2005 world champion White Sox, when they started out 50-22.
Other relevant notes, per Langosch: in the last 50 years, only 18 teams have reached 50 wins before losing their 25th game. Of those 17 teams (excluding this year’s Cardinals, of course), four won it all: the ’05 White Sox, the 1998 Yankees, the ’86 Mets, and the ’84 Tigers. 13 of those 17 teams reached 100-plus wins. Only two of them failed to reach the playoffs.
The Cardinals currently own an eight-game lead over the second-place Pirates, by far the largest lead in any of the six divisions. All this, despite losing Adam Wainwright, Matt Adams, and Matt Holliday to injuries.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.