The Cubs find out tonight (7:00pm CDT) their opponent for the National League Championship Series that begins Saturday (7:08pm CDT) at Wrigley Field.
The Nationals and Dodgers square off in Game 5 of the NLDS with Max Scherzer taking on former Cubs’ lefty Rich Hill at Nationals Park.
The Cubs continued to celebrate their second straight trip to the NLCS. The Cubs are playing in the National League Championship Series for the fifth time in team history. Beginning today, it’s all about the NLCS and the task at hand for Joe Maddon’s team.
The Cubs have a workout scheduled at Wrigley on Thursday afternoon (3:00pm CDT). There is a workout and media sessions planned for Friday at Wrigley Field. Joe Maddon is expected to announce his rotation Friday and officially name Jon Lester the starter for Game 1. The Cubs have to turn in the NLCS roster Saturday morning.
The Cubs have been doing their homework on the Nationals and Dodgers for weeks. Starting Friday they will be able to put a game plan in place.
The Cubs have not announced the starting rotation for the NLCS. Joe Maddon is expected to make it official by Friday that Jon Lester will start Game 1 on Saturday at Wrigley.
Jon Lester is listed as the Game 1 starter on several sites, including MLB.com and Cubs.com.
Lester set the tone for the NLDS with eight shutout innings against the Giants. The Cubs will ask for more of the same from Lester in the NLCS against either the Dodgers or Nationals.
Lester faced the Dodgers twice this season. Lester was 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA and 0.60 WHIP. Lester allowed one run on seven hits with two walks and 16 strikeouts in 15 innings … the only run, a leadoff homer by Kike Hernandez on June 1 at Wrigley. Lester beat the Dodgers 2-1 with a complete game to start the third month of the season.
Lester missed the Nationals this season. He did not take on Dusty Baker’s team at Wrigley or at Nationals Park. Lester was 0-1 in one start against the Nationals a year ago with a 1.29 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Lester allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits with two walks and 10 strikeouts on May 27 at Wrigley. Lester and the Cubs lost to Max Scherzer 3-0 in a game Dexter Fowler hit fourth, Starlin Castro fifth and Junior Lake started in right field.
The Cubs are expected to have the same rotation for the NLCS that was used for the NLDS … Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jake Arrieta and John Lackey.
Cubs TV Ratings
As would be expected, the Cubs are setting records.
Game 2 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field was the most watched game/program in the almost eight-year history of the MLB Network. And Game 4 was the highest-rated telecast on FS1 since the network launched in 2013 according to Danny Ecker.
A whopping 6.3 million (6,368,000) viewers tuned in Tuesday night to watch the Cubs win the series and advance to the NLCS. According to Maury Brown, the peak audience for Game 4 was over 6.9 million (6,953,000). FS1 and Fox Deportes combined for over 7 million peak audience.
Jeff Nuich reported Game 4 posted a 19.0 in the Chicago market with a peak audience of over 772,000 homes.
FS1 has exclusive broadcast rights for the National League Championship Series. And the Cubs figure to shatter the record that was set this week.
News and Notes
• Wait ‘til this year? It’s time to believe in the Cubs according to Jayson Stark. And with a ninth-inning rally for the ages, the Cubs answered all doubts about their title chances according to Tom Verducci.
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs survived what went wrong against the Giants, showing how they can keep advancing through October.
• David Haugh reported Joe Maddon’s vision has his never-say-die Cubs eyeing bigger things.
• According to the Tribune, after dramatic victory over the Giants, the Cubs get a chance to regroup.
• These Cubs curl up in the warm embrace of World Series expectations according to Bob Nightengale.
• Jon Lester explained why the Cubs aren’t worried about goats or curses.
• FOX Sports posted 10 reasons the Cubs are now unstoppable in this postseason.
• According to Christopher Kamka, 20 percent of the postseason games the Cubs have won since 1900 have come the last two years (2015-16). The Cubs have won seven of 35 postseason games under Joe Maddon.
• FOX Sports reported Bob Newhart is hoping the Chicago Cubs finally win a World Series.
• Buster Olney reported the young Cubs look at home in the postseason.
• FanGraphs: That Was the Week of Javier Baez
• The Sun-Times asked who’s better than Javy Baez, right now the answer is nobody.
• According to Danny Ecker, Javier Baez added 23,000 Instagram followers and 9,000 on Twitter over the past five days.
• Javier Baez has the most go-ahead hits for the Cubs in the seventh inning or later of a postseason game in Cubs history. Baez did it twice in the NLDS.
• Ben Zobrist is Cubs’ steady man in the middle according to the Sun-Times.
• Tyson Ross will undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome Thursday in St. Louis. Dennis Lin reported Ross’ recovery time is four to six months.
• Terry Francona announced the Indians will use a four-man rotation for the ALCS … Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger. Danny Salazar will not be included on the ALCS roster. According to multiple reports he is not to the point he could even help out of the bullpen.
• The White Sox outrighted RHP Jacob Turner to Triple-A and off the 40-man roster.
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 6-4 in Game 4 of the NLDS and advanced to the NLCS for the first time in 12 years. The Cubs won the first-ever clinching game of a postseason series at Wrigley. Javier Baez hit a three-run homer off John Lackey that gave the Cubs the lead. Anthony Rizzo launched the game-winner in the sixth and Kyle Schwarber went deep in the seventh. Schwarber’s ball ended up on top of what is now referred to as the ‘Schwarboard,’ the video board in right field. The Cubs later encased the ball. The ball was removed after the NLCS. The Cubs re-installed it before the 2016 season with a new, outdoor casing.
1977 – Cubs traded Keith Drumright to the Astros for Al Javier
1969 – Damian Miller, born
1954 – George Frazier, born
1950 – Dick Pole, born
1949 – Cubs purchased Fred Baczewski from Shreveport for $30,000 plus a PTBNL
1941 – Cubs selected Ed Heusser from Atlanta in the 1941 minor league draft
1929 – Cubs lost 3-2 to Philadelphia after the Athletics scored three runs in the ninth inning to close out the World Series. The A’s won The Series four games to one.
1925 – Cubs signed Joe McCarthy to be the team’s new manager. McCarthy helped rebuild the Cubs during his nearly five years with the organization. McCarthy led the Cubs to the 1929 National League Pennant before he left the team in Sept. 1930. McCarthy took over for the Yankees the following year and skippered the Yankees to eight AL pennants and seven World Series Championships. Bill Dickey replaced McCarthy as Yankees manager in 1946. McCarthy won 2,126 games as a big league manager while losing only 1,335 for a .614 winning percentage, the best winning percentage for a manager in Major League history.
1908 – Mordecai Brown tossed his third shutout in World Series play. The Cubs beat the Tigers 3-0 in game four of the Fall Classic.
1876 – Rube Waddell, born