Postseason baseball returns to Chicago this afternoon as the Chicago Cubs are set to host the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of their NDLS series at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field a few minutes after 3:00 pm central time.
After the Cubs rode the arm of Kyle Hendricks to a 3-0 shutout over the National League East Champions, the Washington Nationals. Hendricks was brilliant as he out-dueled a nearly equally brilliant start by Nats’ starter Stephen Strasburg on Friday night in the nation’s capital.
Game 2 on Saturday night looked like more of the same for the Nationals as Jon Lester held the dangerous Washington offense to just one run for most of the evening. Lester left the ballgame after tossing six innings of one-run baseball and left in-line for a victory with the Cubs leading 3-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
Then it happened, the Cubs bullpen imploded in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Nationals scored five times on a pair of home runs by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman to capture a 6-3 lead after eight full innings in D.C.. Joe Maddon was chastised by many in the last 48 hours for his questionable management of the Cubs bullpen that has been shaky at best this season save for Wade Davis who has been near perfect. But we must remember that Joe Maddon doesn’t care about your opinion, Joe Maddon holds Sunday morning brunches while watching football games and lounging around in shorts instead of working out like their opponent did on Sunday afternoon.
Joe Maddon has said in the past that all of his decisions are well thought out, so they can’t be bad decisions. Well Joe, if couple more of those “well thought out” bullpen meltdowns lead to the Cubs being bounced out of the Postseason, you’re going to have a tough time getting Chicago to buy into that theory moving forward. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
Speaking of managers that are historically bad at managing pitching staffs, Dusty Baker returns to Wrigley Field as the Manager of the Washington Nationals this afternoon. The last time Dusty Baker managed a Postseason game at Wrigley Field, the Florida Marlins celebrated a National League Pennant in the visiting clubhouse after Dusty’s 2003 Cubs imploded in the NLCS.
Jose Quintana will take the ball for the Cubs this afternoon in his Postseason start of his career, and we hope he has more success than former teammate Chris Sale did in Boston on Thursday of last week. One person that will be rooting for Quintana is his former pitching coach, Don Cooper. Coop told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Sun Times that he will be a Cubs’ fan on Monday as he pulls for his former southpaw. “I’m going to be pulling for him,” Cooper said. “I love him in every respect.”
Quintana will be opposed by Max Scherzer today, and the question will be how Scherzer’s hamstring will react to the tweak he suffered in his final start of the regular season. If Scherzer is fine, it will be rough sailing for the Cubs offense against the perennial Cy Young Award contender who finished the 2017 season with a 16-6 record a 2.51 ERA and 268 strikeouts.
Broadcast Information and Start Time
First Pitch: 3:08 PM (CT)
Radio: ESPN 1000 and 670 The Score
- Jon Jay CF
- Kris Bryant 3B
- Anthony Rizzo 1B
- Willson Contreras C
- Ben Zobrist 2B
- Kyle Schwarber LF
- Jason Heyward RF
- Addison Russell SS
- Jose Quintana P
- Trea Turner SS
- Bryce Harper RF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Jayson Werth LF
- Matt Wieters C
- Michael Taylor CF
- Max Scherzer P