#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

No Russell for #Cubs in NLCS

Cubs rookie Addison Russell will not be available for the National League Championship Series because of a hamstring injury suffered in Game 3 of the NL Division Series, and Javier Baez will get the start at shortstop. Russell injured his left hamstring when he tripled in the fourth inning, and suffered a moderate strain.

“Addy, right now, will not participate in this next round,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Thursday before a workout at Wrigley Field. “If everything plays properly and we have an opportunity to play another round, he might be available at that time, but for sure, not this one.”

The Cubs did not want Russell to try and rush back, and possibly re-injure his leg. In four postseason games,

In his first start in Game 4 on Tuesday, Baez hit a three-run home run in the second inning off the Cardinals’ John Lackey. He has played all season at Triple-A Iowa, and missed the month of April to be with family after the death of his sister, Noely. He was sidelined with a broken finger after a head first slide, and played 70 games at Iowa, batting .324 with 13 home runs, 14 doubles and 61 RBIs.

“The thing about Addison is he’s played enough here to know he belongs here and can do this,” Maddon said. “I want to believe that Javy is arriving at that same point. I think the three-run homer in a playoff game like that against one of the best pitchers in the National League should boost your confiddence. The big thing out of him, too, is consistency on defense. We have to catch the ball. Pitching and catching is really important to us. I know he can do that.”

The Cubs will add another player to the NLCS roster, and were considering their options on Thursday. One option could be adding Quintin Berry to give them a speedster off the bench. The decision will be influenced by who the Cubs play in the NLCS as well.

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Lester could start Game 1 NLCS

Jon Lester lobbied to start Game 4 of the NL Division Series on Tuesday over Jason Hammel, and the left-hander appears to be in line for Game 1 of the NL Championship Series. During an interview Wednesday on ESPN 1000 radio in Chicago, Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio projected the left-hander as the Game 1 starter versus either the Mets or Dodgers, who will play Game 5 of their NLDS on Thursday.

“Right now, it’s probably going to be Jon because it’s his turn,” Bosio said. “The way it’s laid out is probably how it’s going to be.”

If the Cardinals had forced a Game 5 of the NLDS on Thursday, then Lester would have started, but the Cubs ended the series with a 6-4 win Tuesday at Wrigley Field. Jake Arrieta, who threw a complete game shutout in the Wild Card victory over the Pirates but wasn’t as sharp in Game 3 of the NLCS, also could start Saturday.

The Cubs are waiting to see who they will play in the NLCS. The Mets and Dodgers play Game 5 on Thursday. The Cubs will open on the road with Games 1-2 Saturday and Sunday. Games 3-4-5 will be played at Wrigley Field, Oct. 20-22.

Jake Arrieta was 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts against the Mets this season, and threw a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 30. Lester was 1-0 in two starts against the Mets, and 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA against the Dodgers. Lester could start Games 1 and 5 of the NLCS, with Arrieta in Games 2 and 6, if necessary.

#Cubs W


No Russell in #Cubs lineup vs Cards for Game 4

Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who strained his left hamstring when he hit a triple on Monday, was not in Tuesday’s lineup for Game 4 of the National League Division Series. Jason Hammel gets the start at Wrigley Field. First pitch was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. CT.

Russell tripled in the fourth inning of the Cubs’ 8-6 win over the Cardinals, and slid head-first into third base. He was removed from the game for pinch-runner Javier Baez, and was to be re-examined on Tuesday. Baez started at shortstop on Tuesday, giving the Cubs four rookies in the lineup again.

The rest of the Cubs’ batting order Tuesday was the same as in Game 3 with hot rookie Jorge Soler batting second. Soler has reached base safely in all nine plate appearances, and is the first player in Major League history to do that in his first postseason appearances.

In Game 3, the Cubs’ Nos. 1-6 batters each homered, marking the first time in franchise history that occured in the same game.

Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF
Soler RF
Bryant 3B
Rizzo 1B
Castro 2B
Schwarber LF
Montero C
Hammel P
Baez SS


#Cubs start 4 rookies & Arrieta in NLDS Game 3

Jake Arrieta takes the mound Monday night when the Cubs face the Cardinals in Game 3 of the NL Division Series. First pitch from Wrigley Field will be 5:07 p.m. CT. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Soler RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Schwarber LF

Russell SS

Montero C

Arrieta P

*The Cubs will have four rookies in the lineup in Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell.

“The talent level in this room is through the roof and there’s more coming,” Cubs catcher David Ross said. “Everybody around here knows that, and you’ve got a guy [manager Joe Maddon] that is a great leader for a young group. This is a special place to be.”

— Carrie Muskat

#Cubs Arrieta: “I like our chances”

The Cubs play host to the Cardinals at Wrigley Field on Monday in Game 3 of the NL Division Series, which is tied at 1-1. In a best of five postseason series tied at 1-1, the winner of Game 3 has gone on to win the series 34 of 45 times (75.6 percent). Monday is the first postseason game at Wrigley Field since the Cubs lost Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS against the Dodgers.

First pitch Monday will be 5 p.m. CT, and Tuesday’s Game 4 will start at 3:30 p.m. CT at Wrigley.

Jake Arrieta gets the start for the Cubs, and he’s ready.

“You know, [Anthony] Rizzo predicted we were going to win the division, which I liked,” Arrieta said. “We came up a little short, but we won 97 games. I don’t think anybody expected us to even be around 90 or so. So we exceeded a lot of people’s expectations, and I don’t think that there’s any reason we can’t continue to do so, regardless of how people outside of the organization or our clubhouse feel about our team. We know we can play with anybody, and I think we’re a pretty scary team for anybody to play right now.

“We’ve got nothing to lose,” Arrieta said. “We’re playing well. We’ve got a lot of young guys with a lot of tremendous energy. You know, I don’t think our young players are fazed by October at all; I really don’t. You see the plays that Addison [Russell] has made at shortstop, you see the things that [Kyle] Schwarber has been able to do, in the Wild Card game in the first inning, that huge base hit to score Dexter [Fowler] put us on the board in the first, just kind of swung the momentum in our favor, so I think we’re going to be tough to beat. We know St. Louis is a great club. They have been for a long time. We have a lot of respect for them. But I like our chances.”

— Carrie Muskat

Breakfast at Wrigley, #Cubs style

It was breakfast at Wrigley Field when the Cubs players arrived for Sunday’s abbreviated workout. The Cubs, who have not played at home since a makeup game on Sept. 28, were greeted by an omelette station, platters of fruit, and a pig’s head on a table surrounded by different sausages and meats. Of course, there were donuts, including some with white frosting and a blue “W” on top.

“That was great, wasn’t it?” Cubs catcher David Ross said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever had breakfast on the field, that’s for sure — that wasn’t in a McDonald’s wrapper. That was a lot of fun. Juts a beautiful day out there. It’s nice to get out there on the grass and just lay around, watch a little bit of football, eat some breakfast.”

The Bears’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs was on the video scoreboard at Wrigley.

Jason Motte threw a simulated game while his teammates filled their plates with avocados and scrambled eggs prepared by the team’s chefs.

“It was weird at times,” Motte said. “The weirdest part for me was throwing with the turtle or the batting cage there. You’re not used to that. You had to have it — there’s people eating omelettes and hanging out. You can’t have a ball go and break someone’s pancakes.”


#Cubs Hendricks starts vs Cards in Game 2

Kyle Hendricks gets the start Saturday for the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. St. Louis will start lefty Jaime Garcia. Here’s the lineup:

Fowler CF

Soler RF

Bryant 3B

Rizzo 1B

Castro 2B

Jackson LF

Montero C

Hendricks P

Russell SS

Hendricks closed out the season giving up three hits over 12 scoreless innings in his last two starts. Hendricks gave up four runs over five innings on May 5 at Busch Stadium in his lone start against St. Louis in 2015. He’s
0-1, 3.97 ERA in four career starts vs. St. Louis.


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