Of the 30 major-league franchises, only one has never won a postseason series. That's the Expos/Nationals, who have been in three playoff series without ever winning one.
You're probably asking yourself, "Why is this relevant?", and I'm going to tell you. Of the other 29 teams, all of them have clinched at least one postseason series in their home park. Except one.
By now you know where this is going. The Cubs have won three postseason series in their history. The 1907 and 1908 World Series against the Tigers were both won in Detroit. The 2003 NLDS against the Braves was won in Atlanta. The Cubs have never clinched a playoff series at home.
Let's end that streak tonight, shall we?
Fowler CF, Soler RF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Castro 2B, Schwarber LF, Montero C, Hammel P, Baez SS
Carpenter 3B, Piscotty 1B, Holliday LF, Heyward RF, Peralta SS, Grichuk CF, Wong 2B, Cruz C, Lackey P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Hammel. Well, he was very good the first half of this year (2.89 ERA, 0.955 WHIP) in his first 16 starts. Then, in the 17th start, against the Cardinals July 8 at Wrigley Field, he suffered a hamstring injury and had to leave the game after one inning. When he came back 13 days later, he was not nearly as effective: 5.10 ERA, 1.493 WHIP in 14 starts. (Oddly, the Cubs were 7-9 in those first 16 starts, 8-6 in the last 14).
I suspect Hammel was trying to pitch through the injury for a while, and it showed in his results. He did have a very good outing against the Cardinals September 8 in St. Louis, throwing six innings and allowing three runs, and threw five shutout innings 12 days ago in his final regular-season start.
Be good today, Jason.
We all know what John Lackey did against the Cubs last Friday in St. Louis, and all throughout the season he has been tough on the Cubs.
However. He has not made a start on three days' rest in 10 years. He is markedly worse on the road than in St. Louis this year:
Home: 1.93 ERA, 1.170 WHIP, eight HR allowed in 121⅓ innings
Road: 3.82 ERA, 1.262 WHIP, 13 HR allowed in 96⅔ innings
The Braves hit him hard in his last regular-season start, October 4 in Atlanta.
Here's hoping that remains the case, Lackey gets pounded, and the Cardinals' season ends this afternoon.
Today's game is on TBS. Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Dennis Eckersley and Joe Simpson (analysts) and reporter Matt Winer.
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The 2015 Game Thread procedure has changed a bit. Here's how it will work going forward. (And a reminder that a "Rapid Recap" will be posted here by Josh shortly after the game ends, with my own recap at the usual time, 8 a.m. CT tomorrow.)
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.