The Cubs are playing baseball in November for the first time in franchise history.
Again, I wish I'd have been able to make the trip to Cleveland to see Game 6 (and, hopefully, game 7). But this month has been exhausting, and I'm not sure I would have trusted myself to make the six-hour drive safely.
So, I'll be watching on TV with all of you.
Here's an article from today's Wall Street Journal that says the Cubs might have a better chance than you might think of winning tonight's game, and then the Series.
One thing that's interesting, and could be a factor favoring hitters, is tonight's Cleveland-area weather forecast. Temperatures should be near 70 at game time, well above the 57-degree average high for Cleveland on November 1. Winds will be blowing from the south-southwest, which is toward left-center or center field at Progressive Field, potentially also good for hitters. The Cubs get Kyle Schwarber back in tonight's lineup -- that can't help but be a positive thing.
That's it, really. Just win.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Schwarber DH, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Zobrist LF, Russell SS, Contreras C, Heyward RF, Baez 2B
Santana DH, Kipnis 2B, Lindor SS, Napoli 1B, Ramirez 3B, Chisenhall RF, Crisp LF, Naquin CF, Perez C
Jake Arrieta had a very good outing in Game 2, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowing his only run on a wild pitch. If his approach is the same in Game 6, the Cubs should do very, very well. (Honestly? What more can I say about Jake? He's got to have one of the best games of his life, or the Cubs go home for the winter.)
Josh Tomlin is not as good as he's shown in his three postseason starts (1.76 ERA, 0.848 WHIP in 15⅓ innings). Seriously, he's not. The Cubs let him off the hook at Wrigley in Game 3. Now he'll be pitching on three days' rest for the first time in six years. (This, after his Game 3 start came on 12 days' rest!)
The Red Sox scored on him in the division series. The Blue Jays scored on him in the ALCS. After the All-Star break in the regular season, Tomlin posted a 5.59 ERA and 1.284 WHIP in 14 appearances (13 starts) covering 74 innings.
And a reminder: Tomlin allowed 36 home runs during the regular season in 2016, third-most of any pitcher in the major leagues. No one has homered off him in the postseason. I'd say it's past time to change that.
Today's game is on Fox. Announcers: Joe Buck, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal.
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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.