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Jose Abreu (above) could top Wally Berger’s MLB record for most homers his first 50 games. | Mark Duncan/AP

Jose Abreu (above) could top Wally Berger’s MLB record for the most homers in his first 50 games. | Mark Duncan/AP

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Updated: June 23, 2014 11:43AM



This week’s names and numbers in baseball:

CHICAGO NINE TO KNOW

1. In the Cubs’ 17-5 shellacking of the Cardinals, the Cubs hit for the cycle in the first five batters when Emilio Bonifacio doubled, Anthony Rizzo singled, Starlin Castro tripled and Mike Olt hit a two-run homer. Mark Grace is the last Cub to hit for the cycle by himself on May 9, 1993, in a 5-4 loss to the Padres.

2. As you know, the Cubs surpassed the 10,000-loss mark this past week. In their history, nine Cubs pitchers have accrued more than 100 losses, led by Charlie Root (156), Bob Rush (140) and Fergie Jenkins (132).

3. The Cubs have the lowest batting average against the fastball of any team in baseball (.237).

4. Nate Schierholtz has started 14 games in the cleanup slot and is one of five No. 4s with no homers. Yes, the White Sox’ Dayan Viciedo is 0-for-12 in games as a cleanup batter.

5. Only 3 percent of Jeff Samardzija’s fly balls go for homers.

6. In games in which the Cubs have scored two or fewer runs, they are 0-17. Last season they were 5-54.

7. The Cubs with the highest extra-base hit percentages are Junior Lake at 10.1 percent and Travis Wood at 11.1 percent. Yes, I know you’re curious: Rizzo is at 6.5 percent.

8. The Cubs have hit one grand slam in 25 bases-loaded situations. Thank you, Mike Olt.

9. Lake swings at 50.5 percent of all the first pitches he sees. Yes, that’s a lot. The Cubs as a team average 26.8 percent.

NATIONAL NINE TO KNOW

1. The Wally Berger watch: Jose Abreu homered in 12 of the first 42 games of his major-league career, the most for any White Sox player. Berger, in 1930, homered in 16 of the first 50 games of his career, the MLB record. Zeke Bonura homered in 13 of 50 in 1934, which is the Sox record.

2. In Marcus Semien’s first 158 plate appearances, he only put the first pitch in play eight times, picking up four hits.

3. Through Wednesday, the Sox bullpen had thrown the most innings (141.0) in the American League.

4. I love that Jake Petricka has gone 0-2 on 26 percent of the batters he has faced and only given up two hits to the first 25 batters, who were 0-2.

5. The bad with the good: Abreu leads the AL in swings and misses with just over a hundred. Adam Dunn led the Sox last season with 332.

6. Sox pitchers have induced 1,095 foul balls, the most in the AL.

7. It’s not his fault: Tyler Flowers had played in 18 of the Sox’ first 22 losses and hit .396, the best batting average for any batter in his team’s losses.

8. Not only does Abreu lead the majors in homers, but his 12 dingers in Sox wins are also the most in baseball.

9. Sox relievers have walked 86 batters, the most in the majors.

Chicago-gram:

Chicago player anagram • scroll down for answer

HMM Not Joy

He pitched in the majors for 26 years, seven for the Sox. May 22 is his birthday, and even though he retired in 1989, his name is the most feared in baseball, especially this season.

The Week ahead:

The Sox are going to Kansas City, Kansas City, here we come. Then start spreading the news: The Yankees come to play the Cubs for two and the Sox for four. The Cubs then need to pick up some sunblock for their trip to San Diego.

Chicago-GRAM ANSWER:

Tommy John



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