Spring Training countdown: Chicago Baseball is all in the numbers 

Just like ballplayers need to get into shape for the coming season, fans do, too. Fortunately, we don’t mean playing shape. We mean mental shape. It’s time for your mind to start focusing on baseball’s numbers, players and the Cubs and White Sox.

There are 48 days until Opening Day. Here is a stat-a-day countdown calendar for you.

  • 48: As we get closer to the season, let’s talk about No. 48 for the Sox, Alex Colome, the closer who last season had 30 saves in 33 chances. “Closer” to the season and “closer” for the Sox are homographs, words that are spelled the same, have different meanings and sound different. Now you know.
  • 47: The Cubs hit 47 home runs last August. That was their second-highest monthly total, behind their 51 in May.
  • 46: The most recent Cub to hit more than 40 homers in a season is Derrek Lee, who hit 46 in 2005 while leading the National League with a .335 batting average.
  • 45: Look at the retired numbers for the Sox, and you’ll see No. 4 in honor of Hall of Famer Luke Appling, who played 20 seasons for them, had a .310 lifetime batting average and hit 45 career homers.
  • 44: The Cubs had 44 pinch hits in 2019, the fewest in the NL. Cubs…

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