NLDS: Cubs-Cardinals set Game 3 lineups behind Arrieta, Wacha


NLDS: Cubs-Cardinals set Game 3 lineups behind Arrieta, Wacha

Postseason baseball has officially returned to Wrigley Field.

The wind is blowing out to center field at "The Friendly Confines" Monday evening as the Cubs host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series. That, of course, means it could be a good day to be a hitter. 

That will obviously be a difficult task for the Cardinals, who go up against the hottest pitcher on the planet in Jake Arrieta. The Cubs, meanwhile, will try to follow the same gameplan they've adhered to as the winningest team in baseball since late July: Get on the board first.

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"I think normally, if you can score first, that does permit your group to relax a click," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "Now, the other day, we didn't in St. Louis and we won the game regardless. But you're always striving to get the first run and in a situation like with Jake pitching, if you get one or one-plus, obviously that makes the game a little bit more interesting on our side of things.

"The ability to score first always impacts the game normally in a positive way. Your winning percentage definitely goes up. It's just a better way to play the game from ahead as opposed to from behind."

Here is the way Maddon will line up behind Arrieta:

1. Dexter Fowler - CF
2. Jorge Soler - RF
3. Kris Bryant - 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
5. Starlin Castro - 2B
6. Kyle Schwarber - LF
7. Addison Russell - SS
8. Miguel Montero - C
9. Jake Arrieta - P

Here is Mike Matheny's lineup for the Cardinals behind starter Michael Wacha:

1. Matt Carpenter - 3B
2. Stephen Piscotty - 1B
3. Matt Holliday - LF
4. Jason Heyward - RF
5. Jhonny Peralta - SS
6. Tommy Pham - CF
7. Yadier Molina - C
8. Kolten Wong - 2B
9. Michael Wacha - P

Stay tuned to Comcast SportsNet Chicago for Cubs Pre- and Postgame Live with David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth.

Who Knew? Baseball oddities from Daniel Palka, Anthony Rizzo and more in Chicago baseball


Who Knew? Baseball oddities from Daniel Palka, Anthony Rizzo and more in Chicago baseball

After a two-week hiatus, “Who Knew?” is Back!  Time for our (usually) weekly journey through the improbable, inane & obscure of Chicago Baseball.

All notes are through Sunday’s games.

Extra Innings… Extra Runs

Last Monday the Cubs beat the Brewers 7-2… in 11 innings.

They have three wins this season in extra innings.  By 4, 5 and 6 runs!  Their four extra-inning losses this season are by 1, 1, 1 and 2 runs.

No other team has won an extra-inning game by at least 5 runs this season.  The Cubs have done it twice.

Inning Checklist

Anthony Rizzo homered in the 11th inning in that Monday Cubs win.  He has now homered in every inning from 1 to 13 in his career, joining Ron Santo & Sammy Sosa as the only players in Cubs history who can make that distinction.

One-Two Punch

Tuesday night, Yoán Moncada & Yolmer Sánchez led off the game with back-to-back home runs.

It was the fourth time in franchise history the Sox led a game off with consecutive homers.

Sánchez hit the second home run each of the last two times they did it (also September 2, 2017 after Alen Hanson)

It was the FIRST time in Major League history two players whose first name begins with the letter Y had hit consecutive home runs to begin a game.

What’s the Catch?

439 players have had at least 30 at-bats this season.

The best batting average of those players belongs to Kevan Smith (.441 but in only 34 at-bats)

In the Park

The most batters faced without allowing a home run this season is 149, by Dylan Covey. He allowed 20 Home Runs in 70.0 Innings in 2017.

Through the Draft

Friday night:

Javier Báez Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2011 (9th overall)  reached base 3 times (including two walks!)
Albert Almora Jr. Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2012 (6th overall)  reached base 3 times
Kris Bryant Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2013 (2nd overall) homered
Kyle Schwarber Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2014 (4th overall)    homered
Ian Happ Cubs’ 1st round pick in 2015 (9th overall)   homered

Double Time

José Abreu has 21 doubles since May 8th.

You could chop off Abreu’s first 31 games this season and those 21 doubles alone would be enough to tie Ozzie Albies & Nick Markakis for the FULL season National League lead this season

Palka Party

Daniel Palka’s 7 batted balls of at least 115 mph is the 4th highest total in MLB (according to the available data at

But look at how many more plate appearances this season the other guys have had!

  Batted balls of 115+mph  PA
Giancarlo Stanton    10 294
Joey Gallo   9 286
Aaron Judge     8 300
Daniel Palka     7 154


By the way, the rest of the White Sox team has a combined 3 batted balls of 115+ MPH this season.  Palka is clearly a special talent.

Cubs still owning second place in the NL All-Star vote standings


Cubs still owning second place in the NL All-Star vote standings

One Cubs player is within shouting distance of starting at the 2018 MLB All-Star game. But this time around, as compared to last week, the vote deficit is a bit larger.

MLB updated its second round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Catcher Willson Contreras trails Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. The margin was only 22,000 votes at this time last week.

And for other Cubs players such as Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and others, the margin is a little more substantial.

Rizzo is behind Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman by nearly 870,000 votes. Baez trails Braves second basemen Ozzie Albies by 148,000 votes.

Bryant trails Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado by 447,000 votes. At shortstop, Addison Russell is in third place, trailing the Dansby Swanson of the Braves and Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford.

In the outfield, Jason Heyward moved up to the seventh spot with 447,359 votes, dropping Kyle Schwarber to eighth with 442,471 votes, and Ben Zobrist ranks ninth with 434,943 votes.

There will be another All-Star ballot update for the NL next Monday, and voting ends on July 5 at 11 p.m. Central.