Game 6 of the National League Championship Series is tonight (7:08pm CDT). It’s Kyle Hendricks versus Clayton Kershaw. The Cubs lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. And with a win the Cubs will have earned the organization’s first National League Pennant in 71 years.
With Hendricks on the hill, Willson Contreras is expected to be behind the plate. Contreras has had quite the postseason offensively and defensively.
Contreras is hitting as well as impacting games with his defense. Contreras drove in the eventual winning run in Game 4 and had one of the two hits in Game 2 off Kershaw. Contreras is batting .273/.273/.273 (3-for-11) in the series with two runs scored and one RBI.
So far this postseason, Contreras is hitting .412/.444/.412/.856 with three runs scored and three RBI in nine games.
Contreras caught 12 of Hendricks’ starts this season (71 1/3 innings). Hendricks had a 1.51 ERA throwing to Contreras while holding opponents to a .202/.261/.318 line with a .579 OPS.
The Cubs could use the battery of Hendricks and Contreras to have their best game to this point tonight.
Kyle Hendricks gets the ball Saturday night in Game 6 of the NLCS against Clayton Kershaw. The Cubs are hoping class is in session for ‘The Professor’ in his second game in less than a week against the Dodgers.
Hendricks had an excellent season and is in the conversation for the NL Cy Young Award.
Kershaw gave his opponent a very good compliment prior to Game 5 at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw said Hendricks is very similar to Greg Maddux … and is “kind of like the Greg Maddux of this generation with his ability to sink the ball, cut the ball, and put him in spots where hitters are enticed to swing at it but you can’t put the barrel on it. He’s really good at mixing speeds, changing it up.”
Jesse Rogers talked to Greg Maddux and asked the Hall of Famer what he thought of Hendricks.
Greg Maddux on Hendricks from ESPN Chicago:
“If it was a radar contest, then why play the game, right? Velocity is nice, but command and movement are better. It’s mostly the [sinking] fastball. He has the ability to throw a two-seam fastball to both sides of the plate. Most pitchers are four-seam to one side and two-seam to the other. If you can throw your two-seamer to both sides of the plate, that’s an advantage to the pitcher. He has the ability to recognize when a hitter is sitting on a certain pitch and throw something else. He relies on the low fastball that sinks pretty good. Very good at trying to keep the ball in front of the outfield with that pitch. That’s what it’s about … locating your fastball, changing speeds and keeping the ball in the ballpark.”
“He’s fun to watch.”
The Sun-Times reported Kyle Hendricks rides power of change against Clayton Kershaw in Game 6. And Comcast SportsNet detailed how the Cubs acquired Hendricks from the Rangers in the deal for Ryan Dempster.
Bill Murray crashed the White House press briefing to talk Cubs.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 21, 2016
News and Notes
• The Tribune reported Matt Szczur’s underwear is a good-luck charm for Addison Russell. Feeding off ‘good karma,’ the Cubs believe everything happens for a reason according to Comcast SportsNet. The Sun-Times reported the Cubs’ Baez and Russell … Baessell? Russez? … a Bryzzo-like combo.
• Javier Baez is the 14th player in postseason history to have multiple two-double games in one year.
• And speaking of the American League Champions, Trevor Bauer is expected to be ready for the World Series. Bauer received “additional suture work on injured finger from Dr. Graham” to try to prevent it from bleeding according to Paul Hoynes. Danny Salazar is throwing a three-inning simulated game this weekend according to Paul Hoynes. The Indians have not ruled out Salazar starting. A more likely scenario for Salazar is pitching out of the bullpen in the World Series. Terry Francona was not ready Friday to say if Salazar or Ryan Merritt would make the World Series roster.
• The long layoff should give the Indians much-needed rest, not rust according to Jerry Crasnick.
• The Dodgers distracted themselves more than Jon Lester with plate and baserunning antics according to Buster Olney. If the Cubs advance, the Indians might be able to expose Lester’s issues. The Indians would have first-hand knowledge of how to do so considering manager Terry Francona knows Lester very well.
• According to Dave Cameron, Jon Lester should have Madison Bumgarner’s reputation.
• David Ross completed conquest at Dodger Stadium according to the Tribune.
• From Buster Olney: “One evaluator who is following the Cubs-Dodgers series has noted how Aroldis Chapman keeps on getting up in the bullpen in the eighth inning, but doesn’t seem as pliable as other relievers still competing in this postseason. He threw in the bullpen in the eighth inning of Game 5 and had an ugly ninth inning. The Cubs “keep on trying to turn Chapman into Kenley Jansen or Miller,” he said, “but it’s become pretty obvious he’s just not comfortable throwing that much. They should just let him do what he does — pitch the ninth inning.”
• It’s time for Joe Maddon to sit Jason Heyward according to ESPN Chicago.
• Carl Edwards Jr. is riding spin to success according to FanGraphs.
• The Tigers named Lloyd McClendon the team’s hitting coach … and Leon ‘Bull’ Durham it’s new assistant hitting coach.
• The Tigers are open for business, according to Buster Olney, and are willing to trade anybody. Well, almost anybody. The Tigers “will cling to its young pitching, so any team interested in Michael Fulmer or some of their other young starters probably isn’t going to gain any traction.”
• Adrian Gonzalez told the Tribune Wrigley Field will not be any louder for Game 6 as it was for the first two games of the NLCS. “They can’t cheer any louder. It’s not like it’s a loud stadium to begin with. They’re going to try their best, and we’re going to tune them out like we always do.”
• Game 5 of the NLCS drew staggering ratings in the Chicago market according to Maury Brown. And nationally, the Cubs-Dodgers set a new record for FS1. Cubs ratings for Game 5 nearly doubled Bears-Packers on Thursday Night Football according to Danny Ecker.
• Tickets for Game 6 are going for nearly $5,000 according to Maury Brown. A seat in the 500-level is almost $500 ($478.00).
• According to Ariel Cheung when the Cubs win you can hear ‘Go Cubs Go’ a mile away from Wrigley Field.
And last, but not least, for those that have the time click on this link for almost seven minutes of audio of Theo Epstein talking about his team on MLB Network Radio prior to Game 3 of the NLCS.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 21, 2016
This Day in Cubstory
1988 – Cubs granted free agency to Jeff Schwarz
1986 – Chris Rusin, born
1985 – Cubs granted free agency to Dave Hostetler
1981 – Lee Elia was named manager of the Cubs. Elia replaced Joey Amalfitano.
1979 – Eli Whiteside, born
1976 – Michael Barrett, born
1956 – Frank DiPino, born
1954 – Jamie Quirk, born
1910 – The Cubs won their only game of the World Series against Philadelphia behind Mordecai Brown at West Side Grounds. The Cubs tied the game in the ninth and won it 4-3 in the 10th after a Jimmy Archer double and a Jimmy Sheckard single.
1907 – Jimmie Foxx, born
1886 – The Browns took a 3-2 lead in the Championship Series with a 10-3 victory over the Chicago National League Ball Club.
1885 – After a five day delay to allow the Browns to play the City Series against the Maroons, St. Louis’ NL team at the time, the fifth game of the Championship Series was played in Pittsburgh with Chicago winning 9-2 behind three hits each by Jack McCormick, Abner Dalrymple and Cap Anson.