By: Glenn Brewer

Quick Thoughts Before the NLCS


The show down between the two young and upcoming teams should be a treat for all baseball fans. These two teams have been linked together since the winter meetings in December. Many baseball experts thought these teams matched up nicely for a trade this year. Here we are now with these teams certainly matched up, but this time for the National League pennant. The Mets young power pitchers will battle the Cubs young power hitters. The Mets did not win a game against the Cubs in seven regular season contests, which obviously stands out. However, the stakes are larger now and these two teams are different from the mid season matches. This is an even series that could go the distance, but first let’s look at some key variables for game one.



The forecast for this evening doesn’t include any rain, but the temperatures do expect to reach the high 30’s to low 40’s with some wind. Neither of these cities is spared the cold weather of fall and winter. Nevertheless, the weather will play a factor in this game and most likely this series. The temperature and wind chill will certainly make it uncomfortable for the hitters this evening. It will be that much more difficult to give one a ride over the fence. On the other hand, the pitchers will have some difficulty gripping the ball. Just ask Michael Pineda why he felt it was necessary to use pine tar illegally in the cold weather. Jon Lester has a ton of post- season experience, and pitching in the cold October weather of Boston will help is preparation.


Running Game.

Jon Lester has an interesting history when it comes to pick off attempts. At the beginning of this season, Lester had not attempted a pick off throw in two years. This wild stat is for good reason. Lester is not comfortable throwing over to first and it shows. His two pick off attempts this year have been less than accurate. In August against the Brewers, Lester threw a pick off attempt way into right field.

Knowing that, the Mets are not titled as a running team. Only a few players on the Mets roster are considered plus or even average runners. This will be an interesting chess match tonight. The Mets should not push themselves into unnecessary outs, but if Granderson and Lagares get on base, it would not be worth a shot to get a jump on Lester and get into scoring position.



With the combination of a great pitching matchup and cold weather, runs may be at a premium. The defense for both teams will be looked upon to limit any damage, while making the routine plays. Lester will have his personal catcher tonight in Ross. Ross handles the game well and is excellent at blocking balls in the dirt. The Cubs have two players that could be of concern defensively. Kyle Schwarber has been a monster at the plate since being called up. However, this is a player that has been thrown around a lot of positions strictly to get the bat in the lineup. He has played infield, outfield and catcher. None of these positions are considered his primary position. He will be in left field tonight for the Cubs. The shortstop this evening will be Javier Baez. The normal shortstop, Russell, is out for the series. Baez played shortstop for most of his minor league career until he was promoted to the Cubs in September, 2014. He was moved to second base because the Cubs felt Starling Castro was the better defensive player. Baez spent most of the year in Iowa with the Cubs AAA affiliate. With injury issues and lack of recent experience at shortstop, Castro would appear to be the better option.   Instead, Castro will be playing second base tonight.

The Mets have countered with a more defensive outfield. Lagares will man centerfield and have Cespedes in left. As usual, Granderson will be in right field. The natural defensive concerns will be Flores at shortstop and Cuddyer at first base. However, both players have been playing their respective positions for a large part of the season.


Players To Watch.

With all the big hitters in this Cubs lineup, it will be important for Harvey to not forget about the lead off hitter. Dexter Fowler is similar to Granderson in that he has the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark. Fowler has the capability of crushing a mistake pitch if the Mets pitchers have a mental lapse. Fowler plays a solid centerfield and can steal a bag if the situation calls for it.

Juan Lagares has had a challenging season for the Mets. Just last year he collected his first gold glove, and signed a multi year contract. Lagares had been banged up during the season, which affected his performance. He lost his starting job in July and has been a defensive replacement most of the second half. Lagares is a game changer in the outfield. At the plate, he possesses surprising power and plus plus speed. In the few opportunities he had in the NLDS, he took advantage. This could be a big coming out party for Lagares.


This will be the first time the Mets and Cubs have met in the post season. It is sure to be a great series, and possibly the first of many for years to come.

About Glenn Brewer

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