March 0-1, April 17-9, May 18-11, June 15-12, July 15-11, August 20-8, September 12-12.
Center of attention:
Signing veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds in mid-May after he had been released by the Padres. Edmonds had hit .178 with San Diego, but the addition of him plus Reed Johnson, who was released by the Blue Jays in late March, gave the Cubs a solid 1-2 punch in center.
Hard luck in Cubs' favor: The acquisition of right-hander Rich Harden from the Athletics July 8 gave the Cubs experience in rotation, even if they had to be careful about his pitch count. He was 5-1 with a 1.66 ERA for Chicago.
Big Z makes history: Carlos Zambrano's no-hitter on Sept. 14 vs. Houston at Miller Park was the first by a Cubs pitcher in 36 years. Zambrano was 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA in July, but he had struggled in August, going 1-1 with a 7.43 ERA. His start came after being sidelined with shoulder tendinitis.
The Cubs swept a four-game series against the Brewers at Miller Park on July 28-31, beating CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets in the first two games, to open their lead in the division to five games. They came into the series having won four out of 10 games since the All-Star break.
.278, 2nd in NL
855, 1st in NL
184, 5th in NL
.800, 1st in NL
Avg.: Ryan Theriot, .307
HRs: Alfonso Soriano, 29
RBIs: Aramis Ramirez, 111
Runs: Mark DeRosa, 103
OPS: Ramirez, .898
SB: Theriot, 22
The top hitting team in the NL was balanced from top to bottom. Speedy Soriano and Theriot set the table for Derrek Lee and Ramirez, just like last year. In the lower part of the order, the offense received new boosts from catcher Geovany Soto (.285, 23 HRs), second baseman DeRosa (.285, 21 HRs) and the center-field platoon of Edmonds and Johnson (26 HRs combined).
3.85, 3rd in NL
4.19, 2nd in NL
3.76, 3rd in NL
1,264, 1st in NL
160, tied for 6th fewest in NL
.242, 1st in NL
Wins: Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster, 17
ERA (starter): Ryan Dempster, 2.96
ERA (reliever): Carlos Marmol, 2.68
Strikeouts: Ryan Dempster, 187
Saves: Kerry Wood, 34
Holds: Carlos Marmol, 30
HRs allowed: Ted Lilly, 32
Opponents BA: Ryan Dempster, .227
The Cubs consistently received six strong innings from their starters, and they had two of the best relievers in the league pitching in the eighth and ninth. Dempster, Lilly and Zambrano finished with at least 14 wins each, while midseason pickup Harden compiled a 1.66 ERA. Marmol led all relievers in strikeouts as the setup man for Kerry Wood, who made a smooth transition from starter to closer.
.983, tied for 9th in NL
99, 9th in NL
Defense wasn't a strong point for the Cubs, but it wasn't an Achilles' heel either. In left, Soriano was the biggest liability due to his poor instincts. However, right fielder Kosuke Fukudome was among the league's best all-around fielders. Utilityman DeRosa provided adequate defense at multiple infield and outfield spots.
CUBS VS. DODGERS
May 26: Cubs 3, Dodgers 1
-- Lee's 250th homer backs Dempster
May 27: Cubs 3, Dodgers 1
-- Sean Gallagher beats Dodgers with seven strong innings
May 28: Cubs 2, Dodgers 1
-- Soriano slaps walk-off single in 10th
June 5: Cubs 5, Dodgers 4
-- Fukudome rescues Cubs late
June 6: Dodgers 3, Cubs 0
-- Hiroki Kuroda tosses shutout to beat Gallagher
June 7: Dodgers 7, Cubs 3
-- Big Z loses game, is unhappy
June 8: Cubs 3, Dodgers 1
-- Marquis solid on Sunday Night Baseball
CUBS VS. PLAYOFF TEAMS
vs. Red Sox: