The MLB postseason got underway Tuesday with an extra innings thriller in Toronto that ended with an Edwin Encarnacion three-run walk-off homer in the 11th inning. The Jays won 5-2 and will take on the Rangers in the ALDS. Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter did not use Zach Britton in the one-game, win or go home playoff. And Showalter will now have a full off-season of answering questions about his decision.
The Cubs have talked to Aroldis Chapman about how he will be used in the postseason. And according to multiple reports, Chapman will be available to pitch multiple innings and is willing to be used as Joe Maddon sees fit.
Chapman is 1-1 with a 1.01 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 0.82 FIP in 28 games with the Cubs. Chapman has allowed four runs, three earned, on 12 hits with 10 walks and 46 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.
Theo Epstein said Tuesday, “Chapman has fit wonderful as a Cub. He has been great in the clubhouse. He’s well liked. His behavior has been what you’d ask for since he’s been here. He has been outstanding on the mound. Guys love having him around. It’s certainly a trade we’re glad we made and we love having him as part of the team.”
Being able to use Chapman in various situations and over multiple innings will make the Cubs’ pen stronger. And the NLDS schedule will give relievers, like Chapman, a day off after games two and four that should allow Maddon to have all of his bullpen arms available for every game.
Cubs Simulated Game
The Cubs ‘played’ a simulated game at Wrigley on Tuesday afternoon. The sim game was more for the pitchers to get their work in than anything else. Several of the players took the time to get extra at bats, including Ben Zobrist. Dexter Fowler took an at-bat wearing Rizzo’s Miami Dolphins helmet.
Jake Arrieta, John Lackey and Jason Hammel all pitched Tuesday before the Cubs shifted to the relievers. Mike Montgomery, Justin Grimm, Carl Edwards Jr., Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman pitched Tuesday.
Cubs NLDS Rotation
The Cubs made official Tuesday what’s been known for weeks, Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the NLDS and will be followed by Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey in the rotation.
The Cubs have lined up Lester, Hendricks, Arrieta, Lackey and Lester for the best-of-five National League Division Series.
Maddon pointed to Lester and Hendricks success at Wrigley as one of the reasons the Cubs decided to start them in games one and two. Bottom line, Lester and Hendricks were the Cubs most consistent starters this season and Arrieta’s had a lot of success on the road the last two years.
Jason Hammel will not be in the rotation for the NLDS. Hammel is still in the mix for a spot in the bullpen according to multiple reports. And Chris Bosio confirmed Wednesday morning that he is still part of the conversations for the NLDS pitching staff.
The Cubs are expected to have a seven-man bullpen in the NLDS made up of Aroldis Chapman, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Justin Grimm, Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Montgomery and Travis Wood.
- Report from CCO
- Report from The Tribune
- Report from The Tribune
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from ESPN Chicago
- Report from Comcast SportsNet
Cubs NLDS Roster
Joe Maddon said Tuesday the Cubs will likely have 11 pitchers and 14 position players on the active roster. Maddon pointed out they have not concluded anything about the roster that those conversations are still ongoing.
Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon are both healthy. The Cubs are not dealing with any health issues. In other words, all of the players are as healthy as can be expected after playing a month of Spring Training games and a 162-game schedule.
Maddon said Tuesday that he thought Jorge Soler looked good Sunday in the field and at the plate.
According to multiple reports, Soler remains the biggest question for the Cubs. Soler missed a lot of time with a sore right side over the last two weeks of the season. Soler played in the season finale. And reportedly, Soler had no issues in Tuesday’s simulated game.
ESPN Chicago reported, “the major takeaway from the simulated game revolves around outfielder Jorge Soler, who had many chances to hit on Tuesday and played in the field as well. Unless there’s a setback, he looks ready for action after participating in Sunday’s regular-season finale.”
Maddon said Soler is “part of the conversation as long as he’s well.”
News and Notes
• Jason Heyward reflected on the decision, the Cubs Way and joining baseball’s version of the Golden State Warriors with Comcast SportsNet.
• During his weekly spot on 670 The Score, Joe Maddon talked about Jason Heyward and he thinks there “will be a lot of good” from Heyward in the postseason.
• The Tribune reported Cubs’ starting pitching will bring World Series parade to town.
• Joe Maddon said Tuesday he is confident either Jon Lester or Kyle Hendricks will win the NL Cy Young Award.
• According to ESPN Chicago, Carl Edwards Jr. looked fine Tuesday and was “moving well” after taking a comebacker off his leg in Sunday’s season finale.
• Anthony Rizzo and Travis Wood are the only two players still with the Cubs from the 100-loss team four years ago according to the Sun-Times. Neither Rizzo nor Wood was on the Opening Day. They are the only two Cubs in franchise history to play for a 100-win and a 100-loss team.
• Bud Black is the front runner to be the next Braves manager according to Jim Bowden. Andy Masur pointed out that would make sense due to his connection with John Hart and the players from the Padres system that are now in the Braves organization.
• The Cubs posted the second most wins by five or more runs by a National League team from 1901-2016. The Cubs won 42 games this season by five or more runs. And the Cubs posted 50 wins in back-to-back seasons after the All-Star break, the most in the majors the last four seasons.
— Addison Russell (@Addison_Russell) October 4, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2010 – Matt Murton broke Ichiro’s Japanese record for the most hits in a single-season with his 211th hit of the season.
2010 – Cubs granted free agency to Mike Parisi
2003 – Cubs won their first post-season series since the 1908 World Series with a 5-1 victory over the Braves at Turner Field. The Cubs won the fifth and deciding game of the NLDS to take the series three games to two.
1999 – Cubs released Lance Johnson
1986 – Jeff Bianchi, born
1967 – Rey Sanchez, born
1958 – Randy Bush, born
1945 – Claude Passeau pitched a one-hit shutout in game three of the World Series. The Cubs topped the Tigers 3-0 in Detroit.
1935 – Lon Warneke won his second game of the World Series by beating the Tigers 3-1 in the fifth game at Wrigley Field.
1933 – 45-year old Red Faber pitched the final game of his career, a complete-game shutout over Lon Warneke and the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The White Sox topped the Cubs 2-0 in the second game of the City Series.
1930 – The largest crowd to attend a City Series (45,104) saw the Cubs beat the White Sox 6-4 at Wrigley Field.