AP Photo/John Raoux

Bears found what they sought

Lamarr Houston led the Bears in sacks with just 8.0 last season, so they were in desperate need of a pass-rusher at the top of the draft. After nabbing Leonard Floyd, Chicago landed on Todd McShay's list of most improved teams. Most improved teams (Insider)

Cubs continue their amazing start

With their 7-2 win over the Pirates on Monday, the Cubs improved to 18-6 this year, their best start after 24 games since the World Series-winning team of 1907. Chicago's plus-83 run differential is tied for 4th-highest through 24 games in the modern era (since 1900), per Elias Sport Bureau.

  • 1902 Pirates - 92
  • 1905 Giants - 90
  • 2003 Yankees - 85
  • 2016 Cubs - 83
  • 1939 Yankees - 83

Greeny: 'Space Jam' sequel will anger Jordan defenders (1:34)
Battle of struggling starters headlines Wednesday Night Baseball (1:35)

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Ben Zobrist was hit by a pitch on Monday by Kyle Lobstein not long after Starling Marte was nailed by Jason Hammel. The result was a warning to both benches.

Cubs best Pirates in series opener (1:23)
Ross: We have a lot of room to grow (0:57)
Szczur steals home for Cubs (0:21)

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

The Cubs and Pirates were both issued warnings after players on both sides were hit by pitches in back to back innings on Monday. It resulted in the dugouts, along with Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, yelling at each other including Joe Maddon.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Matt Szczur left Monday's game against the Pirates after his right hamstring tightened up on him.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

For the second time in as many starts going back to last year the Cubs got to Pirates starter Gerrit Cole chasing him from the game early on Monday just as they did in the wild card affair last October when he lasted 5 innings. This time he couldn't get out of the fifth as the Cubs made him throw 105 pitches in 4.2.

Ross' single gives Cubs breathing room (0:27)

Craig Custance ESPN Senior Writer 

Shayne Gostisbehere, Connor McDavid and Artemi Panarin named finalists for the Calder Trophy, NHL's rookie of the year. Panarin topped my ballot. Only way he doesn't win is if voters hold age and KHL time against him.