Cubs

Cubs: Jake Arrieta's pitching plan after rainout in Philadelphia

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Cubs: Jake Arrieta's pitching plan after rainout in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA — The Cubs still have plenty of time to line up their rotation so that Jake Arrieta can start the National League’s wild-card game.

The immediate response to the heavy rain that fell across Citizens Bank Park and wiped out Thursday's game is that Arrieta will start Game 1 in Friday’s doubleheader (4:05 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet) against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Cubs have positioned Kyle Hendricks for Game 2 and will go with Dan Haren on Saturday night, meaning the Sunday afternoon finale to this four-game series is listed as “to be determined” and could become a bullpen exercise.

The Cubs (80-58) will then go from the worst team in baseball to the playoff contender right in front of them. Jon Lester and Jason Hammel are scheduled to pitch in Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Arrieta would be up next on Wednesday at PNC Park.

The Cubs and Pirates appear to be on a collision course toward that wild-card game on Oct. 7, coming out of a division that should produce three playoff teams with 90-plus wins.

[MORE CUBS: Room on playoff roster for Javier Baez and Jorge Soler?]

Lester — who won two World Series rings with the Boston Red Sox and owns a 2.57 career ERA in the playoffs — endorsed the idea of Arrieta starting that win-or-else game: “The statement that I think he’s probably the best pitcher in baseball right now probably sums that one up.”

Arrieta — who has made 15 straight quality starts, sliced his ERA to 2.03 and put a no-hitter on his resume — will be going for his 19th win on Friday and making his Cy Young case.

“I know those are questions that are asked a lot — ERA, wins, innings, strikeouts,” Arrieta said. “But, honestly, those will work themselves out. What I worry about is the four days in between my start, what I can do to get better. How can I go into that start as prepared and as confident as possible?

“That’s my focus, because I know that on Day 5, when I go out there, I’ve covered all my bases. I know what my intentions are, and the results speak for themselves.

“At the end of the day, if I win 20 games, then that’s just a byproduct of the time I spend in between my starts.”

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

Report: Giants interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for manager opening

The Giants' search for a successor to now-retired manager Bruce Bochy has led them to the North Side.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic, the Giants are interested in Cubs first base coach Will Venable for their own managerial opening. San Francisco's interest is intriguing, as Venable went to high school just outside San Francisco in nearby San Rafael. His father — Max Venable — played for the Giants from 1979-83. 

Venable also interviewed for the Cubs' manager job earlier this month, telling the Chicago Sun-Times that his interest is in the "organization in general." He is one of several internal candidates for the Cubs' job, along with bench coach Mark Loretta and front office assistant David Ross.

The Cubs also interviewed Joe Girardi and are set to meet with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.

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Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

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USA TODAY

Former Cub Mark Prior likely to take over as Dodgers pitching coach in 2020

Mark Prior's big-league playing career unfortunately fizzled out due to recurring injury woes, but he's making a name for himself in the coaching realm.

With Dodgers current pitching coach Rick Honeycutt transitioning into a new role, Prior is expected to takeover the position starting next season.

Cubs fans know the story of Prior's playing career all too well. The Cubs drafted him second overall in the 2001, with Prior making his MLB debut just a season later. He went on to dominate in 2003, posting an 18-6 record, 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts in 30 starts, a season in which he made the All-Star Game and finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting.

However, Prior's season ended on a sour note, as he was on the mound during the Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. Prior exited the game with a 3-1 lead, but the Cubs surrendered seven more runs that inning, eventually falling to the Marlins 8-3 before losing Game 7 the next day. 

Prior struggled to stay healthy after 2003, eventually retiring in 2013 after multiple comeback attempts. While many blame his injury-riddled career on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, Prior does not. 

While we can only wonder what could've been with Prior to the pitcher, it's good to see him still making an impact in baseball in some fashion.

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