Chicago Cubs: The most dominant start in MLB history
2. The Texas native Cub pitcher strikes out 20 Astros
The day was kind of muggy after some rain earlier, and no one expected anything marvelous to happen on such a bland-type Chicagoland day. Attendance was at its lowest for the season that day. Texas native and Cubs pitcher, Kerry Wood, had other things on his mind on May 6, 1998, as he faced the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field and was about to make Cubs history.
Kerry Wood was pretty much a rookie making his sixth start on that historic day. Wood has said numerous times that he felt terrific that day, and everything he was delivering was happening. One by one, Astros were getting struck out masterfully by Wood. Michael Beller of Sports Illustrated described Wood’s pitching as follows:
"Right from the start, it was clear that Wood, a top-flight prospect in his rookie season, had his best stuff. He was the fourth overall pick three years earlier and a consensus top-five prospect in baseball going into 1998 for a reason. When Wood was on, his stuff was as good as the league had ever seen. And he was on this day. His fastball was sitting in the high-90s. His curveball and slider were both breaking cartoonishly, one from 12-to-6, and the other from 1-to-7. The difference in movement and speed on Wood’s breaking balls meant that the Astros hitters couldn’t zone in on either one."
Wood ended up tying the record for strikeouts in nine innings and taking home the title of most dominant pitching exhibition ever witnessed in MLB. Wood allowed only one hit and two baserunners the whole game after throwing 122 pitches.
Wood would go on to rack up 233 strikeouts in 26 games in 1998, but his 20 Strikeout dominant game against the Astros is the second-best Cubs game in the last 100 years.