ST. LOUIS -- When the Cubs signed Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal this offseason, this was what they had in mind. Maybe they didn't expect it so soon, but Lester came to Chicago to help the Cubs push through the postseason.
Lester will get his first chance at 5:30 p.m. CT on Friday (live on TBS) at Busch Stadium, when he'll start Game 1 of the National League Division Series against old friend John Lackey and the Cardinals.
Stomping Grounds: Friends always pushed each other in college
By Carrie Muskat and Jenifer Langosch
ST. LOUIS -- When Jake Arrieta and Matt Carpenter were teammates at TCU, they created their own decathlon, including events such as ping pong, foosball and basketball. Since the Cubs acquired Arrieta in July 2013, the two have found themselves going head to head in the National League Central.
Carpenter said he could cheer for Arrieta when he was with the Orioles, but since the right-hander joined the Cubs, it's been tough.
ST. LOUIS -- Joe Maddon sat behind a table at Busch Stadium on Thursday afternoon, about 12 hours after the Cubs got into their hotel following a Wild Card celebration in Pittsburgh. He was asked if he sensed any sort of hangover from his club, whether it was real or ...
ST. LOUIS -- Kyle Hendricks will start Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Saturday against the Cardinals, and not Jason Hammel, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Thursday.
Jon Lester (11-12, 3.34 ERA) will open the best-of-five series against the Cardinals on Friday at Busch Stadium, live at 5:30 p.m. CT Friday on TBS, and 22-game winner Jake Arrieta, who threw a four-hit shutout to win the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser over the Pirates, will start Game 3 at Wrigley Field on Monday.
The Cardinals and Cubs -- who will square off in the National League Division Series beginning Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT on TBS -- combined to win 197 games this season. It's the most combined wins by Division Series opponents since the Cards and Dodgers won 198 in 2004.
St. Louis and Chicago faced each other 19 times during the season, with the Cardinals winning 11 of those matchups. Those three extra wins proved to be the difference between the two clubs in the NL Central, and the Cardinals will open the NLDS at home with a fully rested pitching staff, as a result. The Cubs, meanwhile, beat the Pirates, 4-0, in the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on Wednesday, meaning one of the greatest rivalries in sports will take center stage over the next week.
They've faced each other 2,363 times lo these many years. They made the Brock trade. They played the "Sandberg Game." They provided the McGwire and Sosa chase. They've stoked about as much red vs. blue passion as an Election Day.
Lester says ball that hit Arrieta suffered contusion
By Mike Bertha |
If you consider yourself a baseball fan and somehow managed to miss Wednesday night's postseason showdown, you've by now surely caught the highlights of the Cubs' first postseason win since 2003. Jake Arrieta was (surprise) on point, tossing an 11-K shutout and stealing a base in the 4-0 Cubbies win.
PITTSBURGH -- Is the Cubs' Kris Bryant the top rookie in the Major Leagues, or is it teammate Kyle Schwarber? How about the best starting pitcher? Cubs fans would definitely vote for Jake Arrieta. Or how about the best everyday player?
Bryant, Schwarber, Arrieta and Anthony Rizzo are the Cubs' nominees in the 2015 Esurance MLB Awards, announced Tuesday.
PITTSBURGH -- The Cubs' first step toward their ultimate goal of ending a 107-year World Series championship drought was contentious, yet also decisive.
Jake Arrieta weaved his routine spell, and rookie Kyle Schwarber drove in the first three runs -- two on a majestic 450-foot homer out of PNC Park -- and Chicago blanked Pittsburgh, 4-0, in Wednesday night's National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser to advance to face the Cardinals in the NL Division Series, which begins on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET on TBS.
PITTSBURGH -- All the Cubs wanted was to keep Jake Arrieta in the game. Emotions ran high and tempers flared in the seventh inning Wednesday night after their ace was hit by a pitch from Pirates reliever Tony Watson.
In the Cubs' 4-0 win over the Bucs in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, Watson's first pitch to Arrieta sailed inside and hit the Chicago pitcher near the hip. Arrieta exchanged words with Watson as he headed up the first-base line, and benches cleared shortly after home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson issued a warning.
PITTSBURGH -- As champagne dripped from his nose and matted down his close-cropped hair, Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber was not only smiling, but he began to smirk. As the party raged on in front of him, Schwarber could still see the baseball that disappeared behind the right-field stands at PNC Park.
"I watched it," Schwarber admitted after Chicago's 4-0 triumph over the Pirates on Wednesday night, a victory that sealed a date with the rival Cardinals in the National League Division Series, which will begin with the series opener on Friday, airing at 5:30 p.m. CT on TBS.
You have to start somewhere, and if this turns out to be The Year, history will record that the beginning of the end came at PNC Park, with Jake Arrieta dominating the Pirates -- as he has so many opponents during a season in which he's made manager Joe Maddon think about Bob Gibson, circa 1968 -- in Wednesday night's 4-0 win in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser to advance to meet the Cardinals in the NL Division Series, which begins Friday at Busch Stadium (5:30 p.m. CT on TBS).
Ex-teammates will square off in Friday's NLDS opener
By Mark Sheldon and Jordan Bastian
MLB.com |@MLBastian |
ST. LOUIS -- The friendship of Cardinals starter John Lackey and Cubs starter Jon Lester runs deep and is sure to continue well beyond Friday night. This is despite the fact that both of them have divergent goals when they meet in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium, live on TBS at 5:30 p.m. CT.
Lackey and Lester became best friends when both pitched in the same rotation with the Red Sox. They won a World Series together for Boston in 2013 and remained close since they headed to separate teams.
PITTSBURGH -- Jon Lester stood off to the side, discussing the daunting road ahead for the Cubs as his teammates celebrated all around him Wednesday night. With a decade in the Majors and a pair of World Series rings to his credit, the lefty is a grizzled veteran compared to Chicago's kids.
In the wake of their 4-0 Wild Card win over the Pirates, the Cubs now have a series that's been more than a century in the making. Next up are the 100-win Cardinals in the National League Division Series (Game 1 Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT on TBS), a team that has never faced the Cubs on the postseason stage despite more than 2,000 games between the teams in their long, storied history.
Jake Arrieta continued his historically dominant run on Wednesday night, spinning a shutout in the Cubs' winner-take-all game against the Pirates.
The National League Cy Young Award candidate was in top form in the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, not just stifling Bucs hitters in the Cubs' 4-0 victory, but making more history in the process. As if Arrieta's performance on the mound wasn't enough, he also contributed both at the plate and on the basepaths. With the win, the Cubs advanced to face the Cardinals in the NL Division Series, which begins on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET on TBS.
Though Cubs ace Jake Arrieta once again stole the show with Wednesday night's 4-0 shutout of the Pirates, he had more than enough offensive -- and defensive -- help behind him.
While one Cubs rookie crushed his longest home run of the year -- and one of the longest by the Cubs period, per Statcast™ -- as Chicago prevailed in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, a fellow first-year player stepped up defensively to thwart a Pirates rally, while atoning for an earlier defensive miscue.
PITTSBURGH -- After being pushed around by Jake Arrieta for five innings en route to a 4-0 loss on Wednesday night, the Pirates finally put his back up against the wall in the sixth.
Trailing by four runs, the Bucs loaded the bases with one out. The rally woke up a quiet PNC Park crowd in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, but Arrieta made the final push, getting Starling Marte to ground into an inning-ending double play.
The Cubs rolled into Pittsburgh for their first postseason game since 2008 and blanked the Pirates, 4-0, on Wednesday night to advance to the National League Division Series against the rival Cardinals.
Jake Arrieta was brilliant in a four-hit shutout and the Cubs got home runs from Kyle Schwarber and Dexter Fowler to win the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser and secure the organization's first postseason victory since 2003. Here's a look at some of the top moments, courtesy of @MLBGIFs.
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Schwarber hits his biggest HR in biggest game
By Michael Clair |
Kyle Schwarber is a man who epitomizes big. Looking at his large, strapping neck, you know it must be a nightmare to purchase dress shirts that don't cut into his trachea. And his large biceps mean he's probably constantly tearing through his sleeves.
But while his sartorial choices are probably limited, it turns out his muscular build helps him on the field. In the top of the first of the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, the Cubs' catcher/right fielder (he played right on Wednesday night) inside-outted a single into left field to score Dexter Fowler, breaking the deadlock.
When Kyle Schwarber put the Cubs up, 1-0, with an RBI single during the NL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, he rubbed his hands on his helmet in the direction of the dugout, where Jonathan Herrera was wearing this.
Q. Given what happened with Arrieta getting hit, do you think that was intentional, and have you lost any respect for the Pirates?
JOE MADDON: I just talked to them. I think you can draw your own conclusions from what you saw. That said, I really don't want to denigrate this entire moment for our organization and our team.
I cannot be more proud of a group of guys than I was of our players tonight. Jake was spectacular, obviously. But how about the defense and some of the plays we made? Some big hits by Dexter and Schwarber and the entire group.
I have nothing but respect for the Pirate organization, always have. I was a Roberto Clemente fan growing up.
So regarding anything that you thought may have been inappropriate tonight, you guys be the judge of that, and ladies.
Q. There had been a lot of discussion even by Cole himself, by Gerrit Cole, about how he can get amped up. Was that something, especially seeing him so much this year, that you thought you could take advantage of in this situation?