Cubs vs Blue Jays World Series?

Chicago Cubs

Tonight, the Chicago Cubs will find out who they’ll play in the NLCS. Will it be the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Washington Nationals? I’m taking the Nationals. The Cubs played better this season against them. If only because of that four game sweep back in May, the Cubs are going to have an easier time. Sure, the nationals are stacked but the Cubs are better defenders and I’m trusting in 2016’s playoff hero so far, Javier Baez.

Max Scherzer is pitching tonight so he won’t be ready for Saturday. There’s Dusty Baker managing against his old team and we all know what happened last playoffs at Wrigley when Dusty was in a Wrigley dugout? Speaking of superstitions, I think the Cubs have finally chased whatever superstitions haunted them. This being the season of ghosts and unusual occurrences, that last game 4 between the Giants/Cubs wasn’t so much about curses or anything but we were watching a team dig down deep and fight their way back.

“I think the biggest thing is nobody really cares in there about a curse or a goat or anything else,” Cubs pitcher Jon Lester said. “If we make a mistake, we’re not going to blame it on a curse or anything else like that. We’re going to blame it on ourselves and be accountable for it and move on to the next play or the next moment.

“Plus, I think we’ve got too many young guys in there that don’t even know what that stuff is,” Lester said. “It’s almost better to play naive and just go out and worry about us, worry about the Cubs, and not anything else in the past or, like I said, any animals.”

I hope Daniel Murphy decides to not go bear hunting this fall.

Cubs in 5

So, should the Cubs move on to the World Series I’d love to see them go up against the Toronto Blue Jays. It’d be a classic matchup that would rival the Giants/Cubs NLDS. Imagine Edwin Encarnation vs Kris Bryant. Jose Bautista against Anthony Rizzo or Addison Russell taking on Troy Tulowitski?

The Cubs are so evenly matched against the Blue Jays that it would take on epic proportions. I’m not tempting fate, just daydreaming. Neither team has played each other this year, which would add to the suspense of the series. “Canada’s Team” vs the Chicago Cubs.

Cubs in 6

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Cubs Looking To Wrap Up NLDS

NLDS

The Toronto Blue Jays swept their first series in history and move on to the ALCS and for Canadians, it couldn’t have been a more Happy Thanksgiving then seeing Russell Martin have the game winning hit that sent Josh Donaldson home.

The Chicago Cubs and Jake Arrieta are making plans to head to the NLCS if they can wrap up their series against the San Francisco Giants tonight. Arrieta will be facing Madison Bumgarner at 9:38 pm eastern. We all know that Arrieta is the reigning National League Cy Young winner but this year, the emergence of Kyle Hendricks and the solid Jon Lester have pushed Arrieta into the three spot on the depth chart.

“I’ve had these moments in the past, and it’s just something you really want to relish and try to embrace and enjoy as much as you can,” said Arrieta, who went 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA in three postseason starts last year. “You play the long season — regular season — to get to this moment, to have these types of opportunities, and you prepare and you move forward accordingly and try to take care of business. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Tonight’s game is part of the puzzle that Theo Epstein has put together. The dramatics will be intense and I’m sure Bill Murray will be dancing in the stands. Joe Maddon is the perfect manager for tonight’s game. He’s loose and intense, fun and strict all wrapped up and sporting those Buddy Holly frames.

“There’s a power in letting the guys be free and play kind of without any restraints and thinking [about] things,” David Ross said. “He wants you to kind of just play the game, almost like in Little League. When you make mistakes, which we have done all year, you learn from them, try to teach and move on. These guys continue to grow. … There’s a continual growth, and that stems from Joe.”

That’s exactly what he brings to the table. Looking at guys like Kyle Hendricks who looks almost like he should still be playing Little League, the Cubs team is deceptive. However, tonight the Cubs are going to have their hands full against a Giants team that’s struggling to remain in the series and although Arrieta hasn’t had his best season after his award winning 2015 campaign, he’s focused, rested and ready.

“Well, from a numbers perspective, I would have liked maybe to be a little bit better,” Arrieta said on Sunday. “But at the same time, [I] took the ball every five days, had a lot of great things throughout the season to be excited about. … I’ve prepared the same way from start to finish and really like the process and trust the stuff moving forward, and know that it’s more than good enough to have a lot of success for this team in the postseason.”

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Cubs Looking To Put The Past Behind Them in NLCS

Kyle Schwarber

The NLCS is all set after the New York Mets defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 yesterday. This is somewhat great news for Cubs fans because the Cubs went 7-0 against New York’s better half. It doesn’t really matter what the record is because it’s the playoffs.

“That’s over with,” catcher Miguel Montero said. “You can’t rely on that or say, ‘We swept this series against them,’ or, ‘We did this against those two guys.’ That’s over. I think the Mets are a totally different team. … The Mets have Yoenis Cespedes — they’re totally different. You know they’re all good players.”

That’s what makes baseball so special. If you’re not familiar with the Mets/Cardinals history, well it has something to do with a black cat and Ron Santo. You know what Joe Maddon thinks of superstitions.

Jon Lester will get the start on Saturday which should set up a brilliant game 2 with Jake Arrieta on the mound.

“Jon Lester in a big game is always tasty,” Maddon said. “You’ll always take that. I have no problem with that. I know he’s very confident. I think the extra rest will help, too.”

It’s fitting too because this is why the Cubs brought him aboard. So, while we looked ahead to the NLCS which gets under way tomorrow night, I want to mention a bit about a Cubs/Jays World Series.

That’s my dream matchup for baseball’s coveted prize. Both teams are coming off brilliant seasons. They’re hard hitting and very deep in their respective lineups. On one hand you have Jose Bautista who, as we know, came through in the clutch the other night. His bat flip is pretty cool as well.

Then you have Kyle Schwarber and his scoreboard landing theatrics. In many ways, the Toronto Blue jays are to the American League as the Cubs are to the National League.

“Cubs and Toronto would be nice to have,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said. “Canada’s really important to us. I think if you had the Cubs and the Blue Jays, you’d probably have two countries pretty fully engaged. It’d be good for us.”

Good for Montreal landing a team in the future.

For me though, it’s not about countries being engaged. The best part about the World Series unlike other sports, is it truly showcases the best that baseball has to offer. It’s a hard trophy to win and so few teams make the post season that there’s great baseball happening.

“There’s no ‘worn out’ this time of year,”Catcher David Ross said. “It’s a new season. When the postseason hits, it’s like Spring Training all over again. You get a newfound energy. It’s a young group. I don’t know how much fatigue will play into it.”

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Cubs’ Schwarber’s Ball Finds A Home

Tom Comings

Well now that the dust has settled on their historic win over the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, the Chicago Cubs searched for Kyle Schwarber’s infamous home run ball that many folks believed cleared the scoreboard. Well, not so fast.

It turns out the ball landed on top of the scoreboard!

Tribune Company Publishing Architect Tom Comings took this photo after the game and you can clearly see the ball came to a complete rest on top of the scoreboard. Well, they don’t call it “The Friendly Confines” for nothing because workers have enshrined the ball in a case and there it shall remain until the end of the playoffs. The gesture is similar to the 2002 Olympics with the Lucky Loonie

Tonight, the Cubs opponent will be sworn into the NLCS and it could either be the New York Mets or the Los Angeles Dodgers. Personally, I’d rather the Cubs face the New York Mets. Their regular season record is much better than that of the Dodgers. The Cubs went 7-0 against the Mets. The Dodgers on the other hand, beat the Cubs four times.

Now, that being said, the Dodgers won’t open the series with Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw should the Cubs play them.

The NLCS showdown begins Saturday 7:30 pm. The ALCS begins tomorrow at 7:30pm

The Mets aren’t the same team the Cubs faced earlier this year. They’re on a tear but the Cubs will be well rested.

It turns out the Cubs are favoured to win the World Series.

Ok, let me make this clear; statistics can be thrown out the window. They don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things unless it’s to satisfy naysayers and bookies.

This is playoff baseball. At this stage of the game anything can happen. Player’s performances go to a higher level and underdogs rise to the top. That’s why we tune in and that’s why Nation’s stand behind a Blue team in Toronto. In fact, I think a beer can landed in my backyard from Young Street.

Oh, and congratulations Toronto Blue Jays on that outstanding victory!

Will we see a Cubs/Blue Jays World Series?

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Cubs Are One Win Away From NLCS

Chicago Cubs

It was a record setting kind of day for the Chicago Cubs. Count em’ six home runs as they snubbed out the Cardinals 8-6. Today, the Cubs can take the series with a win at Wrigley Field and advance to the NLCS.

Ryne Sandberg threw out the first pitch, Ernie Banks sang the seventh inning stretch via jumbotron, the wind was blowing out and the rookies brought their magic.

All was right at Wrigley Field last night.

Jake Arrieta had a tough outing for, well, Jake Arrieta. He still collected the win but only struck out nine batters over five innings. He still looked awesome.

“He’s human, man,” Miguel Montero said. “It’s going to happen. I’m actually happy it happened because now I realize he’s human. I was a little concerned.”

In many ways, last night’s victory was the blueprint to Theo Epstein’s tenure with the Cubs. Three rookies destroyed the ball. Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber. Epstein was smiling along with Eddie Vedder up in the boxes.

Oh, and I just have to say that Harold Reynold’s comments about Canada and baseball is pretty weird.

“We we’re talking about foul balls in the stands up in Toronto and because there’s not a lot of people who grew up playing baseball in Canada, they’re not used to catching a lot of balls hit into the stands.” Reynolds said.

For those who don’t know, Reynolds made that comment during the Toronto/Rangers game at the Rogers Centre. I’m sure he meant as a joke which he later apologized but folks up here tended to take it the wrong way.

“I didn’t mean to offend anybody. I just thought it was just part of the fun nature of the game. Sorry, Canada, whole country, if I offended you for that. I’m well aware of the baseball players that have come out of there … It was more of a joke. Most people grew up playing hockey in Canada. I didn’t think it was that offensive, so obviously I was taken different.”

I didn’t grow up playing hockey or baseball and love both games. Why don’t I switch this around and say, “Most Americans grew up playing baseball.”

See Harold? Most Americans didn’t grow up playing baseball. It’s just lazy journalism.

It was just funny, that’s all.

The great news about today’s game is Kris Bryant ended an eleven game drought. Could we see some more from him today?

“When Kris stands in the box, even if he can’t swing the bat, him just standing in the box, his presence alone means more to this team than anyone can imagine,” Anthony Rizzo said.

Today, is the most important day at Wrigley Field in a long time. Jason Hammel gets the start. I’m a little worried about the pitching tonight but I have a funny feeling that the bats will speak loud.

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Chris Coghlan And The Cubs Hit a Snag But Gear Up For Pirates

Chicago Cubs

Remember when I said baseball’s a funny game? Well, the least likely team to play spoiler to the Cubs dulled the claws of the ferocious bears of baseball. Yesterday, the Philedelphia Phillies walked away with a 7-4 win resulting in the Cubs falling a bit back of the Pirates.

Despite the loss, Chris Coghlan played a game for the ages. He recorded two triples, one which should have been a home run and he notched a home run to answer the one that should have been a home run.

Make sense?

“Every game matters, so that’s why when you split here, it feels terrible,” Coghlan said. “As good as we’ve been playing, it’s a disappointment. … We just have to take one game at a time. I think everybody in here is excited about facing the Pirates, myself included, because these are big games. Any time you play somebody ahead of you it’s two games for one you win.”

The Cubs have the day off today before facing the Pirates in Pittsburgh. It’s an unlikely scenario of a must win situation for the Cubs. In order to catch up to the Cardinals, the Cubs must sweep the Pirates( providing the Cardinals get swept in their own series against the Brewers)

No pressure, right?

“It’s a lot of fun, it’s a lot of fun for everybody,” Joe Maddon said. “This is why you work, this is why you do this thing to be in that position to play those games. It’s exciting for everybody — us, the fan base, baseball fans.”

So, it’s been quite some time when games in September mattered at all for Cubs fans. This time every year, my attention shifts solely to the CFL. The Canadian Football League.  Usually, baseball doesn’t mean that much to me in September. Sure, I dabble in the fall classic, but most of the time it’s, “Meh?” I’m a one sport kind of guy, even I don’t watch hockey until December really, after baseball and then the Grey Cup.

This fall is going to be different. The Cubs are doing well, the Blue Jays are on fire and the second year Ottawa REDBLACKS (It’s annoying their name is in all caps) are doing amazing. Hey, you’d do great in a nine team league too.

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Schwarber Hits It Long For Cubs

Chicago Cubs

I love September ball. Magic numbers, post season races and spectacular walk off gems.

Then there’s Kyle Schwarber. Recording his twelfth home run. The Sultan of Schwarb continued his outstanding rookie campaign and at least this guy’s comparison to the mighty Babe Ruth.

Speaking of confidence, when not hitting home runs, Kris Bryant is driving in those runs with two last night and leading all rookies with 82.

“He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Maddon said of Bryant. “He doesn’t care who’s pitching, what the count is, his defense, third base, outfield — he’s just all about winning. For a young guy, he’s one of the best baseball players I’ve been around.”

With the September call ups in place, the Cubs are set to make that final push towards October. Javier Baez, Austin Jackson, Tsuyoshi Wada, Quintin Berry and Trevor Cahill have all joined the Cubs ranks. They’re ready to take on the St Louis Cardinals for six games this month.

Ok, so I’m this “Great Canadian Cubs Fan”. We live in a country where 95% of baseball fans cheer for the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are having this monster season where everyday you’ll run into people wearing Josh Donaldson T-Shirts or Tulowitski jerseys. They’ve all become household names even if you’re not a baseball fan. It’s pretty cool and it’s neat to see the SkyDome(yes, I’m showing my age) filled in September.

Then there’s the Cubs.

Canada doesn’t have a National League team to cheer for and let me tell you, and it’s not just in my circles, there’s a lot of Canadians who are behind the mighty Northsiders. We like the underdogs. It’s our nature. Rizzo, Bryant, Arrieta and Schwarber have become heroes too. I hear it all the time.

“Hey Mark, that kid Bryant sure is some player, eh?”

Yes, the stereotypes are true. We say Eh, Aboot and a couch is a Chesterfield.

“Joe’s mentioned it,” Schwarber said. “He said, ‘Wait until September. You get an extra pep in your step coming to the park every day. It’s not the dog days, it’s that time to go after the race and make it ot the playoffs.’ We all feel it.”

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