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On to the Nats, Love for Lackey, Bullpen Plans, Russell Rocking, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

That was a fun, late, much needed night. I didn’t get hammered or anything, mind you. I just played around on the interwebs watching the fun, eating after-midnight dessert, and downing cold medicine like it was celebratory champagne. I feel like a dog’s butt this morning, but I’m still smiling. This is going to be a really good week.


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  • … and then, well probably before then, it’ll be tense again. The Cubs are set to face a very, very good Nationals team in the NLDS starting next Friday in DC. Bryce Harper and Trea Turner are back in time for the playoffs, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg are healthy, Sean Doolittle has been what they needed in the bullpen … we’ll dig way deeper soon, but your first glance is that this is a better team than the Cubs on paper.
  • As for last night’s win, among the questions is whether it was John Lackey’s last regular season start. (I don’t see him making a postseason start absent an injury, but I do think he makes the roster, for what it’s worth.) Something of a send-off speech in the locker room from Jon Lester made it sound like Lackey is hanging them up, and his numbers on the whole this season would make you assume that’s that: 4.56 ERA, 5.32 FIP, 169.2 innings, turns 39 next month, will be a free agent. But, for what it’s worth, he put up a 3.68 ERA in 13 second half starts, after returning from a foot injury. Maybe he’s done, maybe he isn’t, but the guy who showed up in the second half was still very much a big league starter.
  • Here’s the Lackey toast, if you didn’t see it last night:

  • If you’re thinking about a trip to Washington for the NLDS, you can check out tickets on StubHub – the get-in-the-door is downright reasonable right now, at around $75 before fees. (And a reminder that when you buy tickets at StubHub via the links at BN, you’re supporting us in the process – so thanks!)

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  • Justin Wilson is dealing with a stiff neck, and he doesn’t have much time left to show the Cubs that he should be put on the 25-man NLDS roster. He’s had a few “oh, yeah, that’s why they got him” performances in the last month, but they have been only sporadic and unpredictable. That doesn’t play in the postseason, where almost every single inning pitched by a reliever is a high-leverage, potentially-game-changing inning. I hope he’s able to get out there in these final games at least twice, and if he *looks* like the command is there, then maybe he’ll find his way on the roster. Even then, though, it’s almost impossible to see him trusted as a key late-inning piece at this point.
  • Right now, it looks like those guys are Wade Davis, Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards Jr., and Brian Duensing. You’d include Mike Montgomery there, too, but he’s more likely to be a bridge/middle-inning guy in the postseason. Well, unless the Cubs need one final out to close out the whole thing …
  • Hey, big cheers for Jose Quintana, who now makes his first postseason after being so good on the South Side with so many bad teams. It would be awesome to see him dominate on the big stage, especially now that he’s wearing a Cubs jersey.

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  • His year as a whole will still be viewed as a down one, but how about Addison Russell in the second half? Despite missing a month with his foot issue, his line in the second half is very strong: .289/.340/.544, with a 123 wRC+ (97 PAs).
  • That’s Cub:

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
  • Hmm, this looks familiar …

  • Admittedly, the homemade camera is a nice touch.
  • There’s mucho new swag at Fanatics and MLB Shop for the Cubs now that they’ve clinched, so make sure to take some time today and poke around, seeing if there’s anything you like:

  • We also dropped a BRAND NEW SWEET AND SIMPLE BN SHIRT last night to celebrate the Cubs’ second straight Central crown and their quest to win a second straight World Series – it’s a nod to Ernie:

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  • Outside the Cubs world, the Bears play the Packers tonight, which means I’ve gotta plug our sister site, The Ten-Yard Line. How about giving them a like on Facebook so you can occasionally see some Bears goodness in the same vein as the BN stuff you love:


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.