Cubs

Cubs set 25-man roster for NLDS against Giants

Cubs set 25-man roster for NLDS against Giants

After much speculation among fans and the Chicago media, the Cubs have set their 25-man roster for the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants that kicks off Friday night at Wrigley Field.

With the Cubs locking up a spot in the NLDS so early, the fun for fans and media turned to how the roster would be constructed.

In the end, the Cubs front office and Joe Maddon's coaching staff opted for 14 hitters and 11 pitchers, including three catchers and seven relievers.

[RELATED - The psychology of October: Cubs plan to keep it simple]

Jorge Soler was one of the guys in question with his health woes - he missed much of the last two weeks of the regular season with a side issue - but the Cubs ultimately deemed him healthy enough for a spot on the roster. 

Maddon called Soler "an offensive force" during the final homestand of the season and said other teams absolutely have to gameplan around him. 

The slugger proved that last postseason when he set a major-league record by reaching base his first nine trips to the plate against the St. Louis Cardinals and wound up posting a .474 batting average and 1.705 OPS in 7 playoff games.

The surprise is no Matt Szczur on the NLDS roster, who played in 106 games during the regular season, hitting .259 with a .712 OPS while playing all three outfield positions. In his place, Albert Almora Jr. will get his first taste of the postseason.

Almora figures to be a key defensive replacement in the outfield in the latter innings.

[SHOP: Gear up, Cubs fans!]

Here is the complete 25-man roster for the Cubs:

Catchers

David Ross
Miguel Montero
Willson Contreras

Infielders

Anthony Rizzo
Kris Bryant
Ben Zobrist
Addison Russell
Javy Baez
Tommy La Stella

Outfielders

Dexter Fowler
Jason Heyward
Jorge Soler
Albert Almora Jr.
Chris Coghlan

Starting pitchers

Jon Lester
Kyle Hendricks
Jake Arrieta
John Lackey

Bullpen

Aroldis Chapman
Hector Rondon
Pedro Strop
Justin Grimm
Travis Wood
Carl Edwards Jr.
Mike Montgomery

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 10th, 11th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 10th, 11th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.

Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th. 

Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.

The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.

Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: If Cubs somehow miss the playoffs will Joe Maddon's seat start heating up?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: If Cubs somehow miss the playoffs will Joe Maddon's seat start heating up?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Nick Friedell (ESPN.com) and Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times) join David Kaplan on the panel.

The guys discuss Welington Castillo’s 80-game PED suspension, the Cubs struggles and if Joe Maddon could be on the hot seat if the Cubs somehow miss the playoffs in 2018.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: