Your Chicago Cubs have been patiently waiting for this night to happen, the first World Series playoff game to be played at Wrigley Field since ’45 and the fabled Curse of the Goat.
Fast forward 71 years and now Bill, grand nephew of William Siani (, who was owner of Murphy the Goat that was turned away from Wrigley Field in Game Four of the 1945 World Series,) is watching the Cubs this year and wishing his uncle was there to witness the event, but the curse was still in effect.
“The curse is still in effect,” Sianis told Chicago Inc. before Game 2 on Wednesday. “They have to win it all.”
The 2016 Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians are tied at one game apiece going into game three and the current odds have the Cubs at -200 mostly because of pitcher Kyle Hendrick (16-8, 2.13 ERA) is taking the mound for them.
“It’s going to be electric,” Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber said. “It’s going to be really, really loud.”
“I know that people have been waiting for this for a long time [and] are going to savor it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “And hopefully on our part, we can do something to really make it even better.”
Heading into the sixth inning of the NLDS, the Cubs and Dodgers were all tied up. Cubs pitcher Jon Lester struck out six, walked one and allowed a run on five hits in seven innings, leading the Cubs to an 8-4 win and a 3-2 series lead.
“It’s certainly a credit to [Pitcher Jon Lester],” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I thought that when we did get a little bit of traffic, I thought that we put a little pressure on him. But he’s a great pitcher. He’s a great pitcher who competes and finds ways to get outs when he needs to. So we had some opportunities, but those guys got the hit when they needed.”
“It’d be foolish for us to get ahead of ourselves, because any time you think like that, it never goes the way you want it to,” the Cubs’ Kris Bryant said. “We’ll be ready to go for Game 6.”
Game six kicks off tomorrow and taking the mound for the Cubs will be sending out RHP Kyle Hendrix (16-8, 2.13 ERA) to the mound while the Dodgers will start LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA). Clayton and Kershaw faced off in Game two, with Kershaw getting a rare 1-0 shutout against the Cubs.
The Chicago Cubs (103-58, NL Central Champions) won the most games in their storied history since the 1910 season where they won 104 games. The Cubs will host the San Francisco Giants (87-75, 2nd NL West) in the NLDS beginning tonight at 8:15. Don’t expect Manager Joe Maddon to do much differently than he did in the regular season now that the playoffs are here.
“There’s nothing different to do right now except play the game,” Maddon said. “It’s about whether your pitcher pitches better, if we catch the ball. I don’t want us to do anything differently.”
The journey for the Giants was a bit rougher but the team believes they have a solid chance if they take advantage of every opportunity the Cubs give them.
“It’s a great feeling to move on,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “All you want is a shot. … Just a shot. You never know with these guys. As you know, they find a way.
“So we’re looking forward to the next series, and it’s good to be moving on, trust me, because we had to scratch and claw just to get to this point. But it’s all about persevering, and this club has done a great job of that.”
The Chicago Cubs (93-52, 1st NL Central) took two of three games against the St. Louis Cardinals (76-69, 2nd NL Central), the last of which was a 7-0 shutout at Busch Stadium. Now the hard work begins as the Cubs have the opportunity to close out the season and capture their first NL Central title in seven years in front of home fans tonight.
“It’s been the Cardinals’ division for so many years now,” Anthony Rizzo (who had a pair of home runs) said. “We’re going to really enjoy it when we do clinch tomorrow or whenever it happens. We’re not going to take it for granted.”
“They pitched really well against us this series,” Cardinals outfielder Brandon Mosssaid. “[Kyle] Hendricks came out and threw a one-hitter [on Monday]. Then Lester came out and threw eight shutout innings. Tip your hat and move on. Not everybody is going to be that good every day. Just move on and go into a really big series [in San Francisco] and hopefully do better than we did this series.”
“Everybody talked about [clinching] coming into St. Louis, and we had a chance,” Jon Lester said. “We have to focus on the baseball side when we show up to play. Obviously, it’s right there in front of us. We have to try to win [Thursday].”
The smoking Chicago Cubs (53-35, 1st NL Central) will host the just as hot Texas Rangers (54-36, 1st AL West) beginning tomorrow at 1:20. The three game series continues through the weekend.
While both teams ran roughshod over their opponents in the first half, both teams also struggled into the All Star break and found their division foes sneaking up on them. Now, with the second half of the season ready to break open, both teams are looking to get back into form.
“Every team goes through stretches where they don’t do enough to win ballgames,” Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “We didn’t do enough in this stretch. But we can’t sit here and panic. We know we are a good team.
The Starting Pitcher for the Cubbies will be Kyle Hendrix (7-6. 2.55 ERA) who will compete against the Rangers’ Martin Perez (7-5, 3.85 ERA) Expect the Rangers to usher out Yu Darvish who is set to return from the DL list he has been on since June 9th.
The Atlanta Braves (28-57, 5th NL East) are in town for one night for a makeup game against our Chicago Cubs (52-32, 1st NL Central) tonight, rescheduled after an April 30th rainout. This will be their 23rd meeting at Wrigley Field since the 2010 season. The teams are tied at 11 wins each.
The Cubs will start Jason Hammel (7-5 3.45 ERA) who will go up against veteran Lucas Harrell (1-0, 1.50 ERA) who had not pitched in the majors since 2014 returned to the big time Saturday against the Marlins. Harrell is 2-0 with an 0.57 ERA in his career against the Cubs.
After reeling off 20 total runs in three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates (to their eight runs) the Chicago Cubs (47-20, 1st AL Central) are looking to repeat the process against the visiting St. Louis Cardinals beginning tonight thru Wednesday.
Last night, SP Kyle Hendrix was on fire, striking out a career high 12 batters with no walks over six innings becoming the first Cub starter to do so since Matt Garza in 2011. The win put the Cubs a full 12 games ahead of the visiting Cardinals. Wilson Contreras also had his first home run of his MLB career.
“He [Hendricks] was really, really good,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Great location, great movement, kept repeating his delivery, nice plays defensively.”
After losing the rubber game against the Nats last night in the 12th inning, the Chicago Cubs (44-20, 1st NL Central) are home and awaiting the beginning of a three game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates (33-33, 3rd NL Central) beginning tonight.
Against the Nationals last night, the game was tied at two through the 10th and 11th innings until Jayson Werth slammed a walk off single in the 12th in front of a sold out stadium.
“They have a good team,” Werth said. “We have a good team. It was a battle. It was a good series. We played tough games at their place, too. We got swept, but I felt we played good enough to win a couple of those games.”
“That’s the type of game you see in October,” Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
The Pirates are coming off two losses to the New York Mets and are hoping to turn things around themselves.
The Chicago Cubs (37-15) will host the Arizona Diamondbacks for a three game home stand beginning today at 1:20. The Cubs John Lackey will face D-Backs Archie Bradley, who is coming off the best game of his career pitching 7 1/3 innings and giving up only three runs against the LA Dodgers
The Chicago Cubs (14-5, 1st place NL Central) rebounded from a 14-5 thrashing at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday with a 5-0 shutout Sunday before jetting out of town and back home.
The Cubs will now host the Milwaukee Brewers (8-11, 5th place NL Central) for a three game stand followed up with a series against the Atlanta Braves. The extended home games will give the team an opportunity to feel out their new clubhouse, a 30, 000 foot palace, which they have not had much time to enjoy.
“It’s like we’ve never been there,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said about playing at Wrigley Field. “It’s like we saw the clubhouse briefly, and we left. You combine Spring Training and one week at home, it’s been a long time.”
Starting tonight’s game for the Cubs will be Kyle Hendrix (4-1, 1.45 ERA) and Jimmy Nelson (0-3, 3.60 ERA) for the Brewers. Also, expect Dexter Fowler, who had a couple days off, back in the lineup tonight.
“Dexter is playing so well.” Madden said. “I did not want to run him into the ground.“