Big League Stew

  • Kyle Hendricks' masterful start sends Cubs to World Series

    Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

    CHICAGO — Rick Sutcliffe didn’t do it. Neither did Greg Maddux, Mark Prior or Kerry Wood.

    When it comes to pitchers who have won a NLCS game to send the Chicago Cubs to the World Series, the list consists of exactly one member: Kyle Hendricks.

    While many expected his counterpart Clayton Kershaw to turn in the night’s defining start, the 26-year-old righthander was brilliant instead. Hendricks threw 7 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball in the Cubs’ 5-0 win in Saturday’s Game 6, allowing only two hits while striking out six and walking none.

    Contrast that to Kershaw’s night — five runs over five innings — and it’s not hard to see why the Cubs are advancing to face the Cleveland Indians in the World Series while the Dodgers are heading home.

    “That was the best pitching performance I’ve seen,” teammate Kris Bryant said after the game. “He pitched exactly the way he wanted. Keeping them off balance, soft contact. He’s certainly the unsung hero of this team.”

    Hendricks benefited from failing to fall behind in many counts. Also helping matters was the Cubs offense, which got to Kershaw early and often, scoring in four of the first five innings.

  • Did you cry when the Cubs won the pennant? You weren't alone

    Kevin Kaduk at Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

    CHICAGO — The thing that struck you were the tears.

    They started rolling as the ninth inning, the Fox cameras catching Cubs fans at Wrigley Field as decades of emotions welled in the corner of their eyes before bursting through. The moment many thought would never came claimed so many people. Not even Bill Murray was immune.

    After 71 years, the Chicago Cubs werefinally going to the World Series again.

    “This is as special as it gets in sports,” Anthony Rizzo said about 10 minutes after squeezing a double-play throw from Javier Baez to seal the 5-0 Game 6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I know my parents are crying. I know my girlfriend is crying. Everyone’s crying.”

    About 20 minutes later, Jon Lester’s mother found him on the field. She was sobbing.

    “C’mon ma,” Lester said as he hugged her tight. “Stop.”

    She didn’t. She couldn’t.

    But for for the fans, the tears were also for so many other things.

    That night finally arrives on Friday for Game 3.

    All that was left to do was cry.

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  • Cubs make sure Kyle Schwarber gets in on World Series celebration

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 6 hrs ago

    The celebration that erupted in the city after the Chicago Cubs clinched their first World Series appearance was just as epic as you might expect. It included crowded streets, celebrity sightings, a Speedo and plenty of Jägermeister to go around.

    Roughly 1,600 miles away, Kyle Schwarber was just finishing up his first game in the Arizona Fall League. Schwarber was expected to play a key role with the Cubs this season, but tore his ACL and LCL on April 7.

    We weren’t about to let Schwarber feel left out!

    — Spike ⚾️ (@SpikeLundberg) October 23, 2016

    After his first game back, Schwarber made it seem like he was ready to go.

    Schwarber says he has full confidence in his knee. If he were filling out Tuesday’s lineup, who would be DH? “No comment,” with a smile.

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  • Someone get Dorothy the Cubs fan a shot of Jägermeister right now

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 6 hrs ago

    For the first time in 71 years, the Chicago Cubs will play in a World Series game. Life-long fans have waited so long for this moment that many never envisioned it would actually come.

    One of those fans is a woman named Dorothy. Dorothy has had seats in the front row at Wrigley Field since 1984. As the Cubs kept inching closer to the National League pennant, she was shown numerous times by the FS1 television crew.

    This lady is my favorite person on planet earth

    — Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) October 23, 2016

    Following the game, Ken Rosenthal caught up with Dorothy to get her thoughts on the Cubs finally advancing to the World Series. The interview is absolutely worth your time.

    “I just love my Cubbies!”@Ken_Rosenthal talks with long-time @Cubs‘ fan Dorothy. #

    — FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 23, 2016

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  • Cubs pennant-clinching celebration includes celebrities and Speedos

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 7 hrs ago

    A celebration 71 years in the making was every bit as epic as we anticipated.

    The Chicago Cubs clinched their first trip to the World Series since 1945, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday night, and not surprisingly Wrigley Field and the surrounding neighborhoods turned into party central.

    The number of people crammed into those streets in astonishing.

    Meanwhile, the scenes inside the ballpark and inside the clubhouse would best be described as pandemonium. Fans, celebrities and Cubs personnel were part of the fray, with everyone from Bill Murray…

    … to musician Eddie Vedder…

    Eddie Vedder gets a beer shower

    — CJ Fogler (@cjzero) October 23, 2016

    … to Cubs legend Billy Williams ….

    Champagne Billy Williams is everything. ????

    … wearing their emotions on their sleeves.


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  • The Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since 1945

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    It’s finally happening. For the first time since 1945, the Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series.

    The Cubs wrapped up their historic berth by topping the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in Game 6 of the National League Championship on Saturday. They’ll move on to face the Cleveland Indians, who by virtue of the American League winning the All-Star game will host Game 1 on Tuesday night. The Cubs will be seeking their first championship since 1908.

    The night itself belongs to Chicago and Cubs fans all over the world. In a baseball sense though, it was Kyle Hendricks world, and we were privileged to be living in it. The 26-year-old right-hander, who emerged as a surprise Cy Young candidate this season, was nearly untouchable. In fact, he retired 22 straight batters after Andrew Toles greeted him with a single leading off the game. Hendricks ended up going 7 1/3 innings, allowing just two singles.

    For a little perspective, Chicago had eight plate appearances with runners in scoring position in just the first three innings. They had just two the entire game in Kershaw’s Game 2 start. Chicago tallied five runs against Kershaw over his five innings, and the Dodgers never recovered.

  • Clayton Kershaw struggles again in postseason during Game 6 loss

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    The “Clayton Kershaw can’t pitch in the postseason” narrative is alive and well. After coming up big during the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first two playoff series, Kershaw was saddled with the loss as the Chicago Cubs beat the Dodgers 5-0 in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.

    With the Dodgers facing elimination, the 28-year-old ace gave up five runs, four earned, on seven hits over five innings. He did not issue any walks and struck out four during the start.

    As with most of Kershaw’s postseason outings, his struggles weren’t entirely his fault. Kershaw did give up a double and run-scoring single to kick things off, but was hurt by crucial error on the next play.

    Left fielder Andrew Toles dropped a routine fly ball from Anthony Rizzo, putting runners on second and third with no outs. A Ben Zobrist sac fly extended the team’s lead to 2-0.

    After the contest, Toles said he lost the ball in the Wrigley Field lights.

    — Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) October 23, 2016

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  • Meet the guy who's sitting in Steve Bartman's seat for Game 6

    Kevin Kaduk at Big League Stew 11 hrs ago


    CHICAGO —  By the time the ticketholder for Aisle 4, Row 8, Seat 113 showed up to his seat at Wrigley Field on Saturday, there was a small media contingent waiting for him.

    Six reporters and one photographer, to be precise.

    The ticketholder gave his first name as Bryan but said he preferred not to give his last. He’s 38 and was there with his wife after securing a babysitter for their eight-month-old baby.

    Asked if he knew what he was in for, Bryan just laughed.

    “I was made aware, yes,” he said, also declining to how he acquired the tickets.

    Bryan’s seat, after all, has become somewhat of a ballpark attraction after Steve Bartman became infamous for getting tangled up with Moises Alou during the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. With Saturday’s contest being the first NLCS Game 6 since that night, there was a natural curiosity to see who’d be sitting there.

    Bryan said he had no plans to go after a souvenir, much less open the floodgates for the type of eight-running inning that the Florida Marlins used to slingshot their way past the Cubs in Games 6 and 7 of that 2003 World Series.

    “I’m just excited to be here,” Bryan said. “I’m excited for tonight.”


  • Does Kyle Schwarber's AFL assignment signal chance of World Series return?

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 16 hrs ago

    Here’s some news that will no doubt pique the interest of Chicago Cubs fans. It should also have the Cleveland Indians paying close attention.

    Injured slugger Kyle Schwarber, who hit a franchise-record five home runs during a remarkable postseason last season, is reportedly headed to the Arizona Fall League to continue his recovery from knee surgery.

    According to the Chicago Tribune, Schwarber has been added to the Mesa Solar Sox taxi squad and will serve as their designated hitter Saturday night. Being on the taxi squad means a player can only play Wednesday and Saturday. It would be fitting for a player that’s limited physically. However, there’s already strong speculation the Cubs are mainly looking to test Schwarber’s knee and perhaps knock some rust ahead of a potential return in the World Series.

    Yeah, it might sound like a long shot. But that’s better than no shot.

    Oh, and the medical reports sound good too.

    Theo after Schwarber's six-month checkup: “We got news that was beyond better than we could have expected by any reasonable standard."

  • Three reasons we shouldn't count out the Dodgers in the NLCS

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 18 hrs ago

    As the first pitch of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series nears, almost all of the focus is on the Chicago Cubs opportunity to make history, reverse curses and reach the franchise’s first World Series since 1945.

    We doubt the Los Angeles Dodgers are too upset about that.

    If any team has needed a 48-hour break to clear its mind and perhaps even allow the pressure to shift to the other side, it’s this Dodgers squad. They were dismantled physically, mentally and strategically during lopsided losses in Games 4 and 5. They were frustrated by their own struggles. They were rattled by some calls they didn’t agree with. Mostly, though, they were beaten down by a dominant and determined team on a mission.

    That mission won’t change on Saturday night, but that doesn’t mean the Dodgers are a lost cause either. As they have shown many times throughout the season, when injuries ravaged their roster, they’re a resilient team. As long as they’re alive, they have a fighting chance.

    Here, we’ll look at the three biggest reasons they’re capable of flipping the scripts and breaking Cubs fans hearts all over again.

    Ignore the odds The odds don’t favor the Dodgers this weekend.

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