October 2016

#Cubs and Lester face Indians in Game 5

Jon Lester will start Sunday in Game 5 of the World Series, hoping to extend the Cubs’ season. Manager Joe Maddon did not shake up the lineup vs. the Indians and Trevor Bauer, who the Cubs beat in Game 2. First pitch will be 7:08 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field.

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Baez 2B

Ross C

Lester P

The Cubs need to find some offense but it’ll be tough. The Indians pitchers are 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in the World Series so far, and 10-2 with a 1.68 ERA in the postseason overall, giving up six home runs over 12 games.

In the Indians’ three wins, they’ve walked four batters and fallen behind in the count, 2-0, 12 times. The Cubs drew eight walks in Game 2 against Trevor Bauer and Co., and four walks total in Games 1, 3 and 4.

This will be Ross’ final home game for the Cubs, and may be his last game. He’s retiring after this season, and in his regular season farewell on Sept. 25, Ross hit a solo home run to help the Cubs beat the Cardinals, 3-1. Lester also asked Maddon to come out and take the catcher out of the game so he could get the proper sendoff by the fans at Wrigley Field.

The Indians will try to win their first World Series since 1948, starting Bauer, who the Cubs beat in Game 2, collecting two runs on six hits over 3 2/3 innings.

#Cubs notes prior to Game 5

Some things to think about prior to Game 5 of the World Series at Wrigley Field Sunday night:

*Teams to rally from 3-1 deficit in a best of seven World Series:
1925 Pirates (beat Senators)
1958 Yankees (beat Braves)
1968 Tigers (beat Cardinals)
1979 Pirates (beat Orioles)
1985 Royals (beat Cardinals)

The ’58 Yankees, ’68 Tigers and ’79 Pirates won Games 6-7 on the road.
* The Cubs are the 47th team in Major League history to win 103 plus games in a regular season. They are hoping to avoid being the 29th team with 103 wins that does not win a World Series. That list includes the 2004 Cardinals (105 wins); 2002 Yankees (103 wins), 2002 Athletics (103 wins), 2001 Mariners (116 wins), 1999 Braves (103 wins).

*The Indians have outscored the Cubs, 15-7, in the four games. The Indians pitchers are 3-1, 1.50 ERA in the World Series (they are 10-2, 1.68 ERA in the postseason).

*Overall, the Cubs are 13-25 in postseason at Wrigley Field, and 4-3 in 2016 postseason games at home. They also are 2-13 in World Series games at Wrigley.

#Cubs lineup vs Indians, Game 4

Jason Heyward returned to the lineup on Saturday for Game 4 and will make his first career World Series start for the Cubs, who need a win to even the series against the Indians. John Lackey gets the start. First pitch will be 7:08 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field.

Heyward has not started since Game 5 of the NLCS. He was batting 2-for-31 (.065) so far in the postseason, but manager Joe Maddon does like his defense in right field. The Indians will start Corey Kluber, who also pitched in Game 1, which Cleveland won, 6-0. Chris Coghlan started in right field in that game at Progressive Field.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Contreras C

Russell SS

Heyward RF

Baez 2B

Lackey P

Heyward isn’t the only one struggling this postseason. Baez is 1-for-9 with RISP and two outs so far. Russell is batting .050 (1-for-20) at home in the postseason. Anthony Rizzo is batting .130 (3-23 AB) at home in the postseason. Ben Zobrist is batting .150 (3-20 AB) at home in the postseason.

Teams that take a 3-1 series lead in a best-of-seven World Series have gone on to win 39 of 44 occasions (88.6 percent), including each of the last 10 occasions. The last team to take a 3-1 series lead and LOSE the Fall Classic was the 1985 Cardinals.

Zobrist’s wife, Julianna, will sing “God Bless America” before the game, and Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins will throw out first pitches.

#Cubs Game 3 lineup vs Indians

Jorge Soler started in right field and rookie Willson Contreras was behind the plate again Friday for the Cubs in Game 3 of the World Series against the Indians. First pitch was scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CT from Wrigley Field.

Kyle Schwarber, who went 3-for-7 as the designated hitter in the first two games in Cleveland, is delegated to being a pinch hitter. Schwarber has made an amazing return after tearing two ligaments in his left knee in the third game of the season, but was not given medical clearance to play in the outfield.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Contreras C

Soler RF

Baez 2B

Russell SS

Hendricks P

The Cubs will miss Schwarber but their pitchers are 4-for-21 (.190) with two home runs and six RBIs in the postseason so far, which includes Hendricks’ two-run single in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Giants.

Soler is 0-for-10 in the playoffs but right-handed hitters batted .299 against Indians starter Josh Tomlin this season while lefties hit .229. Soler may get one into the wind, too. It was blowing out at Wrigley Field.

 

#Cubs lineup for Game 2 World Series

Kyle Schwarber was back in the Cubs lineup on Wednesday for Game 2 of the World Series, batting fifth, but manager Joe Maddon decided to start catcher Willson Contreras and Jorge Soler in right.

Miguel Montero has been paired up with starter Jake Arrieta in the postseason but Maddon hinted he may switch to Contreras, who has had better success throwing out base runners. Soler is 0-for-8 so far in the postseason, but batted .474 in the playoffs last year.

The Cubs are looking for offense after being shutout in Game 1, 6-0. So far, the Cubs have scored five or more runs in seven of their 11 postseason games, but have scored just one run combined in the other four games.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Schwarber DH

Baez 2B

Contreras C

Soler RF

Russell SS

Schwarber went 1-for-3 with a walk in Game 1 on Monday, collecting his first hit in the Majors this year. He’s the first National League player (including pitchers) with a World Series hit and no regular season hits since Jesse Orosco in 1986.

#Cubs lineup for Game 1 World Series

Not only is Kyle Schwarber on the Cubs’ World Series roster, but he’s starting as the designated hitter and batting fifth on Tuesday for Game 1 against the Indians.

Schwarber, who tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee in a collision on April 7, returns to the ballpark where he made his Major League debut in June 2015. In an Interleague series against the Indians last year, he went 6-for-10 with a triple, home run and four RBIs. The only issue for the Middletown, Ohio, native is finding enough last minute tickets for his
family and friends.

The other surprise in the Cubs lineup is Chris Coghlan starting in right field over Jason Heyward. Coghlan has faced Indians’ Game 1 starter Corey Kluber, and was 1-for-3 with a double. Ben Zobrist has the most at-bats against Kluber among the Cubs (13), but only one hit. Heyward was 2-for-28 in the postseason, while Coghlan is 0-for-4.

Think about this: On Opening Day against the Angels, Coghlan was with the Athletics, Javier Baez was on the bench, Heyward was batting second, and Jorge Soler was the designated hitter.

Jon Lester starts for the Cubs at Progressive Field. First pitch will be 7 p.m. CT.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Schwarber DH

Baez 2B

Coghlan RF

Russell SS

Ross C

This is the Cubs’ first World Series since 1945. According to Elias Sports Bureau, no team in the four major North American sports had ever gone longer than 71 years without an appearance in a championship game/series.

Tuesday’s game also marks the 25,948th day since the Cubs previously played a World Series game on Oct. 10, 1945.

#Cubs Hendricks faces Kershaw and LA

Manager Joe Maddon inserted rookie Albert Almora Jr. in right field for Game 6 of the NL Championship Series on Saturday night and sat Jason Heyward, who was 2-for-28 in the postseason so far.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Baez 2B

Contreras C

Russell SS

Almora RF

Hendricks P

Almora is 0-for-6 so far in the NLCS, but gives the Cubs another right-handed bat against Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw. Heyward, in the first year of an eight-year, $184 million contract with the Cubs, batted .230 this season, including a .207 mark against lefties.

Hendricks, who finished the season with the top ERA in the Majors, will be making his second NLCS start. He took the loss in Game 2 when he faced Kershaw at Wrigley Field, giving up one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings.

#Cubs NLCS notes

The Cubs face the Dodgers on Saturday night at Wrigley Field in Game 6 of the NLCS. The Cubs lead, 3-2, in the best of seven series. Kyle Hendricks will start for Chicago against Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CT.

Here are some notes courtesy of MLB Network researchers:

* Ten teams in MLB history have won Games 6 and 7 on the road in a best of seven series. Here’s the list:

1926 Cardinals – World Series vs. Yankees
1934 Cardinals – World Series vs. Tigers
1952 Yankees – World Series vs. Dodgers
1958 Yankees – World Series vs. Braves
1968 Tigers – World Series vs. Cardinals
1979 Pirates – World Series vs. Orioles
1985 Royals – ALCS vs. Blue Jays
1991 Braves – NLCS vs. Pirates
2003 Marlins – NLCS vs. Cubs
2004 Red Sox – ALCS vs. Yankees

* The Cubs have an 0-6 record when trying to clinch the NLCS, surrendering a 2-0 series lead in 1984 (best of five series) and a 3-1 lead in 2003 (best of seven).

* After batting 2-for-32 (.063) with four RBI over the first three games of the NLCS, the Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are batting .440 (11-for-25) with three doubles, a home run (Anthony Rizzo) and eight RBI over the last two games.

* The Cubs are hitting .313 with 17 RBI against the Dodgers bullpen in this series, compared to .169 with seven RBI against their starting pitchers.

* The Cubs are batting .171 (25-for-146 AB) against left-handed pitchers in the postseason.

* The last time Hendricks lost back-to-back starts was in mid-May (May 17 and 22). At the time, he was 2-4 with a 3.30 ERA. Since then, he’s 14-5 with a 1.83 ERA.

* Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez: “We can grab that momentum with one name — Kershaw.”

#Cubs and Lester face Dodgers in Game 5

Jon Lester starts Thursday night in Game 5 of the NLCS for the Cubs. It’ll be a rematch between the Game 1 starters (Lester and Kenta Maeda). First pitch will be 7:08 p.m. CT from Dodger Stadium. The series is tied at two wins apiece.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Baez 2B

Heyward RF

Russell SS

Ross C

Lester P

 

#Cubs and Lackey face Dodgers

Manager Joe Maddon went back to a more defensive lineup on Wednesday for Game 4 of the NL Championship Series, starting Jason Heyward in right. Rookie Willson Contreras will be behind the plate, and Addison Russell, who has been struggling in the postseason, was dropped to eighth in the order. First pitch was scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CT.

Here’s the Cubs lineup:

Fowler CF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Zobrist LF

Baez 2B

Contreras C

Heyward RF

Russell SS

Lackey P

The Cubs will face their third straight lefty in the series in 20-year-old Julio Urias. However, they faced the youngster twice this season, beating him on June 2 at Wrigley Field in his second ML start and then losing Aug. 27 in Los Angeles, 3-2. The Cubs did not face Game 2 starter Clayton Kershaw or Game 3 starter Rich Hill in the regular season, and lost both NLCS games against them.

The Cubs will counter with John Lackey, who will be making his 22nd career post-season start, the most for any active pitcher in baseball. He will be tied with Whitey Ford for the sixth-most starts in postseason history. Andy Pettitte holds the all-time record with 44 post-season starts.