MLB Postseason 2018: The NL wild-card game in four key quotes
The Rockies and Cubs meet Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)in the National League wild-card game at Wrigley Field. The winner advances to the NL Division Series against the Brewers, beginning Thursday in Milwaukee.Both teams lost tiebreakers Monday but knew their season wasn’t over.Now it gets serious.Here’s a look at Tuesday night’s game in four https://www.athleticsedges.com/oakland-athletics/jose-canseco-jersey key quotes. »It’s just the consistent, hard contact has not been there, more than anything. I can’t give you a solid reason. We need to find it, quickly. » Cubs manager Joe Maddon ( via ESPN.com )Clearly, the Cubs’ offensive struggles have created a sense of urgency. Being in a potential one-and-done scenario wasn’t part of the season-long narrative.The Cubs led the NL in hitting at .258, but parlaying that into runs has been a problem most of the second half and particularly in September.Anthony Rizzo is hot, Javier Baezhas cooled off. Kris Bryant hasn’t been Kris Bryant. Complicating matters for Maddon is that left-hander Kyle Freeland will start for the Rockies, meaning Kyle Schwarber likely will sit as Bryant moves to left field and David Bote (.381 OBP vs. lefties)plays third. Will Jason Heyward sit against the lefty, too?Here’s what a potential Cubs lineup looks like with Heyward (per MLB.com):1.Daniel Murphy, 2B2.Ben Zobrist, RF3.Javier Baez, SS4.Anthony Rizzo, 1B5.Kris Bryant, LF6.Jason Heyward, CF7.Willson Contreras, C8.Jon Lester, P9.David Bote, 3B »Our guys will put it in the rearview for sure. The resiliency of this group has been awesome all year. People have seen this group bounce back, and I expect that. » Rockies manager Bud Black The ability to let Monday’s results go was a theme for both wild-card teams. It’s a tougher mental hurdle for the Cubs, who lost on their home field.Colorado finished the season on a hot streak but hit a wall Monday in Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler.The Rockies held hitle s for Santiago Casilla Jersey much of Monday’s tiebreaker finished second in the league in runs, andNolan ArenadoandTrevor Story were 1-2 in the NL in homers (they both homered Monday). Matt Holliday is expected to be in the lineup, replacing left-handed hitting Carlos Gonzalez against Cubs starter Jon Lester.That sets up a Rockies lineup that potentially looks like this:1.Charlie Blackmon, CF2.DJ LeMahieu, 2B3.David Dahl, RF4.Nolan Arenado, 3B5.Trevor Story, SS6.Ian Desmond, 1B7.Matt Holliday, LF8.Chris Iannetta, C9. Kyle Freeland, PI’m not going to change my mentality at all. From April to now, it’s going to be the same attitude and I’m going to approach things the same way. It doesn’t matter where you are, who you’re playing, what’s at stake. Freeland Freeland had a breakout season in 2018, going 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA over 202 1/3 innings, only the third time a qualifying Rockies pitcher has had a sub-3.00 ERA in the franchise’s 25 years.But he’ll be starting on three days’ rest for the first time as a profe sional, and though he won his last start Friday against the Nationals he allowed 11 hits over six innings, though limited the damage https://www.athleticsedges.com/oakland-athletics/dennis-eckersley-jersey to two earned runs.With Freeland working on short rest, the Rockies bullpen,dramatically improved over the past month, will be a factor.Since Sept. 1, Colorado relievers havethe third-best ERA in the NL (2.98), trailing only the Brewers (1.98) and Dodgers (2.88). »It’s Jonny Lester. He’s pitched in a few big games before. He has a resume. We’ll be leaning on him hard. Rizzo Lester 18-6 with a3.32 ERA this season will shoot for career postseason victory No. 10 (in his 22nd start), which wouldtie him with CC Sabathia for second most among active pitchers, behind only Justin Verlander’s11.Asthe Chicago Sun-Times notes, though,Lester hasn’t been perfect in big games. He took the lo s in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series. He lostboth of his starts in the 2015 playoffs. Before that, he pitched into the eighth inning but unraveled for the A’s in their 2014 AL wild-card game lo s to the Royals.There’s this, too: The Cubs are 6-2 in elimination games since the start of the 2015 postseason, and three of those victories were by departed Jake Arrieta. However, Lester is 6-1 in his last eight regular-season starts with a 1.71 ERA and needs to go deep because the Cubs’ bullpen has struggled of late.