Cubs Return To Friendly Confines
Game Three Preview: Max Scherzer vs. Jose Quintana
The Chicago Cubs are back at Wrigley Field. In spite of the crushing loss in game 2 we all know the Cubs never quit. As we learned last season there will be bumps in the road. Splitting on the road in a short series is the mission and the defending champs accomplished that. Stealing a win in game 1 on a night when Stephen Strasburg had no-hit stuff was impressive. What was even more impressive was the game Kyle Hendricks pitched.
In game 2 Jon Lester proved once again that when it is October he shows up. He battled like he always does and gave the Cubs a chance to return home up 2–0. Until Carl Edward, Jr. hung a curve to Bryce Harper. All you can do is tip your cap and put the game in the past and bring it in game three. It is now a best of three series with 2 games at Wrigley Field. I like the Cubs chances.
Game three features a pitching match up between the reigning Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer against 28-year old lefty Jose Quintana who is making his first postseason appearance.
Jose Quintana has gone 7–3 since coming to the Cubs in July. On September 24th in Milwaukee, with the division still in question, he put together a stellar outing. A complete game, three-hit shutout helped propel the Cubs to the win and the division title. He walked one and struck out 10 in a 5–0 Cubs win. The Cubs have won 10 of the 14 games Quintana started. He’s given up 0 or 1 run in 4 of his starts.
Quintana knew when the Cubs traded for him in July he was being brought over to pitch in games like today's match up.
“It’s a huge game for me,” Quintana said. “I think it’s a huge opportunity, too. And for the first time, I’m really excited to get this opportunity, and I appreciate that.” — Jose Quintana
“My only concern is that he’s over-amped a little bit too much, too soon,” Maddon said. “But he’s wanted to be this guy. If he can get out there and get into that original rhythm, spotting it up, that kind of rhythm, he has a really good chance to pitch well as you saw him.” — Joe Maddon
Two things the Cubs have done effectively so far are they have kept Trea Turner off of the base paths and they have shut down Cubs killer Daniel Murphy. Harper and Zimmerman made their own case for that distinction however.
The Nationals as a team have slashed .275/.331/.456 against lefties. On the road versus both lefty and righty, their slash line is .245/.312/.428.
The Nationals have never faced Jose Quintana as a team.
With Max Scherzer, the big question is the status of his hamstring. Will he be 100% this afternoon? Everyone knows he is as good as they come. But we also saw the effects of this situation with Jake Arrieta. We don’t know how the two hammy tweaks compare but if certainly affected Jake.
“I’m feeling a lot better,” said Scherzer, who lasted just 3⅓ innings in his last start, against the Pirates on Sept. 30. “I feel strong. We’ve done everything we can to get this thing right. If I stay within my mechanics and throw the ball right, I fully intend to throw 100 pitches tomorrow.” — Max Scherzer
When looking at Cubs hitters against Scherzer Tommy LaStella jumps out. 3–6 with a double, triple, and home run and 2 strikeouts. Kris Bryant is 1–10. His one hit was a triple. Rizzo is 3–10 with a double and a home run and three strikeouts. Ben Zobrist has had the most at bats versus Scherzer. He is 5–25 with three home runs. He has walked four times and struck out twice.
Wrigley Field will be rocking this afternoon as October baseball once again returns to the North side.
Chicago Cubs Starting Lineup
- Jon Jay CF
2. Kris Bryant 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo 1B
4. Willson Contreras C
5. Ben Zobrist 2B
6. Kyle Schwarber LF
7. Jason Heyward RF
8. Addison Russell SS
9. Jose Quintana P
Doug Preszler is the type of person who can be a Cubs fan and an Iowa fan while living in South Dakota. He is a man who cares not for regional loyalty. He can be found on Twitter here, telling tales of the Dakotan Cubs fan’s existence.