The NLCS is set. It’s the Cubs and Mets in the best of seven series with the winner advancing to the Fall Classic. For those fans of a certain vintage, only the Cardinals are a bigger rival to the Cubs than the Metropolitans. And a new chapter in the longtime rivalry will be written during this series.
Joe Maddon announced Thursday that Jon Lester will start Game 1 and Jake Arrieta will get the ball in Game 2. Terry Collins is sending Matt Harvey to the hill in the opener with Noah Syndergaard expected to start Game 2.
• Game 1: Saturday, Oct. 17 (7:07pm CDT) – Jon Lester vs. Matt Harvey at Citi Field
• Game 2: Sunday, Oct. 18 (7:07pm CDT) – Jake Arrieta vs. Noah Syndergaard at Citi Field
Games three and four are Tuesday and Wednesday at Wrigley Field. And Game 5, if necessary, is Thursday at Wrigley.
Joe Maddon talked about his pitching decisions Thursday. The Cubs plan was to avoid Jon Lester in Game 4 and have him ready for a Game 5 against the Cardinals if he was needed. It worked out for the Cubs that Lester will now start Game 1 of the NLCS.
Jake Arrieta will also benefit from an extra day between starts. Arrieta did not have his good stuff in Game 3. Maddon admitted the Cubs have been pushing him rather hard. And Maddon likes the fact the Cubs will be able to give Arrieta an extra day of rest.
The Cubs plan on using four starters in the NLCS. Maddon was not ready to announce the other two starters Thursday. Multiple reports have suggested Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel will start games three and four.
Addison Russell will not be available for the NLCS. Russell has a mild/moderate left hamstring strain. If the Cubs advance, Russell might be available for the next series.
Maddon is not sure how the Cubs will fill the roster spot. A relief pitcher, like Jason Motte, could be added. Quintin Berry and Matt Szczur are also options. Jonathan Herrera has not played in a game since Sept. 9 but he took grounders at second, third and shortstop Thursday. Chris Coghlan could also be a backup option at second base. According to Jesse Rogers, Coghlan worked in the infield Thursday.
The Cubs do not have to turn in the roster for the NLCS until Saturday morning.
Javier Baez will start and play shortstop, not Starlin Castro. Maddon said Castro could be an option at shortstop if a game situation dictates the move. Castro will be prepared to move back to short if necessary.
Joe Maddon might have more answers Friday when he talks to the beat writers at Citi Field. The Cubs are scheduled to leave for New York around 9:30am on Friday morning.
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
- Report from Carrie Muskat
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from the Sun-Times
News and Notes
• Manny Ramirez is lending his unique knowledge to Cubs’ hitters according to a report from Adam Kilgore. This is an excellent report that is well worth the time.
• Kyle Schwarber talked to ESPN Chicago about the home run he hit in Game 4 and the ball that is encased on top of ‘The Schwarboard.’ Schwarber called it an honor but does not understand what the big deal is. Schwarber views it as just hitting another home run. Schwarber told Carrie Muskat he did not climb to the top of the video board to look at the ball. Schwarber is not focused on the ball. He is focused on the next series. Joe Maddon said it was “pure genius” by the person who came up with the idea to leave the ball on the video board.
• Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber impress with power and progress according to a report from the Tribune.
• The Cubs are not taking anything for granted. The goal is to win the Series and win it this year. The Cubs feel this is a beginning of a long run according to a report from the Sun-Times.
• Advancing in the post-season, suddenly that’s so Cub according to the Tribune. Click here for the must read report on the origin of ‘That’s So Cub’ … and click here for more on ‘That’s So Cub’ from last October.
• With Addison Russell out for the NLCS, the Cubs will rely on Javier Baez according to a report from Comcast SportsNet. And it is Baez’s time to shine in the wake of Russell’s injury according to the Tribune.
• Ryne Sandberg told MLB Network Radio that he is not sure if he wants to manage again. “I don’t know if I would have that interest again. I kind of reached a goal to get back to the Major Leagues in a uniform.” Sandberg admitted after Monday’s game, in which he threw out the ceremonial first pitch, that he was glad to be back home.
• According to the Sun-Times, Joe Torre watched video of Chris Coghlan’s slide into Jung Ho Kang to determine if Chase Utley should be suspended for his late slide on Reuben Tejada. Torre said Coghlan slid early and near the bag where Utley slid late. And that was Torre’s issue with Utley.
• Bob Nightengale talked to the Cubs, Royals and Blue Jays about the deals that were made at the trade deadline. While the Royals and Blue Jays mortgaged their future to win this season, the Cubs made modest
• Christopher Lloyd said he would like to throw out the first pitch at the Cubs game if they advance past the NLCS.
And last, but not least, Six Flags in St. Louis lost a bet with Six Flags Great America and for the remainder of the season the roller coaster ‘American Thunder’ will be known as ‘Cubs Thunder.’
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Cubs received Marcelo Carreno and cash from the Tigers to complete the trade for Jeff Baker
2007 – The Orioles selected Roberto Novoa off waivers from the Cubs
2006 – Cubs signed Lou Piniella to a three-year contract to manage the team. Piniella was paid more than $10 million over the guaranteed three years on a contract that included an option for a fourth season. Piniella replaced Dusty Baker in the dugout after Jim Hendry did not renew Baker’s contract.
1998 – Cubs granted free agency to Micah Franklin, Bry Nelson and Alan Zinter
1995 – Cubs granted free agency to Paul Abbott, Mike Campbell, Darron Cox, Joe Kmak and Todd Pratt
1987 – Cubs traded Chico Walker to the Angels for Todd Fischer
1971 – Cubs released Al Spangler
1959 – Brian Harper, born
1953 – Rodney Scott, born
1885 – Cap Anson agreed to let William Medart umpire the third game of the championship series in St. Louis. The Browns won the game 7-4 and evened the series at a game apiece. Medart reportedly gave every close decision/call to the home team and barely escaped violence from Chicago’s Jim McCormick and Billy Sunday.