I just checked the weather in Chicago for the weekend and it looks like it should be perfect – highs in the mid-70s with a slight chance of rain early Sunday morning, tapering off in the afternoon. As for me, I head out Saturday morning on my 7th trip from Arizona to Chicago this summer. It’s been quite a ride and I’m like a little kid in a candy store thinking about how exciting this weekend is going to be.
- We now know that the Cubs will play the Dodgers in the NLCS, after a throw-everything-at-the-fan-to-win series between the Dodgers and the Nationals. If it seemed like the Dodgers used their entire rotation last night, in the series-clinching win, it’s because they nearly did. Rich Hill started the game – going on short rest – and he was relieved by a number of pitchers, including fellow starters Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw, who was also pitching on very short rest himself.
- There’s no question that the Dodgers rotation has been pushed to their limits, so you have to ponder how they’re going to perform in the NLCS. We know that Kanta Maeda will start game one – matching up against Jon Lester, who’s been a buzzsaw lately – but we don’t know who pitches game two for the Dodgers. It could be Kershaw, which I wouldn’t mind at all. If Kershaw has a great game in game two then that means he goes deep into it. That would tax his arm even more and I still like the Cubs chances with Hendricks (or Arrieta) on the hill, who, oh by the way, has a 1.32 ERA at Wrigley this year.
- Speaking of pitching, as Joe Maddon looks to set (or re-set, as the case may be) the roster for the NLCS he may also be looking at the possibility of going with 12 pitchers instead of 11, as he did in the NLDS. Evan Altman (Cubs Insider) writes that the Cubs have sent Jason Hammel, Trevor Cahill, Rob Zastryzny and Joe Smith down to Arizona to stretch out for possible inclusion in the Cubs bullpen.
- It could make sense to go with an extra pitcher given what the Cubs experienced in game 4 of the NLDS – yeah, that 13 inning affair. Of course, there’s always a possibility in an extra inning game like that where you’d see Joe use one of the other starters. Of course, that’s not optimal – and Hendricks, who would’ve been the most likely candidate in game 4, was recovering from a forearm contusion – it’s still a manageable situation. Joe also may decide that the Cubs are better off going with 11 pitchers and keeping the flexibility on the bench, particularly going up against a team who’s bullpen is already pretty taxed.
- As noted in our Cubs highlights yesterday, the Arizona Fall League got underway this week. The Cubs players, who play on the Mesa Solar Sox, didn’t see much action yesterday but Eloy Jimenez did play as the DH. While he didn’t get a hit – he finished the day 0-for-4 for – there is this:
— Daren Willman (@darenw) October 14, 2016
- As if the Cubs didn’t already have enough to be excited about, Eloy Jimenez has been showing all year that he’s a special talent. He slashed .329/.369/.532 for the Single-A South Bend Cubs in 2016. He also had a some spectacular plays in the 2016 Futures game. Be sure to keep an eye on him as he rises through the Cubs minor league system. Oh, by the way, he’s only 19 years old.