Playoff Miscellany: Indians Take the Lead, NLCS Begins

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Playoff Miscellany: Indians Take the Lead, NLCS Begins

Chicago Cubs

The NLCS is here. Tonight, the Cubs will host the Dodgers, as Jon Lester faces Kenta Maeda. It’s rather surreal, isn’t it? I’m going to be nervous as hell later today, but right now it all still seems so distant. I think the fact that the Cubs were swept by the Mets at this point last year has Cubs fans a little gun shy about allowing their hearts to open up completely, even though that’s a completely irrational connection between disparate teams and situations.

  • Meanwhile, the ALCS kicked off yesterday, with Corey Kluber and the Indians hosting Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays. Each starter was fantastic, and the only damage either gave up was a two-run Francisco Lindor homer off of Estrada in the 6th inning:

  • Lindor, who also is a defensive stud, is getting shown off on a national stage, not unlike another young middle infielder with the Cubs. I remember the 2011 draft very well, hearing for weeks the debate about Javier Baez and Lindor. Then, even after Lindor was selected 8th overall and Baez went 9th overall, the debate continued for years about which was the better prospect. The consensus that developed was that Baez offered the greater offensive upside, while Lindor would probably have a steady, if unspectacular bat, but stellar defense. I leave it to you all – and the years to come – to decide just how much that has shifted, but it’s still very fun to see these two players getting the same kind of attention in the same playoffs.
  • Andrew Miller relieved Kluber and recorded all five of his outs by strikeout. He’s such a ridiculous stud, and I cannot possibly watch him pitch without a small sense of bitterness that the Cubs did not more seriously pursue him as a free agent (I have those feelings a little less about the trade this year, because, given what the Indians gave up to get him, I’m not sure the Cubs had the right pieces that the Yankees would have preferred – in fact, I think it’s highly likely that the Yankees made their reliever trades how they did because they knew that the Cubs had the pieces they wanted in an Aroldis Chapman deal, but not an Andrew Miller deal (unless Kyle Schwarber was included, and we already know how quickly that conversation came and went)).
  • Josh Tomlin will start Game Two for the Indians, rather than Trevor Bauer, who’d originally been scheduled to go. Why the change? Bauer cut his pinkie while repairing one of his drones (USA Today). You can’t quite put guys in bubble wrap during the season, and you wouldn’t think a little work in the garage on a drone would be all that dangerous, but there you go. Bauer is expected to be able to pitch in Game Three, so there’s really not that much damage done.
  • J.A. Happ will start for the Blue Jays, who try again in Cleveland at 3pm CT on TBS.
  • The Cubs host the Dodgers at 7pm CT on Fox Sports 1. I’ll be watching this one at Yak-Zies on Clark with Michael and other friends and BN’ers, across from Wrigley Field. Stop by if you don’t already have viewing plans.

Author: Brett Taylor

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