Not a single player taking the field Saturday will have the Cubs collapse of 1969 in their minds. In fact, they’re as likely to be thinking of the Cincinnati Reds playing the first professional game of baseball in 1869 (Reds won 45-9 over the Great Westerns) or, for that matter, the Battle of Orthez in 1569 ( in which Huguenot forces defeated the Royalists in French Navarre, by the way).
It’s ancient history.
These two teams are out to forge their own.
Jon Lester and Matt Harvey take the hill in Game One. Harvey threw just once against the Cubs this year. He struck out nine over seven innings and gave up just three hits. Thing is, the Cubs didn’t have playoff monster Kyle Schwarber called up yet and Addison Russell had been in the Bigs for less than a month while Kris Bryant had just crossed that threshold.
Lester will be facing a very different Mets lineup, too. David Wright, first and foremost, will play in Game One. He missed every single game against the Cubs this year. Yoenis Cespedes, meanwhile, played in two games against the Cubs–but back in June, while a member of the Tigers. Neither Travis d’Arnaud nor Michael Conforto played in a single game against the Cubs this year, either.
Joe Maddon isn’t kidding when he says this Mets team is a completely different one.
The battle both teams wage is one against the unfamiliar. And that’s one thing that can make the playoffs full of great moments.
Outfielder Quintin Berry was added to the Cubs NLCS roster to take the spot of Addison Russell. That comes as a bit of a surprise as it seemed the Cubs could use a bit more depth in the infield but, with Tommy La Stella and Chris Coghlan able to play second base, Joe Maddon must not hate the idea of Starlin Castro moving over to play shortstop in a pinch, if needed.