Major League Baseball’s post-season began Tuesday night in the Bronx. And the Astros advanced to the ALDS to take on the Royals after shutting out the Yankees 3-0. Houston was seemingly in control of the entire game despite the low score.
The Cubs and Pirates square off Wednesday night (7:08pm CDT – TBS) to see which team will take on the Cardinals in the next round of the National League playoffs.
The Cubs worked out Tuesday at PNC Park in preparation for Wednesday’s game. Joe Maddon and Jake Arrieta met with the mainstream media for about a half hour prior to the on-field practice.
Multiple reports indicated the Cubs were a loose group Tuesday, focused on the game but not the hype that surrounds it.
Joe Maddon did not announce his roster or lineup. Maddon is going to wait as long as possible before posting the lineup, the 25-man roster has to be submitted by 9:00am CDT and should be made public by mid-morning Wednesday. Maddon did not want to reveal too much to the Pirates a day before the game.
According to ESPN Chicago, Maddon could be leaning toward Tommy La Stella at third base, Kris Bryant in left field and Kyle Schwarber in right field. La Stella spent a lot of time taking grounders at third base Tuesday. Gerrit Cole is a reverse splits guy, in other words, right handers (.251/.287/.339) hit slightly better than left handers (.227/.287/.279) against him. Loading a lineup with left handed bats would seem to play into one of Cole’s strengths. If La Stella is at third and Schwarber in right, Starlin Castro (2B), Addison Russell (SS) and Bryant would be the only three right handers, plus Arrieta, in the starting nine.
Maddon thinks his players will be able to handle the crowd at PNC and deal with all of the crazy stuff the Pirates fans will try to rattle them.
Jake Arrieta appeared extremely confident. Arrieta admitted he has nervous excitement, not anxiety. “This is one of the moments that you think about when you’re training in the off-season.” Arrieta said he feels like he is ready for the game.
Wild Card Game Reports
- Comcast SportsNet: Jake Arrieta trolling Pirates fans is all in good fun.
- MLB.com: Arrieta is confident heading into the NL Wild Card Game
- Comcast SportsNet: Joe Maddon, Clint Hurdle love the drama of one-game playoff
- ESPN Chicago: Small ball may be the key in the National League Wild Card Game
- Comcast SportsNet: Cubs trying to be oblivious to playoff pressure and ‘Dumb it down’
- Comcast SportsNet: How Jake Arrieta transformed himself into the Cubs ace
- ESPN Chicago: Jake Arrieta is comfortable with fan interaction before the Wild Card Game
- The Tribune: What makes Cubs ace Jake Arrieta so good?
- Comcast SportsNet: Kris Bryant wants to keep the surprises coming in the playoffs
- The Sun-Times: Opposing Scouts wish they knew how to hit Jake Arrieta
Eddy Julio Martinez
According to Law, OF Eddy Julio Martinez remains a free agent and is not signing with the Giants. Jesse Sanchez, who first reported Martinez signed with the Giants, confirmed the Giants no longer have a deal with Martinez. Law reported Martinez is not hurt. He saw him taking batting practice Tuesday.
The Cubs were reportedly very interested in Eddy Julio Martinez. At this point, it is unclear if he is a free agent or not.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to the Sun-Times, Dave Martinez could be a candidate for the Nationals’ managerial opening.
• Jon Greenberg talked to former Cubs’ right hander Matt Clement, who is now a high school basketball coach in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Clement is the last Cubs’ pitcher to win a playoff game and is rooting for Jake Arrieta on Wednesday night. Greenberg conducted a fun interview with Clement that is well worth the time.
• From Christopher Kamka: The 97-win Cubs take on the 98-win Pirates in the Wild Card, from 2005-14 only one World Series (2013) has featured two teams with 97-plus wins.
• Addison Russell has been turning heads in the field since a young age. Carrie Muskat talked to his former coach, Karl Jernigan, about Russell and what he saw from the Cubs’ shortstop at an early age.
• Jesse Rogers reported LHP Tsuyoshi Wada is one of the players that did not make the trip to Pittsburgh with the Cubs.
• According to Chris Cotillo, LHP James Russell filed for free agency.
• Sports Illustrated posted the official Chicago Cubs bandwagon fan application.
• Jayson Stark picked the Blue Jays to win the World Series.
This Day In Cubstory
1984 – Cubs dropped game five of the National League Championship Series to the Padres 6-3 at Jack Murphy Stadium.
1945 – Hank Greenberg hit three doubles and led the Tigers to an 8-4 victory over the Cubs in gave five of the World Series, Detroit took a 3-2 series lead.
1943 – Jose Cardenal, born
1939 – With two out and two on and the Cubs down 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Hank Leiber hit a three-run homer at Wrigley as the Cubs beat the White Sox 5-3. The Cubs took a 3-1 lead in the City Series.
1935 – Cubs lost 4-3 to the Tigers in game six of the World Series in Detroit on a Goose Goslin single that plated Mickey Cochrane in the ninth inning. The Cubs dropped the series four games to two.
1934 – Sammy Drake, born
1904 – Chuck Klein, born