October 3, 2017: Lining Up

posted in: Cubs | 1

You smell that?  That’s the smell of playoff baseball.  It smells like… the Cubs time of year.  First up on the road back to the top is Washington DC.  How will we be lining up?

Let’s take a crack at the starting pitching first.  I am in agreement with many out there in thinking Hendricks should be the Game 1 starter.  I know Lester has the most postseason experience, but Hendricks earned his stripes last year.  He started some huge games, and did very well; NLCS Game 6, World Series Game 7.  It doesn’t get much bigger than that.  So he’s definitely not afraid of the stage.  And since he’s shaken off the rust after coming off his injury, he’s been the best Cubs pitcher.  Now just keep him in the game a little longer this time around Joe.

Game 2 should be Lester.  I know Quintana has pitched better down the stretch, but I’d rather have him make his debut at home  Another key to remember is if there is Game 5, who the starter will be.  In this setup, it can be either Kyle or Jon.  Whoever pitches better in their start, we can line up for the decisive game if we get there.

Jake is out of the conversation for Games 1 & 2 due to his injury.  The earliest he will be available will be Game 3.  The decisions from here on out are based on how the series is going.  If we’re up 2-0, start Quintana in Game 3.  If we’re tied or down 0-2, start Jake in Game 3.  Obviously, the other pitcher will start in Game 4.  Then, again, the better of the games 1 & 2 starters will be on the rubber for the win or go home game… with just about everyone else available.

How about the starting lineup?  This will be changing every game I’m thinking, just like the regular season.  I trust Joe will make the right decisions.  Here’s how I think we should line up against a righty.  Zobrist, Bryant, Rizzo, Contreras, Happ, Schwarber, Russell, and Baez.  Sorry, JHey is out.  He has had a much better year, and has been playing well lately, and he will get some important ABs, but if I’m going best lineup out of the gate, it has to be this… this is the best OFFENSIVE lineup, which will not always be the best way to go.  JHey would be out there, as would Jay, for defensive purposes.  And yes, I know Schwarber has struggled this year, but he has been a lot better lately.  Plus, it’s Schwarby season, right?  Taking his recent results and combining that with his postseason prowess, I’m not so sure you can keep him out of the lineup… at least against righties.  Yes, and then there’s Almora!  And Avila and Rivera… and Tommy!!!  It’s good to have options.  And then there’s the bullpen…

Wade, lock it down.  From there, who you got?  I like Edwards and Duensing in the late innings, and Montgomery as a bridge to get there.  I do not trust Strop or Rondon; heck, even Edwards.  It seems like he’s better when he’s brought in to cleanup a mess than when he starts with a clean inning.  Justin Wilson shouldn’t even be on the postseason roster; neither should Lackey.  Does that mean Grimm stays?  He was OK last year in October.

It’s good to have options.  Our depth is one of our strengths.  It has helped tremendously during the regular season, and may come into play in the postseason; remember, we are planning on playing for another month!  Either way you cut it, I like our chances.  Can’t wait until Friday.  Go Cubs!!!

  1. MK

    MLB playoffs…that’s Cub! So how will the Cubs line up to start? Here is my guess…

    Lester to pitch game 1. He was brought here as the ace and has been. 5-1 last postseason I believe? Yeah, I don’t care about his struggles this year. Give the man the ball and let him go to work.
    Hendricks in game 2. He has earned his belief stripes, too. The guy pitched in huge games last year and will this year. Put that quick hook in your pocket, Joe.
    Q in game 3, regardless. I don’t think Jake is completely healthy. So if he is not, he should not pitch. I do not think the Cubs will be in an 0-2 hole, but you never know. Either way, I think Q should start game 3 at Wrigley. The guy is consistent as they come, plus he is another lefty vs the nats lineup.
    As for the lineup…Jay, KB, Rizzo, Willson, Zorilla, Schwarber, Russell, Baez. While I agree that Happ instead of Jay gives us a better lineup, I think Joe likes Jay in the leadoff spot. Plus, Jay has done well there and makes pitchers work. Tommy will be a big pinch hit bat this year. JHey and Almora will be defensive options. Happ will get some playing time, too.
    I am hoping that the bullpen is not used too much because I am not sure who to rely on. Starters go 7 or 8, then bring in Carl, Duensing, Monty, and WD71. Not sure I trust anyone else. I will say that I think Lackey will make the roster. Might need him to eat up some innings if a starter has a rough go early.
    At the end of the day, I trust in Joe and his gut. Will I question it and complain about it? Yes, I reserve the right. Counting down to Friday. Cubs playoff baseball…GO CUBS GO!!!

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