Gearing Up for Game One of the World Series and Other Bullets

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Gearing Up for Game One of the World Series and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

jon lester cubs featureThe excitement and anticipation is real. My thoughts from this morning, if you missed them. It says what little I can on a day like today.

  • The Cubs have confirmed that the rotation for the World Series will go Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks (on full rest), and John Lackey. The Indians will go Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, and TBA.
  • I know that Cubs fans are good and tired of hearing about it, especially after yet another team vociferously indicated they would take advantage of it – and then didn’t – but Jon Lester’s inability to throw to a base will once again be a storyline in this World Series. You already know the drill: for the most part, Lester controls the running game by allowing so few baserunners, and then by leaning heavily on a quick delivery to the plate and a masterful catcher behind it. But with so much speed on the Indians and a manager who is very familiar with Lester’s issues, I wonder if we’ll finally see a team do what no team has done before: just run. When you take that monster lead, as the Dodgers did, and Lester stares you down – even steps off the rubber – just take off. Go. Don’t wait for a pitch, at which point the task of throwing to a base becomes David Ross’s responsibility (and opportunity). Literally run to the next base as Lester stands there holding the ball. Maybe he tosses it with ease to the next base, and you are out by a mile. Maybe it’s really embarrassing. But some player is going to try it, and I truly don’t know what the outcome would be.
  • Given how brilliant Lester has been in these playoffs (and in his career), I’m not sure what the Indians really have to lose by trying something like that. My hope, of course, is that, with that much time, Lester could make a nice, easy throw (as he did late in 2015 when the leads off of first became monstrous, and then again this past August when Wil Myers tried to take off too early from second base). I think Lester would probably be fine in that situation. But, again, the onus is on the Indians to try something, rather than just talk about it.
  • As for the other possible approach to rattling Lester and getting baserunners – bunting – we saw that it didn’t work out for the Dodgers in the NLCS, and Lester even eagerly fielded a short play of his own. Everyone talks about that one because he bounced the throw to first, but it seems that many don’t know that the bounce throw is intentional – it gives Anthony Rizzo an opportunity to make the play without risking the throw sailing. It’s not ideal, but it’s something of a clever workaround for Lester’s unique issue.
  • Speaking of Lester, he once again hosted the afterparty when the Cubs won a huge game (this time, clinching the NLCS), and you should read about it, so long as you can contain your cries of, “WE WANT TO PARTY WITH YOU!”
  • If you missed Michael’s Series Preview yesterday, check it out here. He’ll be at the game today, so hopefully he can get some neat in-person stuff on Twitter.
  • The Indians have indeed added Danny Salazar to the World Series roster (forearm tightness), so he’s available to pitch in relief, or even possibly starting Game Four. Meanwhile, second baseman Jason Kipnis is getting over an ankle injury sustained in the post-clinch celebration.
  • The connection between two middle infielders, selected a pick apart in the 2011 draft, each originally from Puerto Rico and then Florida, and now in the World Series – Francisco Lindor and Javy Baez.
  • How the world has changed since 1908.
  • A touching story about Cubs hitting coach John Mallee and his father, who was a lifelong Cubs fan until he passed away earlier this year.
  • In case you were wondering if new Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen (formerly of the Red Sox) would plunder any Cubs front office members to join his new staff, it’s still possible, but he just filled a key position with Amiel Sawdaye, also formerly of the Red Sox, as his assistant GM (Jon Heyman).
  • Time lapse video of “WORLD SERIES” painting preparations at Wrigley Field? Yes please:

  • Dig this:

  • Now that’s art:

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.