The wild-card games are a different postseason animal. Because it’s win or go home, bullpens become more important and you only need one starting pitcher.
In the Cubs’ case, though, they’ll have three starting pitches on their roster for tonight’s game.
Jorge De La Rosa
Having Pedro Strop available for this game is, in my view, supremely important. The Cubs’ bullpen has been running on fumes for the last week or so, and a healthy Strop changes the equation. It’s been less than three weeks since he injured his hamstring running the bases in Washington. Let’s hope he’s 100 percent for tonight.
The biggest surprise here is not having Carl Edwards Jr. on the roster. It appears Joe Maddon and the brass simply don’t feel they can trust CJ in a winner-take-all game. That’s a shame, but it matches up with the reality we’ve seen from CJ lately.
The Cubs are also taking two starting pitchers beyond Jon Lester, both Cole Hamels and Kyle Hendricks. Let’s hope they are not needed and will start Games 1 and 2 against the Brewers, not necessarily in that order.
Here’s the rest of the 25-man wild-card game roster. This roster can be changed for the division series.
Tommy La Stella
Albert Almora Jr.
Gore could be an excellent weapon in this game and the postseason in general as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. In 12 games with the Cubs, he has stolen six bases without being caught and scored five runs. He’s played in eight postseason games in his career, with four stolen bases and one caught stealing.