The Chicago Cubs will line up beginning today against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS. The level of anticipation throughout Cubs kingdom is palpable. We’ve been waiting for this moment ever since the Cubs waived farewell to the fans at Wrigley Field after the NLCS last year. I remember standing there, taking this photo, thinking ‘I can’t wait until next year.’ Well, ‘next year’ begins today.
The Cubs will be facing a team, in the San Fransisco Giants, that the pundits believe has some type of even year mojo. Yes, they’ve won the World Series in 2010, 2012 & 2014. And yes, it’s 2016, so if you’re one for superstitions and serendipity than I suppose it’s not a stretch to believe this trend will continue. For me, I’m more of a realist. The reality is that the Cubs have been dealing with misfortunes and superstitions for a hell of a lot longer than we’d prefer to admit and this is their chance to throw all of that out the window.
Somebody better open the window wide.
Game time & broadcast info
- Friday, October 7 at 8:00 PM CT on FS1
- Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 PM CT on MLBN (free MLBN preview through Tuesday)
- Monday, October 10 at TBD on FS1/MLBN
- Tuesday, October 11 at TBD on FS1 (if necessary)
- Thursday, October 13 at TBD on FS1 (if necessary)
Starting pitchers (probable)
|Johnny Cueto or Madison Bumgarner|
Keys to the Series
- The Cubs played the Giants 7 times in the 2016 regular season with a 4-3 record against them. They played two series, one away and one at home. The Giants won the series in San Francisco in May 2-1. The Cubs won the series in Wrigley on September 3-1. The Cubs blew out the Giants 8-1 in their first game but, excluding that game out, the Cubs combined to score 15 runs to the Giants 16 runs. In fact, five of their games were decided by only one run. Bottom line – plan on this being a very close, nail-biting series.
- Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo will need to lead the way for the Cubs if they are to not only win this series, but go deep in the playoffs. In the postseason last year, Bryant was 6-for-34 with 2 runs and 5 RBI, while Rizzo was 6-for-32 with 4 runs and 2 RBI. Both of these guys have established themselves as leaders on this Cubs’ ball club and must turn in up in the playoffs. Of course, they’ll have some help.
- The Cubs have a lot more weapons at their disposal this postseason verses the 2015 postseason. Willson Contreras, Javy Baez, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, John Lackey and Aroldis Chapman all figure to play prominent roles in the 2016 playoffs. That’s six big-time players with a lot of skill that the Cubs didn’t have – or in Javy’s case, just wasn’t developed – to use last year. That’s an impressive list of super-stud players and one or more of these guys are going to play a big role in this series.