#Cubs Rizzo visits kids at Lurie’s hospital

It’s the postseason and the Cubs face the Mets in Game 3 on Tuesday, but Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took time to visit patients at Lurie’s Childrens Hospital earlier in the day. Rizzo signed autographs, took photos, and brought hats, teddy bears, and “W” rally towels (and hugs) to the patients and their families.

Last Friday, when the Cubs were in New York, Lurie Children’s Hospital honored Rizzo as the 2015 winner of the Champion’s For Children Award in recognition of his commitment to the health and well-being of the patients. He received the actual award on Tuesday.


#Cubs Hendricks vs Mets, Game 3 NLCS

Kyle Hendricks gets the start Tuesday night at Wrigley Field as the Cubs face the Mets in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series. The forecast will be delightful for October with temps projected in the mid 60s. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Schwarber LF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Soler RF

Montero C

Hendricks P

Baez SS

Hendricks won both of his career starts against the Mets, posting a 0.69 ERA in those outings. He started Game 2 of the NLDS against the Cardinals, and did not get a decision. He gave up three runs over 4 2/3 innings in taht game, and each of the runs came on solo home runs.

*Jorge Soler is back in the lineup after not playing in Game 2. Soler was starting in right. He’s batting .455 in the postseason.

*Daniel Murphy has homered in each of his last four games, and was batting .357 (10-for-28) with five home runs and eight RBI this postseason. Murphy will look to join Carlos Beltran (2004 Astros) as the only players to homer in five consecutive postseason games. Murphy’s five home runs is a record for a Mets player in a single postseason. He is also tied with Mike Piazza for most career postseason home runs as a Met (five).

Here’s the Mets lineup:

Granderson RF
Wright 3B
Murphy 2B
Cespedes CF
Duda 1B
d’Arnaud C
Conforto LF
Flores SS
deGrom P

#Cubs Hammel to start NLCS Game 4

Jason Hammel will start Game 4 of the National League Championship Series for the Cubs, manager Joe Maddon announced Monday.

The Mets lead the best of seven NLCS 2-0, with Game 3 scheduled for Tuesday at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks will start for the Cubs while the Mets will counter with Jacob deGrom.

Hammel did not get a decision in Game 4 of the NL Division Series, and was pulled after three innings against the Cardinals. Even though Hammel is penciled in, he will be available in relief if needed.

The Cubs do not want to bring Jon Lester back on short rest. The lefty started Game 1 on Saturday, and threw 107 pitches over 6 2/3 innings.

“We’re going to play it straight as of right now,” Maddon said Monday of the rotation. “To push Jon to that point, I don’t think we want to do that. We refrained from doing that in the previous round and it played out pretty well, so we’ll do it again. We could always change but as of right now, we’re not thinking [about Lester starting] at all.”

This will be Hammel’s fifth postseason start, and first in the LCS. He is 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA in his career, including this season.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Hendricks to start Game 3 NLCS

Kyle Hendricks will start Game 3 of the National League Championship Series for the Cubs, and Jason Hammel could start Game 4 but manager Joe Maddon said Sunday he’s also considering having a “bullpen day” when the series shifts to Wrigley Field. One thing the Cubs will not do is have Jon Lester come back on short rest and start Game 4, Maddon said.

“We’re still working on Game 4 but we have Kyle definitely in Game 3,” Maddon said.

Neither Hendricks or Hammel got a decision in their NL Division Series starts. Hammel was pulled after three innings in Game 4, while Hendricks gave up three runs over 4 2/3 innings, and all coming on three solo home runs.

Hammel was available in relief if needed for Game 2 Sunday and also Game 3 on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

“More than likely, [Hammel] will pitch Game 4 but I still want to talk to him and play it all the way through,” Maddon said.

The only other option would be using Travis Wood, Clayton Richard or Trevor Cahill out of the ‘pen.

“We could go with a bullpen [day] if you chose to,” Maddon said.

Lester started Game 1 on Saturday, and threw 107 pitches over 6 2/3 innings.

“I’m not planning on that right now at all,” Maddon said of having Lester start Wednesday.

*Sunday’s game time temperature was expected to be colder than Saturday’s 48-degree game time temp. Javier Baez, Starlin Castro and Jorge Soler all wore balaclavas over their heads to try and stay warm.

“They were fine,” Maddon said. “Starlin, before the game, told me he’ll be cold when the game is over. He played really well. I talked to him on the bench, when I went out to the mound, and he was fine. He was not worried about it.”

Soler hasn’t done well when the temperature is below 50 degrees.

“It’s going to be less than 50 today, so maybe it’s a good call [Soler isn’t starting],” Maddon said of the rookie, who was not in the starting lineup. “We’ll keep him warm until we need him.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs lineup: Coghlan and Montero start

Chris Coghlan, who homered off the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard, will start in right field Sunday  night when the Cubs take on the Mets in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Schwarber LF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Coghlan RF

Montero C

Baez SS

Arrieta P

*Kyle Schwarber is looking to become the second rookie to hit five home runs in the postseason. Only Evan Longoria (six home runs in 2008) has more than Schwarber’s four. He’s also looking to become the first Cub to homer in four straight playoff games. Only he and Alex Gonzalez (2003) have homered in three in a row for the Cubs. The last player to homer in four straight postseason games was Evan Longoria (2008)

*Jake Arrieta faced Syndergaard when the Mets rookie made his ML debut in May. Arrieta got the win. The Cubs ace has been better on the road (14-1, 1.49 ERA in 19 starts) this season than at home (10-5, 2.20 ERA in 16 starts). Those numbers include the postseason.

#Cubs notes: Hendricks, Hammel sked, Schwarb & more

*Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel will start in the National League Championship Series, but manager Joe Maddon wasn’t ready on Saturday to announce which game each right-hander would pitch in.

Jon Lester opened the best of seven series on Saturday night and Jake Arrieta was scheduled to pitch Game 2 on Sunday. The series shifts to Wrigley Field for Games 3-4-5, starting Tuesday. Neither pitcher got a decision in their NL Division Series starts. Hammel was pulled after three innings in Game 4, while Hendricks gave up three runs over 4 2/3 innings, and all coming on three solo home runs.

Maddon said he wanted to wait until pitching coach Chris Bosio had a chance to talk to both pitchers before announcing how they would handle the rotation.

*Kyle Schwarber batted second in the NL Wild Card game and the first game of the NLDS but Maddon then inserted Jorge Soler into the No. 2 spot for the next three postseason games. On Saturday, Schwarber was batting second again because the Cubs wanted to give the left-handed hitting rookie as many at-bats as possible against Mets right-hander Matt Harvey.

Schwarber batted .278 against right-handed pitchers this season, hitting 14 of his 16 homers off southpaws.

Maddon was just hoping the Cubs don’t try to do anything different than they have so far.

“I don’t want us to change anything — just go out there and keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Maddon said. “All of their pitchers are good. They have great starting pitching. We have some pretty good offensive players. Go play. Don’t try to do anything differently. Just play.”

*Maddon was battling a raspy voice and a cold, which he caught celebrating after the Cubs won Game 4 of the NLDS at Wrigley Field.

“It’s a head cold, and after the game on the field, talking to everybody, it was so loud, and I was trying to talk so loud,” Maddon said. “I get a head cold every year in October and November. I’ve been that guy.”

Maybe it’s a playoff cold.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs lineup for NLCS Game 1

Jon Lester will face the Mets’ Matt Harvey Saturday night in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series. First pitch was scheduled for 7:07 p.m. Chicago time. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Schwarber LF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Soler RF

Baez SS

Ross C

Lester P

*Lester has a 1-3 record and 3.86 ERA in six career LCS appearances, including four starts. He was 11-12 with a 3.34 ERA in his first season with the Cubs.

*Javier Baez is starting in place of shortstop Addison Russell, who is not on the Cubs NLCS roster because of a strained left hamstring.

*The Mets belted 102 home runs after the break, tops in the NL, including 22 by Yoenis Cespedes. The Cubs were second in the NL with 94 in the second half, led by young sluggers Anthony Rizzo (15), Kyle Schwarber (15) and Kris Bryant (14).

Chicago put on a power display in Game 3 of the NL Division Series against St. Louis, belting six home runs by six different players. The Cardinals boasted the best pitching staff in the NL, but the Mets enter the NLCS riding power arms in Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergard, and Matt Harvey. This could be fun. Game 1 will be Saturday at Citi Field. If you’re sitting in the outfield sections, bring a glove.

“We have hit home runs, and that’s when we do our best work, I cannot deny that,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Friday. “We work on other factions of the game — everybody does, it’s not just us. It’s just a matter of execution during the course of the game.

“We’re a high strikeout team, and that really tends to lead you away from good situational hitting in general because of the swing and miss,” Maddon said. “We work on it. You get to this particular moment, and you don’t know at what level the mental acuity will be at whereas a guy may be able to do something he hasn’t done at this point. I believe in that. I do believe in that.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs add Berry to #NLCS roster

The Cubs set the 25-man NLCS roster in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Mets.

Here is a look at the Chicago Cubs National League Championship Series roster:


28-Kyle Hendricks, RHP

33-Clayton Richard, LHP

34-Jon Lester, LHP

37-Travis Wood, LHP

39-Jason Hammel, RHP

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

24-Dexter Fowler

27-Austin Jackson

44-Anthony Rizzo

47-Miguel Montero

68-Jorge Soler

#Cubs vs Mets in NLCS: Lester vs Harvey

The Cubs swept the Mets in the seven games they faced off during the regular season but that doesn’t matter any more. It’ll be Chicago vs. New York, Cubs vs. Mets in the National League Championship Series, starting Saturday at Citi Field.

New York advanced with a 3-2 victory over the Dodgers Thursday night in Game 5 of the NL Division Series at Dodger Stadium.

Game 1 of the NLCS is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. CT on TBS at Citi Field and will feature lefty Jon Lester against New York’s Matt Harvey. One thing that won’t be on the Cubs’ minds during the trip will be their season sweep over the Mets. New York didn’t have Yoenis Cespedes in the lineup at that time.

“That’s over with,” catcher Miguel Montero said of the regular-season statistics. “You can’t rely on that or say, ‘We swept this series against them,’ or, ‘We did this against those two guys.’ That’s over. I think the Mets are a totally different team. … The Mets have Yoenis Cespedes — they’re totally different. You know they’re all good players.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs to go with Lester, Arrieta in NLCS Games 1-2

Jon Lester will start Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday for the Cubs, and be followed by Jake Arrieta in Game 2, manager Joe Maddon said Thursday.

“Jon Lester in a big game is always tasty,” Maddon said of the left-hander, who has a career 6-5 record and 2.66 ERA in 15 posteason games. “You’ll always take that. I have no problem with that. I know he’s very confident. I think the extra rest will help, too.”

Arrieta threw a complete game shutout against the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game, and started Game 3 of the NL Division Series against the Cardinals on Monday, giving up four runs over 5 2/3 innings. Lester pitched last Friday in Game 1 of the NLDS, and was scheduled to go in Game 5 if necessary. The Cubs beat the Cardinals in four games to clinch the NLDS.

“It’s nice giving Jake an extra day,” Maddon said of the right-hander. “I’m really comfortable with them being starters in two games [in the series].”

Arrieta has posted career highs in innings pitched this season en route to a 22-6 record and 1.77 ERA.

“He’ll probably tell you he does not [need the rest], but I like the idea he gets it,” Maddon said. “I think we’ve been pushing him pretty hard. His innings are way up compared to what they’ve been in the past.”

Arrieta admitted that his heart rate was pumping at an accelerated pace on Monday, and said he’ll adjust his pregame routine accordingly.

“The biggest thing is trying to conserve energy when you can,” Arrieta said. “The biggest part of that is early in the day. Try to sleep in as late as you can, try to relax, and try to keep your mind off certain things early in the day. Everyone knows once you get to the park, that adrenaline and that energy is just going to continue to flow.”

The Cubs were expected to go with four starters in the NLCS, so Jason Hammel and Kyle Hendricks would join Lester and Arrieta, but Maddon wasn’t ready to reveal the rotation order.

“We have not finalized anything,” Maddon said. “Possibly who we’re playing will impact that decision, too.”

— Carrie Muskat


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