Cubs

NBC Sports Chicago continues expanded, multi-platform Cubs/NLCS coverage this week

nbc_sports_chicago_slide.jpg

NBC Sports Chicago continues expanded, multi-platform Cubs/NLCS coverage this week

Game 3 coverage Tuesday, October 17 – LIVE from Wrigley Field

“Cubs Pregame Live: NLCS Game 3” at 7:00 PM CT

“Cubs Postgame Live: NLCS Game 3” at approx. 11:00 PM CT

Game 4 coverage Wednesday, October 18 – LIVE from Wrigley Field

“Cubs Pregame Live: NLCS Game 4” at 7:00 PM CT

“Cubs Postgame Live: NLCS Game 4” at approx. 11:00 PM CT

Game 5 coverage (if nec.) Thursday, October 19 – LIVE from Wrigley Field

“Cubs Pregame Live: NLCS Game 5” at 6:30 PM CT (on NBC Sports Chicago+)

“Cubs Postgame Live: NLCS Game 5” at approx. 10:30 PM CT

“In the Loop: Road to a Repeat” Cubs special to air TONIGHT at 10:30 PM CT

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

Chicago, IL (October 16, 2017) – NBC Sports Chicago, the multi-platform home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, will continue to provide fans with LIVE expanded, surrounding coverage of the Cubs hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS this week live from Wrigley Field! 

With the Cubs looking to storm back from an 0-2 series deficit, the NLCS shifts to Wrigley Field this week for Game 3 (TOMORROW – Tue, Oct. 17), Game 4 (Wed, Oct. 18), and an if necessary Game 5 on Thu, Oct. 19.  As it provided fans during the NLDS, NBC Sports Chicago will once again deliver expanded editions of Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto Group and Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois LIVE from the Brickhouse Tavern overlooking the always-festive Park at Wrigley.

For NLCS surrounding game coverage at Wrigley Field this week, hosts David Kaplan (@thekapman) and David DeJesus (@David_DeJesus3) will be joined by Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) and NBCSportsChicago.com Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney (@MooneyNBCS) with up-to-the-minute on-field reports and interviews.

Please note the following details for NBC Sports Chicago’s surrounding Cubs-Dodgers NLCS coverage this week from Wrigley Field…NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago live stream also available on www.NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive or via the NBC Sports app to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago Chicago subscribers:

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17

7:00 PM – Cubs Pregame Live: NLCS Game 3 presented by Fields Auto Group – Hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan and David DeJesus, this special ONE-HOUR edition of Cubs Pregame Live will break down and preview Game 3 of the NLCS featuring numerous interviews, pitching match-up and player analyses, a recap of Games 1 & 2, along with the latest on-field pre-game reports from Kelly Crull and Patrick Mooney.

11:00 PM (time approx.) Cubs Postgame Live: NLCS Game 3 presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois – An expanded post-game edition of Cubs Postgame Live, hosted by Kaplan and DeJesus, will feature Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s post-game press conference, live locker room player interviews, a complete breakdown of Game 3, plus, additional live on-field, post-game reports from Crull, a preview of Game 4, and much more. This edition of Cubs Postgame Live can also be viewed on Facebook Live (www.Facebook.com/NBCSChicago).

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18

7:00 PM – Cubs Pregame Live: NLCS Game 4 presented by Fields Auto Group – Hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan and David DeJesus, this special ONE-HOUR edition of Cubs Pregame Live will break down and preview Game 4 of the NLCS featuring numerous interviews, pitching match-up and player analyses, a recap of Games 1-3, along with the latest on-field pre-game reports from Kelly Crull and Patrick Mooney.

11:00 PM (time approx.) Cubs Postgame Live: NLCS Game 4 presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois – An expanded post-game edition of Cubs Postgame Live, hosted by Kaplan and DeJesus, will feature Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s post-game press conference, live locker room player interviews, a complete breakdown of Game 4, plus, additional live on-field, post-game reports from Crull, a preview of Game 5 (if nec.), and much more. This edition of Cubs Postgame Live can also be viewed on Facebook Live (www.Facebook.com/NBCSChicago).

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19

6:30 PM (on NBC Sports Chicago+)Cubs Pregame Live: NLCS Game 5 presented by Fields Auto Group (if nec.) – Hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan and David DeJesus, this special edition of Cubs Pregame Live will break down and preview Game 5 of the NLCS featuring numerous interviews, pitching match-up and player analyses, a recap of Games 1-4, along with the latest on-field pre-game reports from Kelly Crull and Patrick Mooney.

10:30 PM (time approx.) Cubs Postgame Live: NLCS Game 5 presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois (if nec.) – An expanded post-game edition of Cubs Postgame Live, hosted by Kaplan and DeJesus, will feature Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s post-game press conference, live locker room player interviews, a complete breakdown of Game 5, plus, additional live on-field, post-game reports from Crull, a preview of Games 6-7 (if nec.) in Los Angeles, and much more. This edition of Cubs Postgame Live can also be viewed on Facebook Live (www.Facebook.com/NBCSChicago).

TONIGHT at 10:30 PM CT (and airing at 10:30 PM on weeknights throughout the Cubs playoff run), NBC Sports Chicago will provide viewers with expanded Cubs playoff coverage on In the Loop: Road to a Repeat presented by State Farm.  This half-hour show, featuring a rotation of Cubs experts including Kaplan, DeJesus, Crull, Mooney, and additional special guests, will provide fans with up-to-the-minute Cubs-Dodgers NLCS news and updates, player/manager interviews, workout day feature reports, comprehensive game previews/recaps, an overview of the ALCS, and much more.

In addition, NBCSportsChicago.com, will provide even more exclusive Cubs/NLCS content including the following highlights:

  • Live stream of Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s post-game press conferences (sponsored by Xfinity) following every NLCS game.
  • NBCSportsChicago.com Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney will provide extensive team/player news, special feature stories, and much more throughout the NLCS. Follow him on Twitter @MooneyNBCS for 24/7 inside access.  In addition, Cubs digital reporter and producer Tony Andracki (@TonyAndracki23) will also provide Cubs reports/features on the beat with Mooney for every NLCS game. Plus – David Kaplan (@thekapman), David DeJesus (David_DeJesus3), and Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) will also provide additional updates and reports from their perspective throughout the NLCS.
  • Complete coverage of the Cubs/NLCS can be found at NBCSportsChicago.com’s “CubsTalk” section presented by Wintrust (http://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/cubs ) featuring the very latest game day reports, detailed series analysis, video features, and much more. For complete 24/7 Cubs coverage, fans are urged to followed @NBCSCubs on Twitter.
  • IPowWow – On every edition of “Cubs Pregame Live,” Cubs fans can vote in real-time on a specific topical question that will offer up five choices…fans just need to log onto NBCSportsChicago.com/vote to cast their vote as many times as they choose with the immediate percentages of each choice appearing on their desktop, laptop, or mobile device.
  • “Cubs Talk PODCAST” presented by Wintrust – Featuring Kaplan, DeJesus, Mooney, Andracki, and an array of special guests, NBC Sports Chicago’s “Cubs Talk” podcast features in-depth Cubs/NLCS discussion on the hottest topics surrounding the series and much more. Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.
  • Push Alerts: NBC Sports Chicago will deliver Cubs push notifications for breaking team and player news, “Insider” reports, plus game reminder alerts via NBC Sports Chicago’s SportsTalk app for iOS and Android devices.

In addition to its expanded coverage on Facebook Live, NBC Sports Chicago will offer up even more special coverage on its social media platforms including a multitude of NLCS “Sights & Sounds” moments from Wrigley Field will be provided from ‘NBCSChicago’ via Instagram, Instagram Live and Snapchat, along with live updates, replays, gifs & more on Twitter via @NBCSCubs.

NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago’s surrounding coverage details for NLCS Games 6 & 7 (if nec.) in Los Angeles this weekend, will be announced on Friday, October 20.

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

chris_gimenez_yu_darvish_signing_slide_photo.jpg
AP

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Chris Gimenez, come on down.

The 35-year-old catcher isn't exactly a household name, but he's been signed by the Cubs to add backstop depth, according to Chris Cotillo and Ken Rosenthal:

The Cubs didn't have much depth in the catching department beyond Willson Contreras and inexperienced rookie Victor Caratini and while Gimenez doesn't light up the stat column, he's a link to Yu Darvish that could give the Cubs a unique advantage in that domain:

Darvish and Gimenez played together with the Texas Rangers in 2014-15 (though Darvish was hurt in 2015) and Gimenez has been shedding some light on what the free-agent pitcher may be thinking this winter. Is this Part II of a David Ross-Jon Lester personal catcher situation?

That may be reading a bit too much into things, as the Cubs were always going to sign a veteran catcher to provide depth beyond the unproven Caratini. They saw how important that was in 2017 when Alex Avila spent roughly a month as the starter when Contreras was hurt.

The link between Gimenez and Darvish is real, but the frontline starter has also made 48 starts over the last two seasons while throwing to a catcher not named Gimenez. And the free agent catching market is pretty thin beyond Avila and Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom should earn starter's money or close to it.

Gimenez has played 361 games in the big leagues over the last nine seasons as a journeyman, with stops in Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Texas, Cleveland (again), Texas (again), Cleveland (again) and then Minnesota last year. He played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey while in Tampa Bay.

Gimenez turned in a career season in 2017 with the Twins, notching new highs in games played (74), at-bats (186), runs (28), hits (41), homers (7), RBI (16) and walks (33).

He has a career .218 batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, .345 slugging and .654 OPS. 

But Gimenez isn't just a catcher. He's made nine appearances as a pitcher over the last few years, including six in 2017, where he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Gimenez will probably compete with Caratini for the backup catcher role in Chicago and can lend a veteran presence. He's also the best bet to take for first position player to pitch in a game in 2018.

The Brewers have emerged as a darkhorse in the race for top starting pitchers

yu_darvish_brewers_cubs_article_slide.jpg
USA TODAY

The Brewers have emerged as a darkhorse in the race for top starting pitchers

The Milwaukee Brewers are making sure nobody forgets about them in the National League Central.

While the St. Louis Cardinals continue to make trades and the Cubs remain linked to the top starting pitchers on the market even after signing three pitchers, the Brewers have been rather quiet. All winter, the only noteworthy moves from Milwaukee came in the form of under-the-radar pitcher signings — starters Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo plus reliever Boone Logan.

Beyond that, the Brewers have added a bunch of other low-leverage players — catcher Christian Bethancourt and relievers J.J. Hoover, Ernesto Frieri, Michael Brady and Erik Davis. (Nobody would blame you if you haven't heard of any of those players before.)

But maybe the Brewers have just been saving their cash for one of the big guys, with Ken Rosenthal confirming a report Sunday night Milwaukee is not only one of the teams in on Yu Darvish, but they've even made a formal offer:

The Brewers securing Darvish or one of the other top pitchers — Jake Arrieta or Alex Cobb — would be a huge development in their effort to keep pace with the Cubs and Cardinals in the division.

Milwaukee was a surprise contender in 2017 before they faded down the stretch. The main reason they hung around the top of the NL Central all year was a shockingly-effective pitching staff.

However, the Brewers have some serious pitching questions long-term that need to be addressed. Beyond Chase Anderson and Zach Davies in the rotation, there are no sure things. 

Jimmy Nelson underwent shoulder surgery last fall and it's currently unknown when he can be counted on again, though things are progressing ahead of schedule. Junior Guerra — the 33-year-old right-hander formerly of the White Sox — went 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 20 starts in 2016 but followed that up with some serious struggles in 2017 (5.12 ERA, 1.48 WHIP).

Chacin, 30, was good in 2017 (13-10, 3.89 ERA, 1.27 WHIP), but struggled with health and inconsistent performance in the five seasons prior. Gallardo, 31, has a 5.57 ERA and 1.55 WHIP over the last two seasons. 

All that adds up to a staff that doesn't inspire much confidence behind a high-powered offense led by Ryan Braun, Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana, Eric Thames plus up-and-comers Lewis Brinson and Orlando Arcia.

Adding Arrieta or Darvish would certainly go quite far in improving the Brewers' biggest weakness and even Cobb could be a serious game-changer in Milwaukee.

As an interesting footnote to the whole Darvish rumor, the minute after Rosenthal confirmed the report, the Brewers official Twitter account took a shot at the Cubs:

Cubs Twitter — never one to back down from a good-natured social media spat — responded Monday morning with a sick comeback: