The 10 most incredible facts about the Cubs' magical start to the season
The Chicago Cubs are off to one of the greatest starts in MLB history this season. They've won 24 of their first 30 games, and it's arguable that they haven't even hit their stride just yet. Their presumed starter in left field, Kyle Schwarber, is out for the year after playing just two games and slugger Anthony Rizzo is hitting just .270, which is up from what it was a few weeks ago.
The Cubs' lineup is littered with young, power-hitting players, and the pitching rotation is led by the best ace in baseball, Jake Arrieta. Only time will tell if Chicago can keep up this torrid pace, but they're on the right track to making a World Series appearance in October.
Here are the 10 most incredible facts about their historic start to the 2016 season.
1. They're the eighth team to start 24-6 or better through 30 games in the last 80 years. The last team to start with a better record was the Detroit Tigers in 1984 (26-4). Only one of the last seven teams to start 24-6 or better failed to reach the World Series, and that was the Oakland Athletics in 1981, who lost in the ALCS. Given the history, the Cubs have a good shot at reaching the Fall Classic.
2. ... Four of those teams won the World Series. This speaks for itself. History shows that the Cubs have as good a chance as any team in baseball to win the World Series and are the clear-cut favorites to win it all. Chicago could be the fifth team to win the World Series after starting 24-6 or better in the last 80 years.
3. They're on pace to win 129 games, which would shatter the previous MLB record. The 2001 Mariners won 116 games, which the Cubs are projected to obliterate after just 30 games. While baseball is a game of streaks, Chicago has gotten off to a terrific start and have a real chance at eclipsing 116 wins.
4. The Cubs are the second-fastest team to reach plus-100 run differential. With their win on Saturday, the Cubs became the fastest team in MLB history to reach plus-100 run differential (29 games). Only the Pirates in 1902 reached the mark faster (26 games) and went on to finish with a 103-36-3 record. They're outscoring opponents by an average of 3.4 runs per game.
5. They have the same number of saves as the seven-win Braves. Piggybacking off that last fact, the Cubs are blowing teams out of the water. So much so that they have just six saves -- the same number as the seven-win Braves. The Cubs have only given closer Hector Rondon eight save opportunities, with only the Yankees having fewer chances for saves.
6. The bullpen has held opponents to a .184 batting average -- best in the National League. This is a testament to how dominant the bullpen has been despite most games being out of reach by the time relievers get into the game. Rondon leads the bunch with a minuscule 0.79 ERA and has allowed just four hits in 11 1/3 innings. That's sheer dominance.
7. Chicago has two players in the top eight in RBI. Those two players are Rizzo (28 RBI) and Ben Zobrist (25 RBI), the second of which is a major surprise. No other team has two in the top 10, with only the Rockies boasting two in the top 15. There's a reason why the Cubs lead all of baseball with 184 runs.
8. Their team ERA of 2.48 is the best in MLB. A big reason for this is the fact that Arrieta holds an ERA of 1.13. The next closest team is the Cubs' cross-town rival White Sox, whose team ERA is 2.78. The Cubs are also tied for fourth in quality starts (21).
9. They're averaging more runs per game than the 116-win Mariners in 2001. The Mariners won a record 116 games in 2001 after starting 23-7 -- one game worse than the Cubs. Furthermore, the Cubs are averaging more runs per game (6.1) than those same Mariners (5.7). Granted, it's still fairly early in the season, but the Cubs' offense is as prolific as any in baseball history.
10. The last time the Cubs started with a better record, they won the World Series in 1907. Need we say more? The 2016 Cubs are on to something special and could go down as the best team in franchise history ... if it ends with a parade.