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Mets, Cubs aim to clinch as NL Division Series continue

Oct 13, 2015, 1:55 PM EDT

USA Today


Series: Cubs lead 2-1
 Wrigley Field, Chicago
Gametime: 4:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Cloudy, 59 degrees, wind 12 mph
Starting pitchers: STL RHP John Lackey (13-10, 2.77 ERA) / CHC RHP Jason Hammel (10-7, 3.74ERA)

After taking care of business in Game 3, the Chicago Cubs now have a chance to clinch an NL Championship Series berth in front of their home crowd at Wrigley Field. But in order to do so, they’ll have to beat John Lackey, who carved them up for 7 1/3 shutout innings in Game 1. Lackey now sports a 2.90 ERA in 22 career playoff appearances.

Pitching for the Cubs will be right-hander Jason Hammel, who has not been as lucky in the postseason. He has four playoff outings and a 4.80 ERA in those games. Hammel has not pitched yet this postseason, but did beat the Cardinals in his last matchup with them on Sept. 8 when he allowed three runs in six innings.


Series: Mets lead 2-1
 Citi Field, New York
Gametime: 8:00 p.m.
Radio: ESPN Radio
Weather: Chance of rain, 67 degrees, wind 7 mph
Starting pitchers: LAD LHP Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.13 ERA) / NYM LHP Steven Matz (4-0, 2.27 ERA)

Like the Cubs, the New York Mets have an opportunity to clinch a spot in the NLCS at home. While Lackey will be tough to beat for the Cubs, they should be thankful they don’t have the challenge the Mets are facing.

Clayton Kershaw will try and keep the Dodgers’ season alive with rookie Steven Matz as his counterpart. Kershaw has a rocky playoff history with a 4.99 ERA in 12 career outings. But he was good in Game 1 against the Mets and is never an easy foe.

Matz will have his work cut out for him in his first playoff game. He only made six appearances in 2015, his first MLB season, due to injury. That’s not a lot of experience to pull from, but he will have a home crowd working in his favor.

  1. Section 222 - Oct 13, 2015 at 2:57 PM

    Both the Cards and the Dodgers send their Game 1 starters on short rest. Both the Mets and the Cubs save theirs for Game 5, and send out a 4th starter. Makes sense because it’s do or die for the Cards and Dodgers. If the Cards do manage to win, who do they start in Game #5? Not Garcia, that’s for sure. Lance Lynn? Cubs will have the advantage, while the Dodgers with Greinke will be evenly matched with DeGrom on the bump for the Mets.

    I wonder what the Nats would have done. Scherzer on short rest or Gio/Ross? MW went with Gio in 2014 in a similar situation. Would he have changed his stripes this year? Seems doubtful. (“That’s how we’ve always done it.”) Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

    • alexva6 - Oct 13, 2015 at 3:51 PM

      and in another way, it’s fortunate that we’ll never know

  2. Doc - Oct 13, 2015 at 3:35 PM

    This was supposed to be the Nats’ time of year, so I can’t really get excited about the current NL contenders.

    I’ve put all my rooting energy into the ball smacking Jays, Canada’s other team!

    • Section 222 - Oct 13, 2015 at 4:09 PM

      I’m with the ‘Stros, this year’s Royals.

      • alexva6 - Oct 13, 2015 at 4:15 PM

        maybe, but last year’s Royals never blew a 4-run lead in the eighth

      • Section 222 - Oct 13, 2015 at 6:48 PM

        True, but they were playing the O’s in the ALCS. 🙂 I admit that the ‘Stros don’t have the Royals’ 2014 bullpen. Neither the the Royals for that matter.

    • natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2015 at 4:16 PM

      I’m on team Cubby due to Chicago connections.

      In the AL, I’m loosely pulling for the Jays and the Astros. At one point (must have been 2012 or 2014, but I can’t recall which) I had a nice chat on the Metro with a gal who was a long-time Astros fan. Told her how I’d been rooting for them in 2005, and she allowed as how she’d root for the Nats (in whichever season that was – a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but I digress). She recalled that year fondly while she was enduring one of their, ahem, leaner years. I could relate, having experience rooting for a team in, eh, leaner years as well as better years. Anyway, I hope she is out there somewhere enjoying the [heck] out of this run of theirs.

  3. Section 222 - Oct 13, 2015 at 6:49 PM

    Great one hope throw by Soler. Somewhere, if he’s watching, JoeSeamhead is smiling.

    • Section 222 - Oct 13, 2015 at 6:50 PM

      That would be one hop, of course.

      • ArVAFan - Oct 13, 2015 at 7:00 PM

        It’s the Cubs. Hope fits, too.

    • Joe Seamhead - Oct 13, 2015 at 8:13 PM


    • Joe Seamhead - Oct 13, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      Deuces, I am still astounded that I was accused of making stuff up when I said that outfielders are trained, and practice, to make one hop throws to the plate. Then later I was told with a condensing tone that it was fine for amateur travel teams, but not for ML players. Sorry if I offend anyone’s senses, but it is the most high percentage play to get the runner at the plate, in most situations, not to mention you reduce other runners from advancing, and reduce the chances of getting your catcher hurt. It just is, and it is,at all levels of baseball,though neither throw is worth a plug nickel if your catcher can’t catch the ball.

      • Joe Seamhead - Oct 14, 2015 at 2:15 PM

        Some folks thought that throw and tag was the key play of the game. For anyone that missed Soler’s perfect throw:

  4. Joe Seamhead - Oct 13, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    I got one right:

    Joe Seamhead – May 16, 2015 at 7:18 PM
    The Cubs have a great infield, with a seemingly unending supply of backups throughout their whole minor league system. But they also now have a real good manager, decent hitting, and a good pitching staff.. Many thought this past off season that though vastly improved, they were still probably a year away. I’m not so sure that’s necessarily true. They may be the dark horse of the NL.

    • natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2015 at 8:30 PM


    • ArVAFan - Oct 13, 2015 at 11:06 PM

      Good call!

      I don’t mind rooting for the Cubs: their fans have always been nice when I’ve been to Wrigley. And they have been waiting/hoping/praying for a WS for longer than Washington. So there’s that.

  5. natsfan1a - Oct 13, 2015 at 8:30 PM

    Nice win, Cubbies. Very nice. Wrigleyville must be pretty crazy right about now. My old Chicago-now-Denver buddy and and I have been texting up a storm the past few days. I gotta go ice my fingers or something.

  6. breakbad1 - Oct 13, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    For the life of me I cannot understand how any sentient being would advocate for bringing Cal Ripken in to be our manager in Washington. Listen to this man for 5 minutes in any broadcast. Watch his droning and pathetic speech when he broke Gehrig’s record. This man is a true moron.

    • NatsNut - Oct 14, 2015 at 6:09 AM

      Yes. He’s TERRIBLE. He sounds like a complete rock.

      • Section 222 - Oct 14, 2015 at 12:27 PM

        +1,000 #justsaynotoCal

      • natsfan1a - Oct 14, 2015 at 2:02 PM

        On the bright side, maybe he’ll get benched when we’re down to only four teams playing in two series. 🙂





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