Cubs Continue Walking Toward Playoffs

Just call them the incredible walking men. The Cubs drew three walks in Friday's 13-5 loss to the Washington Nationals, giving them 514 for the season and putting them on pace for 651.

The club record for drawing bases on balls in one season is 650, set in 1975. The Cubs have drawn at least one walk in 30 consecutive games.

This is a far cry from the Cubs teams of recent years. In the Dusty Baker era, walks were looked upon as something that "clogged the bases," to use Baker's term.

The change began happening last year under manager Lou Piniella, who values on-base percentage. However, it took awhile to sink in, as the Cubs walked 500 times in 2007, to rank 15th.

Early this season, right fielder Kosuke Fukudome was given credit for the turnaround, as his patient approach showed the way. The Cubs are getting relatively high walk totals from some unexpected sources, as well. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has 63 walks. His previous best was 50. Alfonso Soriano has 26 in 79 games after walking 31 times in 135 games last year.

Soriano's single-season high in walks is 67, set two years ago in Washington.

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