Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

castro bryant imitate throwBoy, it sure is hard to do the “normal” things today, and to act like there ISN’T a freaking enormous win-or-go-home game looming tonight. I’ve never quite felt like this while trying to go about my business during a BN work day, which is in large part due to the fact that the Cubs haven’t been in a game like this during the life span of BN, which opened up shop after the 2008 season. I’m edgy. My eyes are darting all around. My mind is racing as I try to settle on each sentence to type. I’m going to have to try and pull it back soon, or I’m going to burst like an overfilled balloon before tonight’s game even arrives.

One final reminder: if you were planning on watching the game at a bar in Wrigleyville, make it Mullen’s on Clark, because that’s where I’ll be, and I like friends.

  • In terms of pre-game analysis, you’re going to notice, if you haven’t already, that I don’t have too much to offer you. Sure, when the lineups are released later this morning, I’ll get on it, and give you my thoughts. But outside of that, I hope you don’t think it thin or lazy of me not to dig in on every little thing about the game so that I can make a prediction, because it’s baseball. The Cubs could do everything well, could pull every right lever, and execute perfectly … and still lose. Baseball is a sport that lends itself extremely well to analysis over large samples, as well as analysis after a game, but is a terrible sport for trying to break things down in advance of a game in a predictive way. I can tell you that the Cubs might have an edge in areas X, Y, and Z, but the reality is that it might push their chances tonight to 53% instead of 50%. That leaves a 47% chance that the Cubs could lose, and, if they did, we’d never really know if it was because of areas A, B, and C, or if it was simply baseball being baseball. To pretend I could tell you what’s going to happen tonight in any kind of meaningful way would be a lie. Jake Arrieta is great. Gerrit Cole is very good, too. The Cubs have a great lineup. The Pirates have a great lineup. The Cubs have a better bench. The Pirates have a better bullpen. If these two teams played in Pittsburgh 100 times, I think the Cubs would win 53 to 55 of those times. But tonight is only one game.

  • Jake Arrieta’s been having some fun with Pirates fans on Twitter over the past few days, and, to the extent anyone had questions otherwise, he says that he’s just having some fun with a passionate fan base (ESPN). I do think it’s adorable that there are Pirates fans who believe Arrieta could be rattled by anything they do.
  • Another guy who you can’t really see being rattled by the bigness of today’s moment? Kris Bryant, despite being a rookie (CSN). That said, Jon Lester – who’s been there before – explains in this CSN article that, although the game is the same, the energy is going to be higher.
  • Joe Maddon gets love from his players (
  • The most Instagrammed place in Illinois? You know it – it’s Wrigley Field. (h/t ABC7)
  • Tonight’s pitching match-up might be one of the best in baseball history, if you can believe that.

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