Chicago Cubs: Ross puts Cubs on his back in final home game

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In his final regular season game at Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs’ catcher David Ross made it count with a solo home run that would eventually be the winning run in a 3-1 victory.

Chicago Cubs (99-56) fans gave David Ross a night to remember in his final home game. He walked up to a standing ovation in each of his at-bats, and cranked his tenth home run of the year, giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

In his second year as a Cub, Ross is putting together his best offensive season since 2012 when he was in Atlanta. He’s slashing .230/.435/.773 in 200 plate appearances and recorded the third highest RBI total of his career (32) even though he split playing time with Miguel Montero and Willson Contreras.

Ross’ home run came off of St. Louis Cardinals’ starter Carlos Martinez (15-9, 3.17 ERA) in the fifth inning. Ross has hit Martinez well this year, slashing .364/.727/1.091 in 11 at bats. Martinez came into the game allowing a .205 BA against righties.

Baseball has a way of repaying those that play the game with respect.

Ross’ battery mate, Jon Lester (19-4, 2.28 ERA), has spoken openly all year about the amount of respect he has for David. He credits Ross with being a motivator to him in tough times and helping him develop his cut-fastball.

Lester’s cutter ranks 17.1 runs above league average and has induced a career-high 68.2% swing-rate this year. By throwing it 25% of the time, Lester can use his changeup and curveball on the outer half of the plate to keep righties from cheating on an inside cutter.

Tonight, Lester tossed 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and striking out seven.

It can be argued that the pitching staff is Chicago’s strength heading towards October, even more so than their prolific offense. They lead the league in a multitude of categories, including ERA (3.09) and WHIP (1.011).

Both Contreras and Addison Russel added insurance RBIs of their own, stretching the lead to the final score of 3-1.

Even though the Cubs rank in the middle of the pack in fielding percentage and errors, it’s hard to argue that they’re an average defensive team . The club’s Defensive Efficiency Ratio tells the rest of that tale.

The Cubs convert over 73% of plays into outs, and have saved a league-high 82 runs this year. Players like Russell, Dexter Fowler, and Jason Heyward lead the league in defensive ratings at their respective positions.

Best of all, the Cubs have shown no signs of slowing down as the calendar winds into the playoffs.

With this loss, the Cardinals fall 1/2 game behind the San Francisco Giants for the second Wild Card spot. With all seven of their remaining games at home, where they are 33-41, St. Louis will need some help if they are going to make the postseason.

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