Final Notes

The Cubs closed out the 2005 season in Houston with a 6-4 loss to the Wildcard champion Astros, who waited until the last day of the regular season to officially finish off Charlie Manuel and the Philadelphia Phillies for the final playoff spot in the National League. Sorry, Charlie.

The Cubs did all they could to help the Phillies. They split the four-game series with Houston to close out the year with an 8-7 record against the Astros--the third straight year the Cubs finished with a winning record against their NL Central rivals.

Greg Maddux (13-15) was ineffective in 5 1/3 innings in Sunday's finale. He surrendered six runs, four of them earned, on 10 hits for his first losing season since Ronald Reagan was president--1987. Maddux closed out the year with four losses in his final five starts. The Cubs were 15-20 in his starts this year.

Derrek Lee was 0-for-4 in his final contest of the year, but finished the season hitting .335 to win the National League's batting title. He is the first Cub to win the title since Bill Buckner in 1980. The last Cub to even finish in the top five in batting average in the league was Mark Grace in 1996. Grace did it four times in his Cubs career: '96, '95, '93, and 89. Lee finished the year one hit shy of the 200 mark. The last Cub to record 200 hits in a single season was Ryne Sandberg in 1984.

Nomar Garciaparra ended the year on a nine-game hitting streak. He batted .283 in an injury plagued year in 62 games. The longest hitting streak by a Cubs player this season belonged to Lee (18 games from April 17 to May 7).

The Cubs' pitching staff, which consisted of 22 different arms, finished the year with a combined 4.19 ERA. Cub starters logged 994 innings and were 58-56 with a 4.17 ERA. Cub relievers put in 446 innings and were 21-27 with a 4.24 ERA and 69 holds. Ryan Dempster, rewarded with a three-year, $15.5 million contract extension on Saturday, worked 21.2 straight scoreless innings to close out the year and converted 33 of 35 save chances. Michael Wuertz led the team in appearances with 75. Wuertz was 6-2 with a 3.81 ERA and led the bullpen with 18 holds.

The Cubs closed out the year 79-83. It's their first losing season since 2002, when the team was 67-95 under eventually axed skipper Don Baylor and then interim manager Bruce Kimm.

For Dusty Baker, 2005 is just the fourth losing season in his 13-year managerial career, and his first since 1996 with the San Francisco Giants. The Cubs were 62-29 when scoring four runs or more and 39-37 in games decided by two runs or less. The Cubs were 5-5 in extra innings games. They won 13 games in their last at-bat and suffered 13 losses in their opponents' last at-bat.

Looking ahead to 2006, the Cubs will begin the regular season at Cincinnati on Mon., April 3 against the Reds in a two-game series. The home opener will be later in the week on Fri., April 7 against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs and Cardinals will play three games before the Reds visit Wrigley on Tues., April 11 for three games.

Wait 'til next year.

(Information from the Cubs' Media Relations Office was used in this report.)

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