Powell at the Park: NLCS Game 6 Notebook

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A Chicago Bears fan shows support for the Chicago Cubs during the second half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Soldier Field on October 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Jaguars defeated the Bears 17-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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By Kevin Powell

WRIGLEY FIELD—Among the many storylines heading into Game 6 was that lefty slugger Kyle Schwaber could be available for the World Series, if the Cubs make it there. Manager Joe Maddon confirmed the news, saying “there’s a chance.” Schwarber will play in an Arizona Fall League game Saturday night for the first time since injuring his knee in April.

Get more on Schwarber here

The big storyline, of course, is the Cubs chance of winning the NL Pennant for the first time since 1945. Wrigley will be rocking and if they win, pure pandemonium will erupt throughout the city. Fasten your seatbelts. “It’s a fan base that’s been waiting for a while,” Maddon said ahead of Game 6. “We’re definitely on the verge of doing something wonderful, and they’re absolutely engaged and involved”

His advice to Cubs nation: “Let’s just do this one thing at a time.”

The Ace vs. The Professor

If the Cubs want to clinch tonight, they’ll have to do it against the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw.  The lefty was dominant in Game 2 here at Wrigley pitching seven innings of two-hit shutout-ball. The Cubs turn to Kyle Hendricks who won the ERA crown this season. He pitched in to the sixth in the Game 2 loss to LA, giving up two runs.

The Cubs have one more hump to get over, and it’s a big one with the three-time Cy Young winner on the mound.

THE LINEUP

No Jason Heyward in tonight’s lineup, as his season long slump has bled into the playoffs. The right fielder has just two hits in 27 at-bats, and it almost feels like an automatic out when he’s at the plate. Maddon elects to go with Albert Almora Jr. instead.

“I’m certain that he’s not very happy with the whole thing, I wouldn’t be if I was him either,” Maddon said of Heyward. “Albert gives us another opportunity there offensively while not hurting ourselves on defense.”

It’s the right move, adding another righty bat against Kershaw.

 

COVERAGE

Check wgnradio.com for more updates, including our live blog throughout the game. TRUE BLUE:  PLAYOFFS PLUS, our Cubs postgame show starts at 10p and runs til midnight. We’ll give you updates and live reaction from the Cubs clubhouse.

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

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