Maddon made a decision to go with Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester for the opener two contests, respectively, while hoping that gives Arrieta the break he needs to be ready for next Tuesday's affair, if the series goes to a fourth game. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and lefty Jon Lester are at the top of the list.
Prediction: Virk is picking the Chicago Cubs, in five games, but admittedly somewhat out of hope, wishful thinking and a tiny bit of bias.
So while the Cubs might be the underdogs, even as defending world champions, they go in feeling good. Now that they are back for playoff action, the Central Division champions, who open their National League Division Series matchup at the East-conquering Washington Nationals' ubiquitous park on Friday, they are again the darlings of many fans of clutch performers but also potential cash cows for scammers. The Nationals Manager Dusty Baker stated to the Washington Post that, "We're excited to get them back... You are just taking what that game gives you". This is what you live for.
Manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday that Arrieta instead would throw a bullpen session and not face hitters on the field during the second and final workout at Wrigley Field before the team travels to Washington for the National League Division Series. But for game one, the likely Washington starter will be Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 2.52), who has been on a fantastic stretch the past couple months. "I'm not by any means mad. Experience equals knowing. I think that's really important to understand".
Arrieta, who strained his right hamstring on September 4 and missed his final regular-season start to rest up for the playoffs, threw a bullpen session Wednesday, and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said it went well.
"I concede that the human element, me included, the first half of the season, April and May, very hard based on what had happened previous year", said Maddon.
What pressure? Outfielder Jayson Werth tempered the declaration by the Cubs' Ben Zobrist that the pressure is on the Nationals in this best-of-five series. Honestly, I think he is pitching better right now than any time past year. Why?
The 33-year-old righty was outstanding during the regular season, finishing with a 2.51 ERA, 16 wins and a 0.902 WHIP, his third consecutive season posting a WHIP under 1.000.
He doesn't have a big arm like most playoff pitchers, but he doesn't make many mistakes, either.
As for the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and Rich Hill, yeah, that Cub of long ago, head the N.L.'s No. 1 staff. L.A. can be a little shaky getting to closer Kenley Jansen and can be shut down by good lefties, but 104 wins is 104 wins. He missed time in June and July with a finger injury but had a 2.19 ERA in 13 starts after the All-Star break.
In the National League, I think the Dodgers peaked earlier in the season and if the Diamondbacks - who have been led by former Tiger J.D. Martinez in the second half of the season - beat the Rockies in the wild card game, they will prove to be a tough test.
"He's not that guy that lights up the gun". I hate to say it, but I don't. "You talk to a lot of different pitching coaches, a lot of different managers, even some GMs that I've spoken with, he's their favorite, I think probably because of the style of his pitching".
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