I could go through various permutations here, but the simplest way to think about it is this: As noted in the comments to Saturday’s recap, if the Cubs win their next three games they will be N.L. Central champions for the second straight year. (Side note: If the Cubs win their next four games, that will make it a 90-win season for the third straight year. The last time this franchise won 90 or more for three straight seasons was 1928-29-30.)
A couple of notes on how close this series has been:
- The previous time the Cubs played three-straight extra-inning games in the same series was September 17-19, 1999 vs. Milwaukee at Wrigley Field, and this marks the first time the Cubs have played three-straight extra-inning games on the road against the same team since doing so Sept. 13-15, 1932 against the Giants at the Polo Grounds (H/T Ed Hartig).
- Of the 30 innings played in this series so far, the teams have either been tied or within two runs of each other in 29 of them (nine of 10 innings on Thursday, all 10 innings Friday and all 10 yesterday).
Despite the loss Saturday, the Cubs have won nine of their last 11 and 17 of their last 25 and are 43-23 (.652) since the All-Star break. They’ve been in first place alone since August 13 and at least tied for first since July 26.
Also, the winner of this game will take the season series, which is currently tied at nine wins each. This would be important only in the unlikely event of a tiebreaker game between the Cubs and Brewers. The winner of the season series would host that game.
Here are today’s particulars.
Jay LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Zobrist 2B, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Almora CF, Quintana P
Perez 2B, Santana RF, Braun LF, Shaw 3B, Aguilar 1B, Arcia SS, Vogt C, Broxton CF, Anderson P
Jose Quintana vs. Chase Anderson
Jose Quintana in September: three starts, 2.41 ERA in 18⅔ innings, three walks, 21 strikeouts, 1.025 WHIP. So — he’s stepping up at exactly the time the Cubs need him to most.
He threw six innings and allowed two runs against the Brewers July 28 in Miller Park. That’s usually good enough to win, but the Cubs scored just once that night. Hold the Brewers to two runs today and I think the Cubs will take this one.
Chase Anderson is having an outstanding season and threw five shutout innings against the Cubs in this game we’d surely like to forget.
However, his previous two starts against the Cubs weren’t nearly as good. April 17 at Wrigley Field: five innings, seven hits, three runs, and May 21 at Wrigley Field: four innings, seven hits, six runs, including a home run by Ben Zobrist and two from Kris Bryant.
Anderson missed almost two months earlier this year with an oblique injury. Since his return, though, he’s picked up where he left off: seven starts, 2.39 ERA.
So, we could have another pitchers’ duel this afternoon.
MLB.com Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because MLB.com broke the links I used to use to get to their “new” Gameday. If you click on this link, you can then click on “New Gameday” at the bottom of the page to get to the updated version. Note that the “classic” Gameday won’t load until just before game time.)
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The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. 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.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.