Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

2015 mlb postseasonThe Cubs handled the Cardinals with aplomb in the NLDS, but, despite the 100 wins, I’d argue that this Mets team is actually better than that Cardinals team.

Obviously the Cubs are mighty good, themselves, and this match-up feels very earned for both teams. The Cubs got hot in the second half as their young core took a step forward, and the same happened, to a lesser extent, for the Mets. Each team also got healthy, and the Mets went gangbusters at the deadline to make additions, while the Cubs made smaller, lower risk moves.

It all worked out well for both teams, and now we get a very exciting NLCS match-up that I think many baseball fans, even outside of the respective fan bases, will really enjoy.

There’s some history here, but remember, it’s mostly just history.

We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs took out the Cardinals 3-1 in the NLDS, including three straight wins to finish it. Including the playoffs, the Cubs have won 12 of their last 13. How about that, eh?

The Mets went to five games with the Dodgers, before finally closing their series out on Thursday night. The Mets went into the playoffs having lost five of six, so maybe streaks don’t mean much.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Saturday, October 17 at 6:30 CT on TBS.
  • Sunday, October 18 at 6:30 CT on TBS.
  • Tuesday, October 20 at 6:30 CT on TBS.
  • Wednesday, October 21 at 6:30 CT on TBS.
  • Thursday, October 22 at 6:30 CT on TBS (if necessary).
  • Saturday, October 24 at 2:30 CT on TBS (if necessary).
  • Sunday, October 25 at 6:30 CT on TBS (if necessary).

And, if you’re not in the blackout region, you can always watch on

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.


Starters: Jon Lester (3.34 ERA, 2.92 FIP; 4.40 K/BB), Jake Arrieta (1.77 ERA, 2.35 FIP; 4.92 K/BB), TBA (probably Kyle Hendricks (3.95 ERA, 3.36 FIP; 3.88 K/BB)), TBA (probably Jason Hammel (3.74 ERA, 3.68 FIP; 4.30 K/BB)), TBA, TBA, TBA.

Lineup (You know this will shift around a lot):

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Jorge Soler, RF
  3. Kris Bryant, 3B
  4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  5. Starlin Castro, 2B
  6. Kyle Schwarber, LF
  7. Miguel Montero, C
  8. Javy Baez, SS (unless David Ross is catching)
  9. Pitcher (for Lester and Arrieta starts)


Starters: Matt Harvey (2.71 ERA, 3.05 FIP; 5.08 K/BB), TBA (probably Steven Matz (2.27 ERA, 3.61 FIP; 3.40 K/BB)), TBA (probably Jacob deGrom (2.54 ERA, 2.70 FIP; 5.39 K/BB)), TBA (probably Noah Syndergaard (3.24 ERA, 3.25 FIP; 5.35 K/BB)), TBA, TBA, TBA.


  1. Curtis Granderson, RF
  2. David Wright, 3B
  3. Daniel Murphy, 2B
  4. Yoenis Cespedes, CF
  5. Lucas Duda, 1B
  6. Travis d’Arnaud, C
  7. Michael Conforto, LF
  8. Wilmer Flores, SS
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Match-up to watch: the Cubs’ bats versus the Mets’ arms. #Analysis

But seriously, it does feel like that’s the key match-up, as the Mets will consistently start with guys who can shut down good lineups. Some Cubs have, at times this year, had trouble handling consistently high velocity, and the Mets will bring it in spades.

One guy who can handle it, though, is Jorge Soler, who you’ve got to figure will keep starting in this one, even against the tough righties. Unless he suddenly looks lost at the plate – right now, he looks completely locked in, barely flinching at pitches out of the zone – I can’t see any reason to sit him until the later innings approach and the Cubs are working with the lead.

That could mean that Chris Coghlan will continue to be relegated to bench duty, assuming Kyle Schwarber starts against righties in left (which he should). Coghlan remains a nice weapon to have on the bench, which could be very important, because …

The Cubs will be without Addison Russell in this one, and, while it’s conceivable we’d barely notice – it’s not impossible to imagine Javy Baez playing great in the field and having a solid series at the plate – it’s also conceivable that the hit to the Cubs’ depth could come up at very inopportune times.

The Mets’ starters are dominant, but, for the most part, they can be worked a bit. By that I mean, they will be trying to get their strikeouts – and they will get tons of them – and won’t always be right in the zone. Patience, then, sometimes pays off, even if not in the form of immediate offense. Sometimes it means you let a guy like Matt Harvey rock you for six or seven innings, but then he’s gotta depart.

Speaking of Harvey: if you hear anyone saying he was human in September/October because of his 3.99 ERA, you can just flash a sign that says 1.43 FIP and say naw.

With Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard throwing so much on Thursday (the latter mostly in the bullpen), it’s unclear when and how they’ll be used in this series. It sounds like the Mets would like to start Syndergaard in Game Two, but he might not be ready.

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