Cueto, Giants Set for Game 1 of NLDS Against Lester, Cubs

The Giants can take their 'Even Year Magic#039 and shove

The deal with the Orioles became one of the defining moments that helped make the Cubs one of the best teams in the majors the past two years, bringing them 2015 NL Cy Young Award victor Jake Arrieta and reliever Pedro Strop. Who do you think will win the best-of-five series?

This piece, written by BP Wrigleyville’s Cat Garcia, forms part of our in-house coverage of the Cubs in the playoffs, “Second City October”. The MLB Playoff Odds for the game have the Cubs listed as a huge favorite to pick up the win. This is a franchise that has been hexed with nearly every curse imaginable for the past 108 years. After Arrieta pitches Game 3, John Lackey will get Game 4 if necessary. Zobrist has 148 plate appearances in the playoffs in his career and two trips to the World Series-winning it past year with the Kansas City Royals. Additionally, Wild Card teams have won the World Series. “But really not anxious about that too much”.

Take, for example, the St. Louis Cardinals. We saw that Wednesday night in the Wildcard game, plus they’ve won three of the last six World Series. “They’re going to love it”. That sent Lester into free agency with the Cubs, Giants and Red Sox in pursuit.

Once again, the Giants are rolling at the right time, and seem to be picking up right where they left off in 2014. Their most important veteran is pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who will be trying to prove that he can step up in the postseason after several let-downs. After a terrific first half, the Giants staggered through the season following the All-Star break and barely got to the playoffs.

The Giants ranked 19th in Major League Baseball in runs scored, while the Cubbies were third. The Cubs bullpen ranks 14th in FIP at 3.87, while the Giants rank 11th at 3.78.

Fair or not, a Cubs loss in this series will be seen as a massive disappointment. San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto listens to a question during a news conference Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Chicago.

This year, Ben Zobrist quietly had his best season since 2012. It’s two good managers, also. Meanwhile, the Cubs haven’t really played a meaningful game since May. They’re facing a team that is playing better than it has in months. Still, it’s a dumb rule.

Cueto missed a turn on September 25 due to a left groin strain but returned to strike out 11 and allow two runs in a seven innings during a win over the Colorado Rockies on September 29. The Cubs relief crew holds the 3rd worst HR/FB rate in baseball, at 14.2 percent. That despite all the success the North Siders have had this awesome season, the team will somehow ultimately be undone by the crushing weight of its own history of misfortune and another team’s lucky streak?

The Cubs are well rested coming into this series. The Cubs get on base and they slug. Joe Maddon has given his position players days off too. They are anxiously anticipating a World Series champagne celebration in a few weeks. “I think speaking for Dusty, myself, what it means to the game of baseball, to society”.

But there’s no such thing as curses or magic.

“I want to be your catcher”, Posey said.

Along with monitoring possible terroist actions, Chicago police will be on the lookout for “creepy clowns” in the crowds, the Sun-Times reports.

And yet … getting Bumgarner once just might be the difference.

The Cubs will win the World Series because.I said so.