This week’s names and numbers in baseball:
CUBS NINE TO KNOW
1. After watching Jorge Soler’s first at-bat, I wished I had trademarked ‘‘Soler Powered.’’ Soler was the 114th player in MLB history to homer in his first at-bat — 47 in the American League and 67 in the National League. My favorite is former pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm, who homered on April 23, 1952. When he retired in 1972 with 452 career at-bats, he still had just one homer.
2. When Javy Baez swings and misses, butterfly wings flutter in the Amazon. He already has had four four-strikeout games. Willie Mays also had four golden sombreros in his 22-season career.
3. The Cubs had homered in 84 of their first 132 games (63.6 percent) and were 47-37 in those games. Since 1914, 1998 is the season in which the Cubs homered in the most games; they went long in 119 games (73.4 percent) and were 73-46 in those games. They homered in 102 games last season (62.9 percent), going 52-50.
4. Travis Wood has not allowed a steal in 20 of his starts, but in the other seven, he has allowed 10.
5. In case you weren’t keeping track, Soler is the fourth rookie to homer for the Cubs this season, joining Arismendy Alcantara, Baez and Mike Olt. The franchise record is nine, set in 1974.
6. The Cubs lead the NL in batting average on 3-1 pitches. The MLB average is .347, and the Cubs were hitting .404. Anthony Rizzo has three 3-1 homers.
7. No team in the NL has allowed more two-out, bases-empty walks than the Cubs with 70. Oh, how they make me crazy.
8. Only the Miami Marlins have ended an inning by striking out more frequently than the Cubs. The Marlins had done it 409 times. The Cubs, led by Junior Lake’s 40 and Anthony Rizzo’s 38, had done it 401 times.
9. Justin Grimm leads the Cubs with 34 hitless relief appearances and 46 scoreless appearances.
WHITE SOX NINE TO KNOW
1. Clayton Kershaw allowed his first bases-loaded situation this past Wednesday; batters went 0-2 and he didn’t permit a run. The Sox’ John Danks has had 17 plate appearances with the sacks filled in 11 games. He has allowed 11 runs on three hits (all doubles) and one walk.
2. Batters are only hitting .245 against Danks and .248 against Chris Sale from the 80th pitch on but .288 against Jose Quintana.
3. The Sox and Cubs had each hit 72 homers on the road. The Sox are second to the Orioles in the AL, and the Cubs are second to the Pirates in the NL.
4. No pitching staff in baseball has had fewer 0-2 counts than the Sox with 376; the Mets staff had 516. Quintana has just 33, the fourth fewest in baseball.
5. When it comes to hitting on full counts, Adrian Gonzalez leads the majors at .400, followed by Jose Abreu at .378 and Alexei Ramirez at .375.
6. The longest no-hit bids for Sox starters this season: Sale, 5.2 IP; Quintana, 5.0 IP; Hector Noesi, 4.0; and Danks, 3.7.
7. Adam Eaton has had two or more strikeouts in only nine of his 96 games.
8. Last season, the Sox were 29th in the majors with a .980 fielding percentage. This season they are up to .983 but their Rtot, which measures defensive runs gained or lost, is minus-54, the third worst in the majors. The good news is the Sox lead the AL in turning 137 double plays.
9. Jake Petricka leads the Sox with 25 hitless relief appearances. He also leads the team with 43 scoreless appearances.
Chicago player anagram (scroll down for answer)
On Sept. 6, 1985, this future Hall of Famer hit a pair of three-run homers and drove in seven in a White Sox win. The next day, he picked up his 300th double and 900th RBI.
THE WEEK AHEAD:
The start of September means the Cubs can really make some trouble in the NL Central and wild-card races. The Brewers and the Pirates come to town to face the Cub kids. The Sox head to Minnesota and Cleveland, and my eyes are on Jose Abreu and his black ink.