Cubs

Game 4 postponed to Wednesday: Could postseason rain go against the Cubs this time around?

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USA TODAY

Game 4 postponed to Wednesday: Could postseason rain go against the Cubs this time around?

It’s no longer “if the rain comes,” as the Beatles sang. The rain is here.

What is supposed to be a lengthy downpour throughout the Chicagoland area started Tuesday evening and postponed Game 4 of the NLDS, pushing things back to 3:08 p.m. Wednesday at Wrigley Field. So the Cubs, just a win away from advancing to their third straight NLCS, will have to wait another day to go for a clinch.

But while last fall’s postseason rainstorm was a welcome sight for the Cubs, this time around the inclement weather could wind up going the opposite way for the North Siders.

They seemingly dodged a bullet when Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker announced that Tanner Roark will still be his team’s starting pitcher for the now-rescheduled Game 4, a surprising move considering Stephen Strasburg — who no-hit the Cubs into the sixth inning in Game 1 of this series — would figure to be ready to go on regular rest.

But with Baker making some comments about Strasburg — and much of his team — being “under the weather” due to changing temperatures inside and outside of their Chicago hotel, apparently the guy who struck out 10 Cubs batters this past Friday isn’t as ready as he seems. That means the Cubs get another crack at a pitcher who while still good isn’t the elite arm that Strasburg is.

Still, the nearly 24-hour shift in Game 4’s start time could have drastic effects on the remainder of the series.

The Cubs had seemingly all the momentum after winning Game 3 in thrilling fashion on Tuesday, momentum that now comes to a screeching halt, not all that dissimilar from the ceasing of the Cleveland Indians’ roll during last fall’s World Series. After Rajai Davis’ home run threw a wrench into Game 7, Jason Heyward’s clubhouse speech became a legendary moment in Cubs lore. This time, it’s the Cubs who have to sit and cool off while waiting for weather to pass.

The Nationals, meanwhile, get time to try and warm up their bats. Joe Maddon, like his counterpart in the opposite dugout, is sticking with his scheduled starter and will throw Jake Arrieta in Game 4 on Wednesday as he planned to do Tuesday. An argument could be made that the Cubs could have turned to their Game 1 starter after how magnificent Kyle Hendricks was in Washington. But the Cubs are equally confident in Arrieta to go out and get the job done as he battles back from his hamstring issue.

“Listen, Jake's really primed for this opportunity,” Maddon said before the rains came Tuesday. “He's done a great job of rehabbing his leg. He feels very good arm- and leg-wise right now. I'm real eager to watch him play.

“I just feel good about where Jake is right now physically and mentally, because he is. He's mentioned how great his arm feels, also, based on the rest, too. So you have the combination of resting his arm, resting his leg.”

But if the slowed momentum means the Cubs don’t win Game 4 on Wednesday, this series could dramatically swing, not just because Strasburg would await in Game 5 but because the Cubs could see another unfriendly pitcher on the mound in Max Scherzer. Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh in Monday’s Game 3, and he vowed to be available to pitch out of the bullpen in Game 5. So if the Cubs drop Game 4, then Game 5 becomes a tall task with the Nationals’ top two pitchers waiting.

So while rain worked in the Cubs’ favor last postseason, this time around, rain could make things a lot tougher.

The rain has come. And we only have to wait a day to find out what kind of effect it will have.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Where do Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta, Wade Davis?

In the latest CubsTalk Podcast, Kelly Crull and David Kaplan look ahead to Thanksgiving and discuss the official coaching hires for the Cubs.

They also talk about where the Cubs go from here with Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis, whether Alex Cobb could factor into the rotation plans and Kap goes off on the 11:30 a.m. Opening Day start time.

Check out the entire podcast here:

NBC Sports Chicago to deliver a Chicago baseball Thanksgiving Day marathon

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NBC Sports Chicago to deliver a Chicago baseball Thanksgiving Day marathon

15-straight hours of “Classic” Cubs and White Sox full game replays from the 2017 season gets underway at 9:00 AM CT

NBC Sports Chicago live stream available 24/7 on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive  or via the NBC Sports app

Chicago, IL (November 21, 2017) -- NBC Sports Chicago, the multi-platform home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, will provide its viewers with a special 15-hour Thanksgiving Day marathon featuring four, thrilling “Classic” games from this past Cubs & White Sox season beginning this Thursday, November 23 at 9:00 AM CT. 

NBC Sports Chicago will also live stream this Classic games marathon to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers on NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive or via the NBC Sports app.  NOTE: MLB game replays will only be made available to those viewers within NBC Sports Chicago’s regular MLB viewing territory.

Note NBC Sports Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Cubs & White Sox “Classics” game marathon line-up below (all times Central Time):

THANKSGIVING DAY - THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 23

9:00 AM“White Sox Classics: White Sox vs. Houston (from August 10) – The future most certainly looked bright on the southside in this match-up as the White Sox defeated the eventual World Series champs, thanks in part to some 9th/extra-inning heroics from team’s highly-touted future cornerstone, Yoan Moncada.

12:30 PM“Cubs Classics: Cubs at Milwaukee (from September 21) – In one of their most exciting victories of the season, the Cubs were down 3-2 in the top of the ninth (not to mention being down to their last strike), but second baseman Javy Baez came through with a clutch RBI single to force extra innings, which was then followed by reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant crushing the Brew Crew’s hopes for division contention with a two-run blast in the 10th.

4:30 PM“White Sox Classics: White Sox at Detroit (from September 14) – The bats were indeed alive as the White Sox belted out 25 hits (a White Sox personal best total since 1981) featuring some impressive firepower courtesy of its top three stars: Avisail Garcia (5-5, HR, 7 RBI), Yoan Moncada (4-5, HR), and Jose Abreu (4-5, 2 RBI).

8:00 PM“Cubs Classics: Cubs at St. Louis (from September 27) – The Cubs clinched their second-straight NL Central Division title with all five of their runs coming in the 7th inning, which included shortstop Addison Russell’s GW three-run shot.  NOTE: Immediately following this “Cubs Classics” game (approx. 10:55 PM), fans can look forward to a replay of “Cubs Postgame Live” that featured the team’s NL Central Division-clinching locker room celebration.

REMINDER: NBC Sports Chicago/NBCSportsChicago.com/NBC Sports app will carry live coverage of all eight Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football State Championship games this weekend (all in HD) beginning with the Class 1A title game Friday morning (Nov. 24) at 10:00 AM and all the way through to the Class 8A battle between area preps powerhouses Lincoln-Way East (13-0) vs. Loyola Academy (12-1) on Saturday night (Nov. 25) at 7:00 PM on NBC Sports Chicago+.  Fans are urged to visit NBCSportsChicago.com/preps for full coverage and precise channel location/live streaming details.