So. We meet again, Rich Hill.
When we last saw you, you had what Umbra once described as that “I saw terrible things in the war” look on your face. That was back in 2008, before you kicked around the league for damn near a decade. Before Mike Quade, before Dale Sveum, before the Ricketts and Theo and Jed. Before these Cubs.
To be honest, I ever expected to see you again. In fact, when your name started popping up in Boston, I didn’t believe they were talking about YOU until I saw photographic proof. And yet. Here we are.
You’ve played for nine teams since last we met. NINE TEAMS. I give you credit for hanging in there, that’s for sure. Best of luck tonight, Rich. Here’s to seeing that haunted look in your eyes one last time.
I hate the phrase “must win” game. And anyway, this isn’t a must-win for the Cubs. It’s more of a “hey, you guys had better win or, while we won’t panic, we can see panic from here.” Of course, Joe Maddon has been getting killed all day on social media. Why won’t Joe change the lineup? Why isn’t Joe doing something about the offense? Why is Joe leaving Jason Heyward in the lineup?
Well, it’s pretty simple. This team won 103 games. You kinda have to dance with who brung ya. But Joe’s no dummy. And after insisting for most of the last 24 hours that he wouldn’t change much, Joe did tinker with the lineup, which looks like this:
Expect to see Heyward in as a late defensive replacement if the game is close, but I have no problem with him sitting tonight. He’s matched up terribly with Dodgers’ pitching so far, and, as Joe said today, he’s only got five more games to make this thing work.
The good news is that Arrieta has pitched well against the Dodgers the last two seasons (he’s got a streak of something like 16 consecutive scoreless innings against them going), and he’s very comfortable in Dodger Stadium. The Cubs going against Rich Hill is never something I thought would happen in the NLCS, but let’s all kick back, relax, and stra . . enjoy this ride we call baseball.
Before I go tonight, I have a special request. You can read all about it here. Suffice it to say it’s for a great cause, and anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated. Not just to help ensure some good baseball juju for the Cubs, but also because some people are greatly in need. At the very least, please share and RT and help get the word out!
Game 3. 7:08 CT on FS1. Go Cubs!