Seven years ago today, Tom Ricketts and his family had a press conference introducing themselves as the new owners of the Cubs.
Among the things he said that day was: "We're going to win the World Series."
So close, right? It can still happen. I actually feel confident about Jon Lester's ability to shut down the Indians offense and send the series back to Cleveland for Game 6. And after that... who knows?
This will be a bittersweet day at Wrigley Field no matter the result, as it will be the final game played there at 2016. Thus it's a day for farewells to the team, and to friends in the bleachers, regardless of what happens on the field.
A special farewell to David Ross, who is likely starting his final major-league game tonight. He's been one of the major factors in this team's success the last two years, even though he's not one of the best players on the ballclub. He's helped the young players on this team learn how to win, and I hope when he's ready to get into coaching or managing, Theo & Co. bring him back to Chicago.
Joe Maddon has apparently declared this another "American Legion day," where he wants his players to show up 90 minutes before game time, dress and get ready to play. MLB requirements might have some of them there earlier, but this is a good way to take pressure off his ballclub.
Finally, it's going to be a chilly night at Wrigley, probably about 10 degrees cooler than Saturday.
The only other thing to say is: #LetsGo
Ceremonial duties for Game 5:
National Anthem and God Bless America: Wayne Messmer
Ceremonial first pitch: Ryne Sandberg
Game ball delivery: Andre Dawson
7th-inning stretch: Eddie Vedder
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist LF, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Baez 2B, Ross C, Lester
Davis CF, Kipnis 2B, Lindor SS, Napoli 1B, Santana LF, Ramirez 3B, Guyer RF, Perez C, Bauer P
Jon Lester didn't have a very good outing in Game 1 of this World Series. But in each of the other games in which the Cubs needed him to step up this postseason, he did so. John Lackey spoke of "big-boy games," and Lester seems to thrive on those. During the regular season this year, Lester posted a much better ERA at Wrigley Field (1.74 in 15 starts covering 103⅓ innings) than on the road (3.17 in 17 starts covering 99⅓ innings). That's the best sign for tonight, Lester's dominance at home this season.
The Cubs hit Trevor Bauer well in Game 2 in Cleveland, and the cold weather tonight surely won't help his surgically-repaired finger. Bauer did post slightly better results (3.67 ERA) on the road this year than in Cleveland (4.73 ERA). The Cubs got six hits and two walks off Bauer in less than four innings last Wednesday, and he has never pitched on three days' rest (not in the postseason either).
The matchup appears to favor the Cubs. Let's hope the results do, too.
Today's game is on Fox. Announcers: Joe Buck, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal.
Please visit our SB Nation Indians site Lets' Go Tribe. If you do go there to interact with Indians fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.
The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
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.