One year ago today was among the more mixed up emotional days of my life. I was on my way to Chicago for the start of the NLCS against the Dodgers – and the once-in-a-lifetime dream that accompanies things like that – when the Tribune published a very nice, thoughtful profile on my work at BN. The thing was, I was on my way to Chicago from my uncle’s funeral in Toledo. He died far too young after a multi-year struggle with alcoholism, and it made for a difficult backdrop against which to be going through the positive personal things at that very same moment. You can’t help but wonder if you really have permission to be happy and to appreciate the good when the context also includes the heartbreak you saw on your family’s faces that very day.
Then again, maybe that’s exactly why you embrace the happiness and appreciate the good when it comes, whatever day it comes.
- [UPDATE: Seager is off the NLCS roster.] One of the Dodgers’ best and most impactful players, shortstop Corey Seager, is dealing with a back issue, and is essentially questionable for tonight’s game. That would be a significant blow to the Dodgers, not only because he’s great out there defensively, but if the Cubs go with Jose Quintana tonight, Seager destroyed fellow lefties this season (.325/.389/.527) after being much more susceptible to them his rookie year (.250/.308/.413). Best guess? Seager plays. Unless he gets attacked by mold spores later this afternoon. (Then he will not only play, he will have the game of his life, apparently.)
- That reminds me: the old saw last year about the Dodgers being terrible against lefties? It didn’t repeat this year thanks to improvements by some young lefties and huge seasons by some of the righties – the Dodgers’ 109 wRC+ against lefties this season was *the best* in the National League.
- The Cubs might have their own physical disadvantage tonight, though it won’t be because someone is missing: the team had its flight from Washington diverted into Albuquerque because of a medical emergency involving a family member, who eventually felt better enough to resume travel (Tribune). That delay put the Cubs into their hotel in the early afternoon instead of the early morning, so hopefully they got rest on the plane. They figure to be very tired, unfortunately. And they’re also coming off an exhausting, rain-delayed five-game NLDS against the Nationals. The Dodgers have been resting comfortably for days after a sweep of the Diamondbacks. (I’m reminded a bit of how the shoe was on the other foot last year for the Cubs and Dodgers.)
- Joe Maddon told the Tribune that Jon Lester will be the Game Two starter, which would seem to suggest Jose Quintana will indeed go tonight (otherwise, he’d go a long time between outings, and given his excellence, I wouldn’t think you’d want to do that).
- If you missed it last night, the odds favor the Dodgers this series. Also, Michael has your Series Preview right here.
- Anthony Rizzo is by far the biggest in this picture, so I think that means the Cubs win. Imagine if it was a fight to the death between these guys at the sizes shown in the picture. Rizzo could tuck Jose Altuve in his pocket while he snaps the other two in half:
Who will face off in this year's Fall Classic? pic.twitter.com/KTCRq5REXS
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 13, 2017
- I don’t care how others define homegrown, this is what homegrown looks like (and there are a few others who could be in here, too):
- Looks like some people were buttholes to Carl Edwards Jr. on Twitter … don’t do this, people:
Be better than this, Cubs fans. Carl has been fan-freaking-tastic this season. pic.twitter.com/UdIVnhzel0
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) October 14, 2017
- Edwards struggled badly with his command in Games Four and Five of the NLDS, and gave up the homer to Bryce Harper in Game Two; though he did have two excellent appearances in Games One and Three. The fact that he appeared in every single game should tell you plenty about how Joe Maddon continues to trust him. I’m reminded of his struggles in DC midseason, when it looked like he might benefit from time in middle relief, if not a move to AAA Iowa for a bit. Instead, Maddon just kept trusting Edwards in high leverage moments as the team flew out west, and he cruised through a dominant final month and a half of the season. Perhaps that trust will pay off again, as soon as tonight.
- This remains one of my favorite Cubs memories ever:
- This is very interesting and fun to watch how EXTREME the transition has been in the last couple decades:
— Daren Willman (@darenw) October 12, 2017
- A reminder that the Cubs’ updated and beautiful postseason gear can be gobbled up right here at our partner Fanatics.
- As you plan ahead, oh my: a light up Cubs ugly sweater is a thing that exists. Also, a 3-D Cubs ugly sweater. Wow.