The Cubs evened the National League Championship Series (2-2) with the 10-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 4. The NLCS is now a best-of-three series with two of the three games at Wrigley Field. Game 5 is Thursday night (7:08pm CDT) at Dodger Stadium with Jon Lester taking on Kenta Maeda.
The winner of the National League Pennant will take on the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. The Indians beat the Blue Jays on Wednesday to advance to the Fall Classic for the first time since 1997.
The World Series begins Tuesday in Cleveland.
Joe Maddon stayed with the process, did not push the panic button and stuck with a majority of the lineup that helped the Cubs win 103 games and advance to the National League Championship Series. And Maddon’s decisions paid off in Game 4.
Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell hit home runs, drove in five of the 10 runs and each of the Cubs’ All-Star infielders had three hits in a game their team needed a big night from the offense. Jason Heyward also contributed offensively and defensively. Heyward threw out Adrian Gonzalez on a controversial play at the plate to end the second inning. And Heyward made contact with Javier Baez at third base in the fourth that gave the Cubs their second run of the game.
Maddon said before the game he never considered playing Baez at short instead of Russell. Maddon believes Russell and Baez up the middle give the Cubs the best chance to win a game.
NLCS News and Notes
Here are the post-game reports and notes from Game 4 …
• CCO – Cubs Break Out the Bats and Even the Series (Includes Video)
• With one bunt, Ben Zobrist helps swing the NLCS in the Cubs’ direction according to Comcast SportsNet. Bruce Levine reported small-ball approach sparks Cubs offense in key Game 4 win. And the Tribune reported small ball approach sets up big win for Cubs.
• ESPN Chicago went inside the inning which may have saved the Cubs’ season.
• Ben Zobrist on the bunt: “I’ve said this before, I’m not a cleanup hitter. I’m just batting fourth.”
• ESPN Chicago reported Cubs end slump, drub Dodgers to tie NLCS. The Sun-Times reported the Cubs even NLCS 2-2 as bats break out for 10-2 win over Dodgers. And the Tribune reported Anthony Rizzo and the Cubs snap out of doldrums, even NLCS 2-2.
• Paul Sullivan reported Cubs hitters bust out of slumps at most opportune time.
• Joel Sherman reported the move Joe Maddon didn’t make saved the Cubs.
• According to Bob Nightengale, the Cubs seized full control of the NLCS from the Dodgers and won’t give it up.
• Scott Miller reported Rizzo, Russell’s awakening is a great sign for Cubs NLCS hopes … a slump, a breakout, a borrowed bat and a tip of the cap to a bone marrow donor: These Cubs ascend in a big way.
• The Sun-Times reported big boys Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell save a series.
• Miguel Montero on Addison Russell: “This guy had 90-something RBI, 20-something homers. That means he can hit. They don’t sell those at Walgreens.”
• Joc Pederson let the Cubs know the Dodgers’ game plan for Game 5 against Jon Lester: “Make him field the ball and throw it.”
• Adrian Gonzalez was not happy about the call at the plate that ended the second inning not being overturned by replay. Gonzalez took to Twitter and it’s apparently the Dodgers against the World.
— Adrián González (@Adrian_ElTitan) October 20, 2016
Anthony Rizzo broke out of his ‘slump’ in a big way in Game 4. Rizzo had three hits, the first a solo homer in the fifth that gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead. And Rizzo delivered a single with the bases loaded in the sixth that plated two more runs.
Rizzo finished the game with three hits and as it turns out, all three knocks were with Matt Szczur’s bat.
Rizzo said that after striking out in his first two plate appearances he switched to Szczur’s bat because he knew it had hits in it. As it turns out, Game 4 is not the first time this season Rizzo has used Szczur’s bat. And Kris Bryant said after the game that he also used Szczur’s bat this season … and got a hit with it.
”I’ve done it a few times, especially later on in the year,” Rizzo said. “The first two at-bats weren’t so hot. Szcz came out today with a nice feature on him about him giving his bone marrow, so all the things were just adding up. I hit well with his bat, so he has hits in it. Same size, just different model and different name, and it worked.”
Matt Szczur told Tony Andracki the bat is three years old.
Szczur said Rizzo doesn’t owe him anything for using his bat and can use it all the time. He was glad to be able to help the team win. “He doesn’t owe me anything. Tony has picked up dinner quite a few times.”
“I knew he had it when he got in the box and I looked at Tommy La Stella and said, “Watch, he’s gonna get a knock right now.’ And then he hit the homer,” Szczur said.
Carl Edwards Jr.
Joe Maddon provided an update on Edwards Jr. after the game. Maddon said he wasn’t sure if the hamstring injury wasn’t more than a cramp. The Cubs will know more Thursday. Maddon described the injury as “less than mild.”
Edwards Jr. addressed the injury with the beat writers and said he expects to be available Thursday. Edwards Jr. felt his hamstring grab on a couple of pitches to Corey Seager according to the Tribune.
NLCS Probable Starters
Dave Roberts said before and after Game 4 that RHP Kenta Maeda would start Game 5 against Jon Lester and not Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers had Kershaw throw his bullpen prior to the game, which pointed to Kershaw not being available for a Game 5 start.
With the series tied at two with as many as three games left to play, here are the probable pitching matchups for the remainder of the NLCS.
- Game 5 – LHP Jon Lester vs. RHP Kenta Maeda
- Game 6 – RHP Kyle Hendricks vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw
- Game 7 – RHP Jake Arrieta vs. LHP Rich Hill
The Cubs and Dodgers have not announced their starting pitchers for a possible Game 7 at Wrigley Field on Sunday night.
Major League Baseball announced the start times for games six and seven at Wrigley Field. And both games will start at 7:08pm CDT.
News and Notes
• Jon Lester gets the ball in Game 5 and is ready to embrace the butterflies again in the NLCS according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Gordon Wittenmyer asked if Cubs coach, Mike Borzello, can stop Kenley Jansen after he helped turn the Dodgers’ closer into the next Mariano Rivera.
• The Sun-Times reported just ask Ron Cey, getting close to a title just isn’t good enough.
• Game 4 of the NLCS posted a 21.4 Chicago market rating with a peak audience of over 959,000 homes according to Jeff Nuich.
— CSN Chicago (@CSNChicago) October 20, 2016
— #Statcast (@statcast) October 20, 2016
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 20, 2016
Always Bunt … The Bunt Heard Round Cubdom
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 20, 2016
Must-see video of Anthony Rizzo’s exchange with Angel Hernandez
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 20, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
2008 – The Cubs and Jim Hendry agreed to a four-year contract extension. Hendry was rewarded with an extension after back-to-back NL Central division titles and the best record in the NL in 2008.
2007 – Cubs signed free agent Josh Kroeger
1980 – Jose Veras, born
1980 – Cubs released Bill Landrum
1977 – Cubs granted free agency to George Mitterwald
1972 – Cubs traded Tom Phoebus to the Braves for Tony LaRussa
1886 – Chicago National League Ball Club beat St. Louis 11-4 and took a 2-1 lead in the Championship Series against the Browns. John Clarkson picked up the win and both King Kelly and George Gore homered at West Side Park.