#Cubs Ross to start vs lefty in NLCS Game 4

The Cubs face elimination with a loss to the Mets on Wednesday in the National League Championship Series, and manager Joe Maddon made some minor tweaks to the lineup, starting right-handed hitting David Ross at catcher and moving Javier Baez up to seventh.

The Mets lead the best of seven NLCS, 3-0, and can earn a trip to the World Series with a win at Wrigley Field. The Cubs will face lefty Steven Matz, which could be good. In the postseason so far, Chicago batters were hitting .276 against left-handed pitching. Ross batted .176 this season, and .156 against left-handed pitchers. Miguel Montero, who batted .248 in the regular season, hit .234 against lefties and .250 against right-handers. Montero was 2-for-20 in the postseason so far, and 1-for-7 in the LCS.

The Cubs need to generate some offense. They are hitless in 25 at-bats leading off an inning. Anthony Rizzo was 2-for-10 and Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber were both 2-for-11 in the three LCS games so far. Soler was 2-for-8 with one home run. Schwarber has five playoff homers so far, and is one shy of tying the Rays’ Evan Longoria for the most postseason blasts by a rookie. Longoria hit six in 2008.

The Cubs have scored 16 runs at Wrigley Field in the postseason, 15 of which have come via the home run. The only run the Cubs have scored at home in the playoffs came on Hammel’s RBI single in the Division Series.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Soler RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Schwarber LF

Baez SS

Hammel P

Ross C

— Carrie Muskat

27 Comments

This is hard to watch! 😡 Let’s get this turned around! Get the BATS going!

Aloha White- I know it was not easy to watch. The team had chances but could not bring um in, the story of the regular season. Soler had a heck of a night and I was disappointed in the home ump for calling that high pitch late on Fowler to end the game; Soler was next. I was just hoping for some late game fireworks just for the team to say, we will be back. Kudo’s to Bryant for his big knock. I know as so many Cubs fans out there are sad, that is Ok. Gosh, let us all be honest, we wanted this team to go as far as it could, no matter if they “arrived early” or not. I am so blessed by them and to have watched them this late into October was great. I know there will be a lot of time coming up (thank you in advance Carrie) to discuss this off-season and getting ready for next year. All I will say right now is that I think more pitching is needed than I thought both starting and bp and I would not be surprised to see a major overhaul of the staff (starters and relievers) come next Spring. I also think Montero and Schwarber should handle most of the backstop duties with Ross just starting maybe half of Lester’s games. Montero offered to come to Spring Training early to work with Schwarber and I think he should take him up on it. Well, again a great season! Mahalo!

Well that was pretty brutal. Although, I think this might be the first time I’ve ever said ‘next year’ with actual enthusiasm. Any thoughts on who the best free agent pick ups might be?

Aloha a.j., well for starting pitching you will hear names like Price (Blue Jays) and Grienke (Dodgers). They will come at a high price. The Cubs need a “table-setter” like a Cespedes or a Heyward. I have a feeling that Heyward will stay in St. Louis. I brought up Cespedes but he may not be the best fit for this team but clearly, the outfield needs some help both for defense and leadoff hitting, base running. A closer or beefing up the bullpen may come in the way of trades. It will be an interesting off-season! Hang in there! Mahalo!

Aloha again a.j., some other FA names for starting pitching are Mike Leake and Zimmerman. There are a lot of FA pitchers available after this current season and I am sure the front office will be engaged. Take care now. Mahalo!

I disagree that Cespedes and Heyward are table-setters, k.g. They are bashers. A table-setter is someone like Granderson who gets on base early and often by any means, and is driven in by folk like Cespedes and Heyward. Am hoping Ross retires and becomes a coach somewhere. If it`s with us, fine, but where he lands is not a priority with me. I`ve lost interest in Price. He relies most on his principal pitch, the fastball, and he loses velocity and life on that at the end of each season, and is a big reason he has lost every postseason game he`s ever started. {See him tomorrow night versus the Royals.} We will need to give Price the `Keys to the Kingdom` to sign, and I say that`s foolish. There will be better options. I`d like Zimmermann for one, but don`t want to stop there.

Aloha jhosk, no offense taken. I used Cespedes only as an example because yes he hits for power but when on base he runs, makes things happen. I like Granderson but did not mention his type because I am hopeful that as Petrey mentioned that Baez could learn that position plus more patience at the plate. Almora is another. I think getting someone like a Cespedes or Heyward who can play the corners well takes some pressure off of the young folks, lets them grow into their positions but when a break is needed they (ie: Bryant n Schwarber can play the Of). I mentioned Price and Grienke, one or both. You mentioned Zimmerman, he could be good too, even Leake who finished with the Giants. I agree with jasper that Ross should retire because even if he only starts half of Lester’s starts, he is taking up a spot. I also would like a Kimbrel, wanted him back in July. Maybe a Hammel/Castro trade gets him. I think the bullpen show be evaluated and see who you keep (Wood, Richard, Grimm, Ramirez), who gets a tryout at ST (Cahill, Wada)…You noticed I did not bring in late relievers. I think Robson was better towards the end and will be back but Strop could be in play trade wise if the FO were to pick up a Kimbrel. This next year will be about quality pickups because of where this team is headed, no more of the Soriano-Rodneys and such. Maddon will work them all hard with fundamentals and continue to grow them together as a team! Mahalo!

Aloha again jhosk, these darn “smart devices” filling in words, I did not mean Robson but Rondon. And the who you keep, offer a tryout in ST and consider trading for are just suggestions, nothing set on stone. I know we will be commenting back and forth during the WS. I hope the Royals get there now. Mahalo!

Yes, yes, yes. Lots to do over the winter — or in my case the summer. The difference now, I believe, is that FA players know 1) Cubs owners are willing to spend money and 2) this team is headed for several straight years of success. Hope Carrie and all you fans on this blog enjoy the off season. Até o ano que vem. That’s Portuguese for “See you next year.”

The FO has to see the struggles of the pitching and go after a top FA SP…. Price is a must in my opinion. Sure he will cost a lot but what pitching doesn’t? We aren’t in the position to build a rotation like the Mets. So we need to build it with money! We got money!
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I hope they don’t stop there. I don’t want to see Hendricks AND Hammel in the same rotation. We need to upgrade that 4 spot. Hendricks would be great in the 5 spot (and cheap). I think a trade of minor league talent could get us a nice upgrade in the 4 spot. Vogelbach, Almora, McKinney, Jimenez, Candelerio, etc etc could put together a package for a nice 4th starter.
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I truly am not worried one bit about the bullpen….
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CF is going to be interesting…. I really would like to see Baez get a shot there. Bryant good be servicable in a short term pinch. Same with Coghlan (maybe)…. but that doesn’t get us a leadoff hitter which I think we will truly miss. You saw in the NLCS what happens when the leadoff hitter doesn’t produce. Austin Jackson could be alright but not as good as Fowler. Fowler will be too long of a deal…. Heyward would be great but you are looking at 200 mill. I don’t know what the FO is going to do here.
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I would like to see our starters limited to a little less innings next year. If we could go into the playoffs with guys not pitching over 180innings I think it would help. Maybe a 6 man rotation for a stretch early in the year. IDK but Arrieta looked tired… Lester was good but not enough. Hammel and Hendricks aren’t good playoff starters for a contender.
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I hope the cubs can finalize a TV deal for 2019 and beyond this winter so we can budget for these big contracts. Cardinals signed their deal this year for 2018 and beyond. Can the cubs do one for 2019 and beyond? Lock in and profit off the current market for these TV deals…. who knows if it could crash in the future.
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Lots of things could happen…. I really don’t think we should sit back and hope we get better through maturation. Our window is opening to win…. we need to do what we can now to maximize that chance.
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My dream offseason: Sign Price 7 years 220mill… Trade Hammel for salary relief… Trade Castro, Almora, Jimenez, and Candelerio for Tyson Ross or Shields(paying all the contract and Kimbrel (if possible, and paying all contract)…. sign 4-5 billion TV deal for 2019 and beyond…. Sign Heyward for 8 yr 190 million with opt out at 4 years if he wants another big contract before hes too old (see Grienke)

Taking into consideration as far as the Cubs went this year, with most thinking they would be a 500 team, I am sure Management knows how close they really are.
A FA starter like Price or Greinke takes the team to the next level. Add another by trade and they are in very good shape. Lester could be the 4th starter and Hendricks #5.
CF is the huge question: If Fowler is signed and I am against that: He will be blocking McKinney, Almora and the newly signed Martinez.
There are two guys that have to be gone next year, Hammel and Ross. Ross could be a coach and still provide that leadership, but the Playoffs really showed his age.
Hammel is just very undependable and that spot needs upgraded.
The Cubs then have plenty to trade for one more year in CF and one, even two dependable starters.
Not going to lie, Kimbrel would be nice, but Rondon had a very good season.

lol Lester will never be the 4th starter…. come on thats just a bashing comment. Lester is our #2 and signing Price makes him a #3 but who knows how Arrieta will bounce back next year after throwing 90+ more innings in one year than he ever has before. That is just asking for arm troubles. Price and Grienke are really the only 2 arms on the market that would bump Lester down…. and again it would depend on how well Arrieta does into next season on who is the #2.

LOL Lester did very well his first year in the NL. I am sure he learned a lot and will do better next year.
Should they sign a Price and?? or Trade for a ??
The year Arietta had, Lester could very well be a #4.

Aloha Jasper- finally home and thinking a bit. One of the things I 50/50 on at the end of last year was the need for trying to sign one the better pitchers (Scherzer, Shields, Lester) because there were so few free agents, you knew the price would be high. I know you would like to trade for pitchers instead of paying for them. I was rethinking this and we all know that Price will come at a high price, same for a Grienke. How about a trade with SD that would net both Ross and Kimbrel? Ross will be 29 and Kimbrel 28 next year. This could get the organization a SP and a reliever/more bullpen help.Question is, what would they want in return? If they would go for a trade but Hammel not included then at the moment the SP lineup would be Arrieta, Lester, Ross, Hammel & Hendricks. The earliest Ross would be eligible for FA is 2018 and for Kimbrel 2017. Now if Hammel were part of a trade for those two pitchers then that opens up another slot/SP. I know jhosk likes Jordan Zimmermann and he might be an option. He did not have his best year, era-wise, but he still pitched innings and has a good ko-bb ratio. With Zimmermann, who I think would respond well to Bosio along with Ross, you get two very capable pitchers that hopefully will not break the bank, still young and teachable. And because the FO was able to put together a trade for Ross and Kimbrel from SD, that saved funds to go out and get a Jordan Z, offer Arrieta a longer term contract, as well as free up some funds for a corner outfielder that plays defense well and is a good contact hitter to boot! Was just thinking about a rotation of Arrieta, Lester, Ross, Zimmermann & Hendricks, all 30yrs and under! Enough of my rambling. Will be fun to watch what happens shortly! Mahalo!

Aloha Petrey, wow that is a big shopping list. I am sure TV deal will out. Agreed that Hammel should be traded, had high hopes for him. I think Hendricks could turn things around and the 5th spot could be effective for him. I think a Leake could be a good 4th starter, maybe get him for a two yr deal. Hopefully Edwards comes up at some point. I know Price has not done well in the Post Season but I think reunited with Maddon he would very well and battle Lester for the number two spot. Grienke could be too much but if you get Price, then a Leake or Zimmerman is more cost effective, again assuming Hammel is traded. Would love a Heyward too but he will cost and the Cardinals want him back! Mahalo!

Now come the baseball withdrawal pains! 😡 It has been a great season – fun to watch every game, fun to see the Cubs develop under Maddon’s guidance. No doubt about it – we will see them in the play offs next year! Time to start counting the days until Spring Training.

There is no withdrawal pains for a true blue Cub fan, with this Management.
After the WS, it will be FA season. DEC the GM meetings and trade talks. same week, the rule 5 Draft.
Signings and trades will take us into FEB when Pitchers and Catchers report.
Only go through withdrawal pains, if you only watch games and don’t see whats going on.

Hi jhosk, I agree with you. Have been watching many Blue Jay games and Price does not impress me as someone worth pursuing at the price he would ask. It would seem that his career has peaked and will only diminish from this point onward. I also look forward to watching him pitch tomorrow. As a true blue baseball fan who knows what is going on I am having withdrawal pains from having no games to watch until Spring Training. P.S. Just saw that Mattingly is no longer to manage in LA.

Yes, White, it`s no surprise that Mattingly is not asked back. The Dodgers organization spends far too much money to accept being bounced in the first round, and someone has to `take the fall.` Will be watching the W.S. no matter which teams play, but am hoping it`s Mets/Royals. Both have outstanding closers, and some say Familia is better than Davis. I`m partial to Davis, and want the Mets/Royals to face each other so we find out. As for Price, I predict he`ll underwhelm in his start Friday and the Royals will clinch. One more thing: I hope the Cubs do not consider signing Cueto. He`s unreliable too.

Mattingly and Dodgers was mutual….. that’s not a “not being asked back” situation

It has been an amazing season and such a great talented team. I actually was blessed enough to go yesterday and it was such a bitter sweet moment. Towards the end only the biggest fans stayed to wait for the Cubs and since we did the Cubs came back out. When they came back out you could feel the energy and love towards this team. It was a really great moment. But we can only go up, and with that being said, cheers to the 2015 season. All the boys made Chicago proud, and made it much farther then expected.

If Boz is so impressive as a pitching coach, why did he not have Hendricks and Hammel prepared for this series versus the Mets? Hammel was `terrible` versus the Redbirds too, as I recall. I don`t know how you evaluate Boz as a pitching coach. Do you give him credit for Jake`s success? From what I`ve seen and read, Arrieta achieved much of that improvement on his own. Did Boz help Lester? Jon underwhelmed in 2015. Perhaps Lester would have excelled under another pitching coach`s tutelage. Have you gotten the impression I`m not nearly as impressed with Bosio as some of y`all? And I say it`s best to wish `farewell` to Fowler. He can demand big bucks from some other club. He had his moments, but I recall him failing plenty of times. He came up lacking in this series versus the Mets, as did most of the Cubs` batters. It`s hard to accept how incompetent the Cubs were in this series with the Metropolitans. We were not competitive. I know we were not expected to be in that situation, and overachieved to get there, but still. We did get there and should have competed. We did so versus the Cardinals, the only major league club to achieve 100 victories in 2015, and indeed vanquished them. One can make the case easily that the St. Louis Cardinals were the very best team in the major leagues in 2015. We never led the Mets in the score at any point in the four games. That`s embarrassing. I know y`all will push back, but you will not be able to deny our performance was embarrassing.

So if a guy is a good Pitching Coach, all Pitchers should listen, apply his teachings and become 22 game winners. Not give up a run in the Post Season and become Champions?
If Bos was a good 3rd Grade teacher, 25 of his students get A’s. 3 get C’s and two fail, that would make him a bad teacher?
Not taking into account the personalities, not knowing what Bos is instructing, not knowing the relationship Bos has with his guys, who wants help, who doesn’t?
I find that rant ridiculous.

Definitely one of the better crop of free agents this year. Can we pick up Bartolo Colon? If not just to get him more regular ABs. Just love his attitude. Excited to see what C.J Edwards can do next year as well. Need more baseball. Go Mets?

Aloha jhosk, not saying Bosio is the be all to end all. You bring up salient points. One this is these are grown men and sometimes stuck in their ways. It could be argued that Cahill took to some of Bosio’s and other coaches advice when given a second chance by the Cubs but others did not. It is true about Arrieta and his own personal conditioning before and during the season. Hammel starts the season strong then seems to run out of gas at end. This happened with the A’s last year. He may need to rethink how he prepares for the upcoming season. Hendricks over thinks things and needs to learn how to “relax” and enjoy throwing. It might not be a bad thing for him to do a little more conditioning himself, maybe add on a few pounds of muscle. I brought up Zimmerman as you have spoken positively about him in the past. Seeing what Maddon-Bosio and coaches were able to get this young team to achieve was tremendous with the odds against them. I think that would inspire a Zimmerman to want to be a part of this team. And I have been thinking about alternatives to just going out and getting folks that will cost the organization heavily but not necessarily give back big returns. Take care now. Mahalo!

Yes, k.g. Have heard it said that Jordan Z. is not averse to joining the Cubs. Did you hear that Dave Martinez is one of the names being floated for the Dodgers` managerial opening? He`s one of `the usual suspects,` and doubt that he`ll be chosen. Have heard Gabe Kapler is the guy Andrew Friedman wants. You`ll see Martinez`s name mentioned often when organizations are seeking a manager. Do you have a preference for the Mets` opponent in the W.S., meaning will the Royals or Blue Jays make for a more compelling `Fall Classic`? Most knowledgeable baseball observers expected the Mets/Cubs series to be exciting. The Mets did their part.

Aloha jhosk, I hope Dave M stays but am sure Maddon would support him if the opportunity presented itself. I hope the Royals return to the WS, we will know soon. Take care now. Mahalo!

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