Powell at the Park: NLDS Game 3 Notebook

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Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward speaks with the media at AT&T Park in San Francisco. (WGN Radio/Kevin Powell)

By Kevin Powell

SAN FRANCISCO — There really is no reason for the Cubs to change anything. Don’t mess with routine. Don’t mess with the schedule. Everything in the regular season and two games into the playoffs has gone exactly according to plan. Joe Maddon did say he may tinker the lineup for game 3, but that really wouldn’t be changing from the norm considering how much the manager has played with the lineup all season. “I definitely have strong opinions about (Monday), and I have been talking to different folks,” Maddon said at AT&T Park after their work out on Sunday. “So you may see something altered.”


If you love competition and aren’t even baseball fan, you’ll still appreciate the pitching matchup Monday night. It’s Jake Arrieta, the reigning CY Young winner, against Madison Bumgarner who hasn’t allowed a postseason run in 23 innings. Both guys are intense competitors. “He is tough, but at the same time we have got a pretty potent offense that he has to neutralize,” Arrieta said Sunday. “So, it’s going to be a good one.”

And here’s Bumgarner on Arrieta: “He’s one of the best. There’s no doubt about that. The last couple years for sure. It’s just he’s got really good stuff, number one. His command’s pretty good. I know at times he’s had rough one with that, but, I mean, he’s good. His stuff’s what stands out about everything else.”


In game 2 at Wrigley Saturday night we saw starter Kyle Hendricks drive in a couple of runs, and then Travis Wood became just the second relief pitcher ever to homer in a postseason game. Impressive. Now, two of the best pitchers facing Monday are also two of the best hitting pitchers in all of baseball.

Bumgarner is such a good hitter, he actually batted himself in a game at an American League ballpark, rather than use the designated hitter. “The pitchers are probably not going to be on counted on just to bunt somebody over (Monday),” Maddon said.

To give you an idea of the kind of power Bumgarner has, he hit multiple batting practice balls off the video board in left at Wrigley before game 2. Oh, he also put one on Waveland.

“Well, he’s one of the guys that you treat like a typical position player,” Arrieta added. And Bumgarner’s thoughts on the Cubs pitching staff’s hitting ability: “The last thing you want to do is give up a hit to another pitcher…I know they can swing the bat a little bit.”

Jason Heyward thinks its ‘fun’ to have quality hitting pitchers. “It’s almost like having an American League type game here, where those guys you gotta make pitches,” the Cubs right fielder said after taking batting practice.

Game Coverage

I’ll be joining Steve Cochran Monday morning at 9:10a CT, and will be on at my usual time, 3-7p, during The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes. Continue to check wgnradio.com for more updates. And we’ll our postseason special TRUE BLUE:  BASEBALL PLAYOFFS POST-GAME airing at 11p on 720AM, wgnradio.com and your WGN Radio app.

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720