Down
enlarge
Are the Giants, not the Cubs, the NL's true best team?
1:48 | MLB
Are the Giants, not the Cubs, the NL's true best team?
Friday June 24th, 2016

Your teams. Your favorite writers. Wherever you want them. Personalize SI with our new App. Install on iOS or Android.

All stats and records through Thursday’s MLB games

With the Cubs on pace for a historically significant number of wins this season, we have decided to track their progress against 10 of the winningest teams in major league history. This week’s check in comes at the 71-game mark (excluding ties). Seven games have been played by each team since last week’s initial standings. As a reminder, here are the 10 teams and where they finished their respective seasons:

Team Record PCT Result
1906 Cubs 116–36 .763 Lost World Series
2001 Mariners 116–46 .716 Lost ALCS
1998 Yankees 114–48 .704 Won World Series
1954 Indians 111–43 .721 Lost World Series
1909 Pirates 110–42 .724 Won World Series
1927 Yankees 110–44 .714 Won World Series
1961 Yankees 109–53 .673 Won World Series
1969 Orioles 109–53 .673 Lost World Series
1975 Reds 108–54 .667 Won World Series
1986 Mets 108–54 .667 Won World Series

NOTE: Postseason results were not a factor in the selection or ranking of the teams.

  • 1
    12001 Mariners
    last week: 1
    record: 54–17 (.761), +134 run differential
    The Mariners went 4-3 on a road trip down the West Coast from Games 65 to 71, but all three of those losses were close. First, Seattle missed a chance to finish a three-game sweep of the Padres on June 17 with an 11-9 loss in San Diego. The next day they lost the opener of a four-game set in Oakland, 4-3, then dropped another two days later on a walk-off, three-run homer by the A’s Eric Chavez. Seattle salvaged the last game of that series, and the road trip, by winning another slugfest on June 21, beating Oakland 12-10 behind home runs in consecutive innings from Al Martin, Mike Cameron, David Bell and Bret Boone. Also of note that week: John Olerud hit for the cycle in the second game of the Padres series, becoming just the second player ever to hit for the cycle in both leagues..

  • 2
    21969 Orioles
    last week: 3
    record: 52–19 (.732), +163
    The Orioles played seven games in just five days, including doubleheaders on both June 20 and 22 in Cleveland. Baltimore split both of those twinbills but won the game in between, before coming home and taking the first two games of a three-game series with the Senators. In the first game against Washington, the O’s got eighth-inning home runs from Frank Robinson and Davey Johnson to win 5-3, and the next night they won on a three-run walk-off homer by Robinson.

  • 3
    31998 Yankees
    last week: 2
    record: 52–19 (.732), +129
    Echoing the ’69 Orioles, the Yankees split four games in Cleveland to open this stretch of their season, though these Indians, who were leading the AL Central, are a far more impressive bunch than the 1969 edition that wound up with 99 losses. New York then began a four-game home-and-away set against the Braves, splitting the first two at home before winning the initial game in Atlanta 10-6.

  • 4
    41909 Pirates
    last week: 4
    record: 52–19 (.732), +94
    The Pirates capped a July 5 doubleheader sweep against the Reds to start this seven-game stretch. Their only loss in that time came in the opener of a six-game series against the Giants at the Polo Grounds, which they immediately followed with three straight wins. Two of those came in another doubleheader, this one on July 9, that left Pittsburgh eight games in front in the National League race.

  • 5
    51927 Yankees
    last week: 8
    record: 51-20 (.718), +186
    New York won all seven of its games in this stretch, starting with the back-end of its doubleheader against the Athletics on June 26. They beat Philadelphia twice more on the 27th and 28th to earn a split of the six-game series. The Yankees then won three in a row against the Red Sox. Babe Ruth, who had left with an injury in the second game of the A’s series, returned to the lineup and went 4-for-5 in the opener against Boston. Lou Gehrig, meanwhile, homered in four straight games, starting with the finale of the Athletics series, and slugged an even 1.000 with five home runs in the New York’s seven-game winning streak.

  • 6
    61906 Cubs
    last week: 5
    record: 50-21 (.704), +130

    Just one month after acquiring Orval Overall from the Reds, the Cubs made another crucial addition to their pitching staff, landing 32-year-old veteran righty Jack Taylor from the Cardinals on July 1 for a pair of rookies, righty Fred Beebe and catcher Pete Noonan. Taylor is currently near the end of a record streak of complete games that will be snapped at 187 later this season. Though he has had several relief appearances sprinkled throughout, he has not been removed from a game he has started since 1901. Fittingly, pitching has dominated the Cubs’ schedule this past week. In their four-game split against the Reds at Chicago’s West Side Grounds the aggregate score was 4-4. Chicago then traveled to Pittsburgh’s Exposition Park where it took both ends of an Independence Day doubleheader by 1-0 scores en route to a 5-2 week.


  • 7
    71986 Mets
    last week: 7
    record: 50-21 (.703), +104
    After the Mets won the rubber game of a series against the Cubs on June 22, the second-place Expos came to Shea Stadium and took two of three. A travel day and a rain-out in Chicago may have been just what New York needed, because it won both games at Wrigley Field and then crushed the rival Cardinals 7-0 in the opener in St. Louis, making them 5-0 at Busch Stadium on the season. Off-season addition Bob Ojeda scattered seven hits in the shutout of the fourth-place Cardinals, moving to 9-2 on the season and dropping the reigning National League champions 19 games back.

  • 8
    81954 Indians
    last week: 6
    record: 49-22 (.690), +192
    After losing 5-1 to the Philadelphia A’s in Game 65, the Indians welcomed the Yankees to Cleveland and were routed 11-0 and 11-9 in consecutive games. The Indians won the finale against New York to prevent their first four-game losing streak of the season but there was still bad news: starting pitcher Bob Lemon tore a muscle in his side in his first at-bat and had to come out of the game after just two innings of work. The rest of the starting pitchers then stepped up, with Art Houtteman and Mike Garcia domianting a rain-shortened two-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore, and Bob Feller and Early Wynn leading Cleveland to a doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox, giving the Indians four straight complete game victories from their vaunted starting pitching staff.

  • 9
    92016 Cubs
    last week: 9
    record: 47-24 (.662), +162

    The Cubs hadn’t dropped more than two straight all year before this week began, but they are currently in the midst of a four-game skid. They were swept by the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, scoring just eight runs in the process, then scored only two runs in losing the opener of a four-game set in Miami.

    To make matters worse, outfielder Dexter Fowler went on the disabled list with a sore hamstring, where he joins fellow outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Jorge Soler. The good news is that manager Joe Maddon has a flexible roster. Moving Kris Byrant into leftfield has created regular playing time for Javier Baez at third base, and Baez has responded well, hitting .296/.342/.535 since May 27.

    The Cubs are now on pace to win “just” 107 games, but there’s good reason to expect them to rebound from their current slump, particularly if Fowler can return on schedule a week from Sunday. .


  • 10
    101975 Reds
    last week: 11
    record: 44-27 (.620), +109
    The most notable of the Reds’ five wins in this week came on June 21 in Houston, when they beat the Astros 7-6 in 14 innings despite blowing leads of 4-0 and, in the 10th inning, 6-4. After dropping the finale at the Astrodome, Cincinnati won the first two games of a three-game set in Atlanta. Johnny Bench drove in four runs in an 8-4 win in the opener, and Pat Darcy out-dueled Phil Niekro in the second game thanks to a three-run home run by Joe Morgan that accounted for all of the scoring.

  • 11
    111961 yankees
    last week: 10
    record: 44-27 (.620), +82
    Minnesota’s Camilo Pascual shut out New York on June 23, but the Bronx Bombers scored at least eight runs in the four games surrounding that one. The Yankees beat the Kansas City A’s 8-3 in the finale of that series, then rebounded from Pascual’s blanking to blast the Twins’ 10-7 and 8-4 and take the set at Metropolitan Stadium. From there it was on to Los Angeles, where the Yanks lost two of three to the expansion Angels at Wrigley Field (yes, that was the name) to end a season-long five-city,16-game road trip at 9-7.

     

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.