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#Cubs set NLDS rotation

Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the Cubs’ NLDS against the Cardinals on Friday at Busch Stadium and Kyle Hendricks will start Game 2 on Saturday. Cubs manager Joe Maddon announced the postseason rotation on Thursday. On Monday, 22-game winner Jake Arrieta would start Game 3, which will be played at Wrigley Field on Monday.

Jason Hammel will be in the bullpen during the NLDS but could start Game 4 if needed.

This is Hendricks’ first full season in the Major Leagues, and Maddon said they picked the right-hander because he’s been sharp in his final regular season outings.

“The fact that he could put the ball on the ground matters a lot, too, keep the ball out of the air,” Maddon said. “He’s just been very sharp, so we just chose to do that, and then, of course, we’re not going to skip Jake [for Game 3]. And then it’s going to get back to the idea of if we don’t use Jason Hammel before that, you probably will see him in Game 4, but if we need him sooner than that, you’ll see him sooner than that, and then we’ll have to make an adjustment for Game 4.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs to reveal NLDS roster on Friday

Manager Joe Maddon said Thursday the Cubs’ NLDS roster would not be “dramatically different” from the Wild Card Game roster. The Cubs play the Cardinals at Busch Stadium in Game 1 of the best of five series.

“You have to do a couple of different things based on the numbers,” Maddon said Thursday. “We need more pitchers, legitimate bullpen guys, a couple more starters.”

The Cubs were expected to trim a position player from the Wild Card roster. They carried 10 pitchers and 15 position players against the Pirates. The 25-man NLDS roster was expected to be announced around 10 a.m. CT Friday.

Reliever Jason Motte, on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, will not be on the Cubs’ NLDS roster.

“I feel good,” Motte said Thursday. “I threw a live [bullpen] in Arizona, threw a bullpen the other day, played catch today. Everything feels good. I don’t make the decisions. I go out and do what I can do to be healthy. I feel good.”

MLB, #Cubs announce NLDS start times

The Cubs will play their first postseason game at Wrigley Field since 2008 on Monday, and the start time is a little fluid. If there are four postseason games on Monday, Game 3 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and the Cardinals will start at 5:07 p.m. CT. If there are only two or three postseason games on Monday, the Cubs’ Game 3 will begin at 3:37 p.m. CT.

Monday’s schedule includes Game 3 of the NLDS between the Mets and Dodgers, and also could include Game 4’s for both of the American League Division Series.

Monday’s game will be the first postseason game at Wrigley Field since Game 2 of the NLDS between the Cubs and Dodgers on Oct. 2, 2008. Chicago lost that game, 10-3, and was swept in the best of five series.

If there is a Game 4 in the Cubs vs. Cardinals’ NLDS, it will start at 3:37 p.m. CT on Tuesday, but could move to 7:07 p.m. CT if the Mets and Dodgers NLDS series has ended. If Game 5 is necessary, it would be played at Busch Stadium on Oct. 15 and start at either 3:37 p.m. CT or 7:07 p.m. CT, again depending on the Mets-Dodgers series.

Notes from #Cubs wild Wild Card win

More notes from Wednesday’s 4-0 Cubs win over the Pirates at PNC Park in the NL Wild Card Game:

*Dexter Fowler went 3-for-4 for his second career multi-hit postseason game. He also tied a Cubs single-game postseason record by scoring three times, matching Frank Demaree’s mark, set Oct. 2, 1932, against the Yankees.

*Fowler hit his first postseason home run. It also was his first homer since Sept. 7, and first of his career at PNC Park.

*Kyle Schwarber is the first Cubs rookie to homer in a postseason game since Geovany Soto did so in Game 2 of the 2007 Division Series at Arizona. It’s the third time in Cubs postseason history that a rookie homered in a game. He joins Soto and Frank Demaree, who connected in the 1932 World Series. Schwarber is the first to do so in his first postseason game. He joins Demaree as the only Cubs rookie with three RBI in a postseason game.

*The Cubs posted their first shutout in a postseason game since Game 1 of the 1984 League Championship Series against the Padres. It was the ninth shutout in Cubs postseason history.

*Jake Arrieta extended his scoreless innings streak to 31 innings with his complete game on Wednesday.

*Arrieta is the first Cubs pitcher to throw a shutout in the postseason since Claude Passeau did so Oct. 5, 1945, against Detroit in Game 3 of the World Series.

*Wednesday’s win snapped the Cubs’ nine-game postseason losing streak. It was  the team’s first win since Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS.

#Cubs Arrieta does it all — 11 Ks, SB, starts a fight and a W

In his first postseason game, Jake Arrieta threw a four-hit complete shutout, striking out 11, to lead the Cubs to a 4-0 victory over the Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game. Claude Passeau was the last Cubs pitcher to throw a shutout in the postseason, doing so Oct. 5, 1945, in Game 3 of the World Series. But Arrieta topped that.

*Arrieta is the first pitcher in postseason history to throw a shutout while striking out at least 10 and not walking a batter. The previous high was nine Ks, set by Cole Hamels in Game 3 of the 2010 NL Division Series.

*Arrieta’s 11 strikeouts tied the Cubs franchise record, set by Kerry Wood in Game 1 of the 2003 NLDS against the Braves. Wood was at PNC Park on Wednesday to share in the win.

*Arrieta is the 10th pitcher all-time to be hit by a pitch in a postseason game. And, after he was plunked, Arrieta then stole second base. He’s the fifth pitcher all-time — and the first since Cliff Lee in 2009 — to steal a base in the postseason.

It won’t show up on the stats sheets but Arrieta getting plunked also sparked a bench-clearing melee in the seventh. He had hit two Pirates earlier in the game and Pittsburgh’s Tony Watson decided it was time to get even.

“The playoffs,” Arrieta said of why both benches emptied. “There’s a lot at stake. Tempers were running hot, and it is what it is. It’s just the environment. It breeds that kind of intensity and sometimes those things happen.”

This was Arrieta’s sixth start this season against the Pirates.

“They’ve seen Jake a lot and we’ve seen [Gerrit Cole] a lot,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “At the end of the day, it really comes down to execution of pitches in the moment. We were able to get him there.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs fan Eddie Vedder joins in the party

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder joined in the Cubs’ post game party Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of’s Jordan Bastian


3 #Cubs rookies start vs Bucs

The Cubs will have three rookies in the lineup Wednesday night when they face the Pirates in the NL Wild Card Game at PNC Park. Kyle Schwarber will start in right, Kris Bryant in left, and Addison Russell at shortstop. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF
Schwarber RF
Bryant LF
Rizzo 1B
La Stella 3B
Castro 2B
Montero C
Russell SS
Arrieta P

Cubs manager Joe Maddon said on paper, it may not look like a good lineup defensively, but says they can get the job done. Also, it’s the same lineup that was behind Jake Arrieta in his last start against the Brewers.

“Hopefully, we’ll grab a lead and eventually move the defense around game in progress,” Maddon said.

#Cubs pre Wild Card game notes

The Cubs and Pirates meet Wednesday night in the Wild Card Game at PNC Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:08 p.m. CT. Here are some pre-game notes to prepare you for the contest, provided by MLB Network researchers:

*This will be the 2,442nd meeting all-time between the Cubs and Pirates dating back to 1887, but it’ll be the first time they’ve ever met in the postseason.

*The Cubs finished the regular season with an eight-game winning streak and 0.61 ERA.

*The Cubs went 11-8 vs. the Pirates this season, including 6-4 at PNC Park.

*This is the Pirates’ third straight postseason appearance, and they are hosting the Wild Card game for the third straight year.

*The Cubs have lost nine straight postseason games, tied for the sixth-longest skid in postseason history. The only longer
active postseason drought belongs to the Twins (12). The last time the Cubs won a postseason game was Game 4 of the 2003 NLCS. Aramis Ramirez, now on the Pirates, hit two home runs for the Cubs in an 8-3 win over the Marlins in that game, including a grand slam. If he’s in the lineup on Wednesday, Ramirez would be playing against the Cubs in what will likely be his final game.

*The Cubs went an MLB-best 48-33 (.593) on the road this season. That’s the most road wins by a Cubs teamm since winning a franchise-record 49 road games in 1945. The Pirates were 53-28 (.654) at PNC Park this season, third best home record in the Majors behind the Cardinals and Dodgers.

*The Cubs won 24 more games this season than a year ago, the biggest improvement from 2014 in all of baseball.

*The Pirates (3.21) and Cubs (3.36) ranked second and third in MLB in ERA this year. Plus, the Pirates 2.67 bullpen ERA was the best in the Majors.

#Cubs Wild Card Game roster

The Cubs announced the 25-man roster for Wednesday’s Wild Card Game against the Pirates. Here you go:

28-Kyle Hendricks, RHP
33-Clayton Richard, LHP
34-Jon Lester, LHP
37-Travis Wood, LHP
46-Pedro Strop, RHP
49-Jake Arrieta, RHP
52-Justin Grimm, RHP
53-Trevor Cahill, RHP
56-Hector Rondon, RHP
57-Fernando Rodney, RHP

3-David Ross
5-Quintin Berry
8-Chris Coghlan
9-Javier Baez
11-Tommy La Stella
12-Kyle Schwarber
13-Starlin Castro
15-Chris Denorfia
17-Kris Bryant
22-Addison Russell
24-Dexter Fowler
27-Austin Jackson
44-Anthony Rizzo
47-Miguel Montero
68-Jorge Soler

#Cubs Bryant, Schwarber could be in OF

Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t want to reveal his lineup for Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game because he didn’t want to give the Pirates any edge. But judging by batting practice on Tuesday, the Cubs could have rookies Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber at the corner outfield spots.

Tommy La Stella worked out at third base, including some extra work after batting practice ended on Tuesday at PNC Park. Bryant was in left field during the workout.

“I can do it,” Bryant said about playing the outfield. “I made a pretty good play here the last time I was in the outfield. [I’ll play] wherever they need me. This is a game where it really doesn’t matter where I play. I just want to help the team win any way I can. If that’s in the outfield, then I’ll play the heck out of the outfield.”

In the last 10 days, Maddon has moved players around in preparation for the postseason.

“I love the fact that we’re so versatile,” Maddon said Tuesday. “I love that young players are not stuck in one position, and if you move them, all of a sudden they freak out about it or it’s going to hurt them in arbitration or whatever years from now because they don’t have one position. Our guys don’t think that way and I love it. All of this has been experimentation waiting to get to this moment.”

Bryant has started 10 games in the outfield, including four in left, one in center and five in right. His only start in center was at PNC Park on April 23. In a doubleheader on Sept. 15, he started the first game at third, and was in right field for the second game.

“Right field is a little different because there’s a chain link fence,” he said of PNC Park. “There’s not the traditional padded wall. Left field is pretty big, left center is huge. I hit a couple balls to left center that I thought were homers and they were outs, so it’s a pretty big left field.”

The Cubs most likely would want La Stella in the lineup as the left-handed hitting infielder is the only Cubs player with an extra-base hit off Pirates starter Gerrit Cole this season. Bryant is 3-for-9, striking out six times.

Schwarber has started 38 games in the outfield, primarily in left (36 games). With Bryant, Schwarber, and shortstop Addison Russell, the Cubs could have three rookies starting on Wednesday.

— Carrie Muskat


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