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National League Wild Card Game presented by Hankook Tire

25-man rosters for postseason clubs

MLB.com

Below are the projected 25-man rosters for each postseason team's next round. Teams can adjust their roster for each round, and we will update these as they become official.

NLDS: ATL-LAD

Below are the projected 25-man rosters for each postseason team's next round. Teams can adjust their roster for each round, and we will update these as they become official.

NLDS: ATL-LAD

BRAVES ROSTER (OFFICIAL)
Game 2 starting lineup
1. Ronald Acuna Jr., LF
2. Johan Camargo, 3B
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Kurt Suzuki, C
6. Ozzie Albies, 2B
7. Ender Inciarte, CF
8. Charlie Culberson, SS

Bench
Tyler Flowers, C
Lucas Duda, 1B
Lane Adams, OF
Ryan Flaherty, INF
Rene Rivera, C

Starting pitchers
Mike Foltynewicz, RHP
Anibal Sanchez, RHP
Kevin Gausman, RHP
Julio Teheran, RHP

Bullpen
Arodys Vizcaino, RHP/CL
A.J. Minter, LHP
• Chad Sobotka, RHP
Jonny Venters, LHP
Sean Newcomb, LHP
Max Fried, LHP
Touki Toussaint, RHP
Brad Brach, RHP

Notes: Dansby Swanson (torn ligament in his left hand) isn't yet ready to return, but he's said he's hopeful he'll be able to play if the Braves make it past the NLDS. Fried and Toussaint provide two long relief options, but Fried may be used as a matchup/middle reliever. The Braves have elected to carry both Teheran and Newcomb on the roster. Teheran appears to be the likelier candidate to be the fourth starter, especially considering the Dodgers' late-season improvement against left-handed pitching. Newcomb could work out of the bullpen. Atlanta carrying a third catcher allows Flowers or Suzuki to be a right-handed pinch-hitting option.

DODGERS ROSTER (OFFICIAL)
Game 2 starting lineup
1. Joc Pederson, LF
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. Max Muncy, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Yasiel Puig, RF
6. Cody Bellinger, CF
7. Enrique Hernandez, 2B
8. Yasmani Grandal, C

Bench
Chris Taylor, UTIL
David Freese, IF
Austin Barnes, C/IF
Matt Kemp, OF
Brian Dozier, IF

Starting pitchers
Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
Clayton Kershaw, LHP
Walker Buehler, RHP
Rich Hill, LHP

Bullpen
Kenley Jansen, RHP/CL
Kenta Maeda, RHP
Scott Alexander, LHP
Alex Wood, LHP
Pedro Baez, RHP
• Caleb Ferguson, LHP
Ryan Madson, RHP
Dylan Floro, RHP

Notes: The Dodgers will open the NLDS with a pair of left-handers against the Braves, as Ryu will start Game 1 on Thursday at Dodger Stadium, and Kershaw will start Game 2. With the luxury of a 40-man roster in September, the platoon lineup for the Dodgers against a left-handed starter has included Freese at first base, Taylor in left field, Kemp in right field and Dozier at second base. Among those on the bubble are Chase Utley, who will retire after the season.

NLDS: COL-MIL

ROCKIES ROSTER (OFFICIAL)
Game 2 starting lineup
1. Charlie Blackmon, CF
2. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
4. Carlos Gonzalez, RF
5. Trevor Story, SS
6. Gerardo Parra, LF
7. Ian Desmond, 1B
8. Chris Iannetta, C

Bench
Matt Holliday, LF
• Garrett Hampson, INF
Ryan McMahon, INF
• Tony Wolters, C
David Dahl, OF

Starting Pitchers
• Antonio Senzatela, RHP
• Tyler Anderson, LHP
• German Marquez, RHP
• Kyle Freeland, LHP

Bullpen
Wade Davis, RHP/CL
Adam Ottavino, RHP
Scott Oberg, RHP
Seunghwan Oh, RHP
Chris Rusin, LHP
Harrison Musgrave, LHP
Chad Bettis, RHP
• DJ Johnson, RHP

Notes: Senzatela will likely start Game 1 against the Brewers at Miller Park on Thursday, being ready to go on regular rest. The right-hander has only faced the Brewers once in his career, going five scoreless innings in a 2-1 Rockies victory on April 6, 2017. Over his final three starts of the regular season, Senzatela posted a 1.62 ERA over 16 2/3 innings. As far as the roster goes, the Rockies will not carry three catchers in the NLDS, with Drew Butera left off the roster. Instead, they'll take an extra reliever in the 29-year-old rookie Johnson, who's made just seven big league appearances, all since September. That also means Jon Gray was left off the roster.

BREWERS ROSTER (OFFICIAL)
Game 2 starting lineup
1. Lorenzo Cain, CF
2. Christian Yelich, RF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Jesus Aguilar, 1B
5. Mike Moustakas, 3B
6. Hernan Perez, SS
7. Travis Shaw, 2B
8. Erik Kratz, C

Bench
Curtis Granderson, OF
Jonathan Schoop, IF
Orlando Arcia, IF
Manny Pina, C
Keon Broxton, OF
Domingo Santana, OF

Starting pitchers
Wade Miley, LHP
Gio Gonzalez, LHP
Jhoulys Chacin, RHP

Bullpen
Jeremy Jeffress, RHP/CL
Josh Hader, LHP
Corey Knebel, RHP
Joakim Soria, RHP
• Corbin Burnes, RHP
Brandon Woodruff, RHP
Junior Guerra, RHP
Freddy Peralta, RHP

Notes: The Brewers' rotation is different than most top-seeded teams, since it doesn't feature an ace. So they could opt to carry three starters and use a multi-inning arm that pitched out of the bullpen down the stretch, like Woodruff or Freddy Peralta or Junior Guerra, in a game. All of those players were starting pitchers for the bulk of this season. There's also Chase Anderson, who was the Opening Day starter, but he was removed from the rotation with one week to go.

Postseason schedule

ALDS: CLE-HOU

INDIANS ROSTER (OFFICIAL)
Game 2 starting lineup
1. Francisco Lindor, SS
2. Michael Brantley, LF
3. Jose Ramirez, 2B
4. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
5. Josh Donaldson, 3B
6. Yonder Alonso, 1B
7. Melky Cabrera, RF
8. Yan Gomes, C
9. Jason Kipnis, CF

Bench
Roberto Perez, C
Rajai Davis, OF
Greg Allen, OF
Yandy Diaz, UTIL
Brandon Guyer, OF

Starting pitchers
Corey Kluber, RHP
Carlos Carrasco, RHP
Mike Clevinger, RHP

Bullpen
Andrew Miller, LHP
Cody Allen, RHP
Brad Hand, LHP
Oliver Perez, LHP
Trevor Bauer, RHP
• Shane Bieber, RHP
Adam Cimber, RHP
Dan Otero, RHP

Notes: Bauer and Bieber will be available out of the bullpen in the early games. If the series reaches Game 4, one of the right-handers will start, depending on their usage in Games 1-3. Guyer (right shoulder) and Gomes (laceration on right thumb) have both been cleared for the ALDS. The last bench job went to Davis for his speed over utility man Erik Gonzalez. 

ASTROS ROSTER (OFFICIAL)
Game 2 starting lineup
1. George Springer, CF
2. Jose Altuve, 2B
3. Alex Bregman, 3B
4. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
5. Marwin Gonzalez, LF
6. Carlos Correa, SS
7. Tyler White, DH
8. Josh Reddick, RF
9. Martin Maldonado, C

Bench
Evan Gattis, DH
Brian McCann, C
Tony Kemp, OF
Jake Marisnick, OF
• Myles Straw, OF

Starting pitchers
Justin Verlander, RHP
Gerrit Cole, RHP
Dallas Keuchel, LHP
Charlie Morton, RHP

Bullpen
Roberto Osuna, RHP/CL
Ryan Pressly, RHP
Lance McCullers Jr., RHP
Collin McHugh, RHP
Will Harris, RHP
• Josh James, RHP
Tony Sipp, LHP

Notes: The Astros decided to carry the speedy outfielder Straw as a pinch-runner instead of Max Stassi as a third catcher. There were some tough bullpen decisions, too, with former All-Star Chris Devenski squeezed out. The hard-throwing rookie James provides length and a 100-mph fastball that makes him enticing.

ALDS: NYY-BOS

YANKEES ROSTER (OFFICIAL)
Game 1 starting lineup
1. Andrew McCutchen, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Aaron Hicks, CF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Luke Voit, 1B
6. Didi Gregorius, SS
7. Miguel Andujar, 3B
8. Gary Sanchez, C
9. Gleyber Torres, 2B

Bench
Austin Romine, C
Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
Neil Walker, IF
Brett Gardner, OF

Starting Pitchers
Luis Severino, RHP
Masahiro Tanaka, RHP
J.A. Happ, LHP
CC Sabathia, LHP

Bullpen
Lance Lynn, RHP
Aroldis Chapman, LHP/CL
Dellin Betances, RHP
Zach Britton, LHP
David Robertson, RHP
Chad Green, RHP
Stephen Tarpley, LHP
Jonathan Holder, RHP

Notes: Sabathia wasn't on the Yankees' Wild Card Game roster, but he's been added for the ALDS against Boston. The same goes for Tarpley in the bullpen, who gives the Yankees an additional left-handed relief option. Not on the ALDS roster: Tyler Wade (a pinch-running/defensive option) and Kyle Higashioka (third catcher), who were both carried for the Wild Card Game. Instead, the Yankees have opted for an extra pitcher, so Holder keep his spot. Greg Bird is again an odd man out, as he was for the Wild Card Game.

RED SOX ROSTER (OFFICIAL)
Game 1 starting lineup
1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. Steve Pearce, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Xander Bogaerts, SS
6. Eduardo Nunez, 3B
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Sandy Leon, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Bench
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Rafael Devers, 3B
Brock Holt, INF-OF
Blake Swihart, C-UTILITY
Christian Vazquez, C

Starting pitchers
Chris Sale, LHP
David Price, LHP
Rick Porcello, RHP
Nathan Eovaldi, RHP

Bullpen
Craig Kimbrel, RHP/CL
Matt Barnes, RHP
Ryan Brasier, RHP
Heath Hembree, RHP
Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP
Brandon Workman, RHP
Joe Kelly, RHP

Notes: The Red Sox made a roster substitution Saturday afternoon, swapping Hembree in for right-hander Steven Wright, who was diagnosed with inflammation and loose body in his left knee. Wright is now ineligible for the remainder of the ALDS and the ALCS, should Boston advance. Manager Alex Cora could mix Pearce in at first base against lefties, and Nunez and Holt could see some time at third in place of the inconsistent Devers. Kelly and Workman got the last two bullpen spots, with Bobby Poyner not making the roster.

Epstein says Maddon will return to Cubs in '19

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday that Joe Maddon's job status hasn't changed and called a report that there was friction between the two "not accurate."

"Joe's status remains unchanged," Epstein said during an end-of-the-season wrapup with the media at Wrigley Field. "He's the manager of this team. I'm very happy about that."

CHICAGO -- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday that Joe Maddon's job status hasn't changed and called a report that there was friction between the two "not accurate."

"Joe's status remains unchanged," Epstein said during an end-of-the-season wrapup with the media at Wrigley Field. "He's the manager of this team. I'm very happy about that."

A report Wednesday by The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal said "talk has persisted within the industry" for months now that Maddon and Epstein "are not always on the same page." Rosenthal noted successful clubs have replaced managers -- like the Yankees, who replaced Joe Girardi after making it to Game 7 of last year's ALCS -- in favor of younger candidates.

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

"I didn't read the whole thing, but I saw in there that there were some claims that [Maddon] and I had some personal friction -- not true at all," Epstein said on Wednesday. "We have a terrific working relationship. We don't agree all the time about baseball issues and that's the way it should be. I don't want a 'yes man' as the manager and I don't want a 'yes man' relationship the other way, either.

"I think there should be discord and debate and healthy, trusting relationships where you can work together to make the organization better, and that's the way it is," Epstein said.

The Cubs have reached 90 wins for four consecutive seasons under Maddon and won the World Series in 2016, ending a 108-year championship drought.

"I enjoy having Joe around personally and I like having him as the manager of this club, and I really like having the most wins in baseball the last four years," Epstein said. "I don't like going home the first day of October. That's not on Joe. That's not. I look forward to him coming back next year with some unfinished business, as we all have in this organization."

Maddon has one year remaining on his contract and Epstein said there's been no discussion regarding an extension.

"We just finished playing, so I have not turned to that yet," Epstein said. "I certainly haven't talked to Joe about it yet. I think we have to think about that part of it internally first and then talk about it with Joe."

The Cubs players backed Maddon after Tuesday's 2-1, 13-inning loss in the National League Wild Card Game to the Rockies. Asked to describe the Cubs' season in one word, Maddon chose "gritty."

"You're not going to hear me make excuses -- and this is not an excuse -- but we have had a lot of things go awry this year and in spite of that, have still tied for the most wins in the National League in a 162-game season," Maddon said. "That speaks to the quality of the player in the room. Even though maybe the numbers offensively didn't match up, these guys put up 95 wins. That speaks to the heart of the player, that speaks to the attitude of the group.

"We lost some tough games in the postseason, in this postseason right now, or getting to the postseason, but I think 'grit' is a wonderful word that describes this group, and I've also talked about the heart," Maddon said. "A couple years ago, when we won the World Series, I said, 'Don't forget the heartbeat.' I think the heartbeat within this group is very prominent and as a manager, that's probably the thing I'm most proud of."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs

Cubs' season ends after Wild, dramatic night

Following Lester's gem, club ties it in thrilling 8th only to fall in 13th
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- For the second straight night, the Cubs could only watch as another team sprayed champagne and celebrated at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs never had a chance to party. So, after losing, 2-1, to the Rockies in 13 innings in the National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night, the Cubs gathered in their clubhouse, hugged and toasted each other. There weren't many dry eyes.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- For the second straight night, the Cubs could only watch as another team sprayed champagne and celebrated at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs never had a chance to party. So, after losing, 2-1, to the Rockies in 13 innings in the National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night, the Cubs gathered in their clubhouse, hugged and toasted each other. There weren't many dry eyes.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

"It was a great year," Kyle Schwarber said. "I want people to know that this team was special and we grinded our butts off, and that people maybe outside might think it's a disappointing year. If you look in this room, and you were in here every day, you'd have a lot of appreciation for what these guys went through day in and day out."

But the Cubs' season is over. Playing their third game in as many days in their third different time zone, the Rockies edged the Cubs in a drama-filled game -- which was the longest elimination game in history in terms of innings and time of game (four hours and 55 minutes). Next stop for the Rockies is Miller Park, just 90 miles north, where they'll face the Brewers in the NL Division Series, starting Thursday.

Video: NL WC: Contreras, Baez, Strop pump up teammates

Wild night: Weird plays abound in Rox-Cubs

"It's a very weird feeling, completely unexpected," Kyle Hendricks said. "That's why guys are hanging around. They don't know what to do. We definitely weren't ready to be done this early. We can remember this feeling, use it as fuel next year. It'll take some time to process this. We were planning on playing baseball."

With two outs in the 13th -- yes, the 13th -- Trevor Story singled off Hendricks and reached third on Gerardo Parra's single before scoring on Tony Wolters' single. Wolters, by the way, was the third catcher the Rockies used in the game.

Video: NL WC: Wolters gives Rox lead with single in the 13th

The Cubs got a burst of speed from Terrance Gore, a miraculous recovery by Pedro Strop and a hug by Javier Baez to stay close, but it wasn't enough.

After 48 come-from-behind wins in the regular season, the lively crowd of 40,151 expected one more. It didn't happen.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon pulled starter Jon Lester after six impressive innings and called on nearly all of the pitchers on the roster, including starters Cole Hamels and Hendricks. Maddon said he didn't want to take Lester out, but it was what he called a "National League moment," lifting the pitcher for a pinch-hitter.

Lester pads postseason resume with 9-K gem

Video: NL WC: Hamels tosses 2 scoreless innings in relief

"I don't see where he's going to get heat," Rizzo said. "I think he's managed his ass off this year with what we've been dealt, as far as losing Yu [Darvish], as far as losing [Brandon] Morrow, [Strop] going down. We lost so many guys, and we still figured out a way to win. That's all a credit to him.

"I think Joe's best year was this year as far as managing all the moving parts."

Video: NL WC: Cubs on extra-inning loss to Rox in WC Game

Said Baez: "They didn't say that when he made a good move and he wins the game. They didn't say that in '16 when we won [the World Series]. We love our manager."

The Cubs, denied a chance to three-peat as NL Central champs by the Brewers on Monday in Game 163, have to wonder what the heck happened to their offense. In the first half of the season, the Cubs led the NL with 476 runs; but they totaled 285 after the All-Star break, which ranked eighth in the league.

"We'd love to go out there and hit better with runners in scoring position, square the ball up more, and we just didn't do that," Kris Bryant said. "It's frustrating."

Video: NL WC: Bryant on Cubs' offensive struggles, improving

"Tonight was Kyle Freeland's fault," Daniel Murphy said about the offense's struggles. "He threw really well. Runs weren't exactly easy for them to come by either."

Freeland, who was working on short rest for the first time since college, got a nice assist from Story, who snared Murphy's line drive for the second out of the seventh when the Cubs had a runner at first.

Video: Must C Catch: Story robs Murphy with phenomenal catch

The Cubs did load the bases in the seventh, taking advantage of a catcher's interference call against Drew Butera, but Adam Ottavino struck out pinch-hitter Jason Heyward to end the inning.

5 key moments from a high-drama seventh

In the eighth, the Cubs called on their secret weapon, speedster Gore. With two outs, Rizzo singled and was lifted for Gore, who quickly stole second base. Baez then lined a double to center to drive in Gore and tie the game at 1.

Gore, Baez spark Cubs' 2-out rally in 8th

Video: NL WC: Gore displays elite speed in NL Wild Card Game

"I felt like we wouldn't lose that game after Javy got the base hit," Lester said. "For whatever reason, we did. Maybe in the long run, this will be good for us. You can only learn from losing. I feel this will be good for us moving forward. Unfortunately, we're on the wrong end of it tonight."

Rizzo lifted for a pinch-runner? He joined the crowd as a spectator and was leading the dugout as they clapped to the music.

Video: NL WC: Rizzo on Wild Card loss, comparisons to 2016

"At that point, you go put your cheerleading pom poms on and cheer the boys on," Rizzo said. "The motto this year was 'Everybody In,' and we exemplified that throughout the year."

Strop, pitching for the first time since Sept. 13 after missing time with a strained left hamstring, struck out Ian Desmond to end the Rockies' ninth and strand a runner at second. The Rockies went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Video: NL WC: Strop strikes out Desmond to end top of 9th

This was the Cubs' second Wild Card Game since Maddon took over in 2015, but that year, Jake Arrieta threw a shutout against the Pirates. That game proved to be a seminal point for the Cubs.

"We've really flipped this culture here with the Chicago Cubs organization," Rizzo said. "We fell short this year. We didn't go on a run at all this year. It's been a roller coaster for this team, it's been a roller coaster for the fans and the city of Chicago."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Home-field advantage: Lester walked Charlie Blackmon to start the game, and he reached third on DJ LeMahieu's double that bounced into the ivy covering the left-field wall.

Video: NL WC: LeMahieu smacks 112.8-mph double into the ivy

Blackmon scored on Nolan Arenado's sacrifice fly. Lester escaped any further damage by striking out both Story and Matt Holliday, both on curves.

Video: NL WC: Lester K's Holliday to limit damage in the 1st

Missed opportunity: Ian Happ, batting for Lester, drew a walk to lead off the sixth and advanced on Bryant's single, which right fielder David Dahl misjudged.

The Cubs couldn't take advantage, though, as Freeland got Rizzo to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Rizzo was one of two lefties in the lineup against Freeland, who held left-handed hitters to a .185 average this season.

Video: NL WC: Freeland induces clutch DP after popup single

Curious hug: The Cubs had a chance in the 11th. Baez walked to lead off against Seunghwan Oh, and advanced on Albert Almora Jr.s sacrifice. Butera ran to third to thwart Baez from trying to advance. Murphy was then intentionally walked to set up Willson Contreras, who stopped play because of an apparent leg injury, then he reached on a fielder's choice, forcing Baez.

Video: NL WC: Arenado and Baez embrace after out at third

Third baseman Arenado and Baez hugged as they collided on the basepaths -- which Rockies manager Bud Black didn't seem to like. Chris Rusin took over and got Victor Caratini to ground out.

SOUND SMART
This was Lester's 12th career postseason start in which he gave up one run or fewer, and he's now tied with Andy Pettitte for second most all-time. Only Tom Glavine (14) has had more.

Video: NL WC: Lester fans 9 in 1-run outing vs. the Rockies

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Bryant made 10 starts in left field during the regular season and had no assists, but he came up big in the Rockies' seventh. Desmond singled to lead off against Jesse Chavez, and Dahl flied out to left. Desmond tried to advance, but Bryant threw him out at second.

Video: NL WC: Bryant nabs Desmond for DP, call confirmed

HE SAID IT
"This is four years in a row in the playoffs, this is something we really believe we can sustain. We just got a little bit challenged offensively at the end of the year, obviously that hurt us. But as a group, and talented, and the way they interact, I could not ask for more." -- Maddon

Video: NL WC: Maddon praises team after tough Wild Card loss

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Well, the ball hit someone. Unfortunately, for home-plate umpire Chris Guccione, it wasn't Gore, who led off the 13th inning.

A Scott Oberg inside pitch eluded catcher Butera and hit Guccione flush on his left arm. Gore, however, took first base as if the ball had grazed him. The umpires ruled otherwise. The Cubs challenged, but the original call of no hit-by-pitch was confirmed. Gore was sent back to the batter's box -- where he struck out swinging.

Video: NL WC: Gore not hit by pitch after review in the 13th

Ben Zobrist singled to lead off the Cubs' first, and two outs later the Rockies thought they had picked him off at first on a throw from Freeland. The Cubs challenged the ruling, and after a review, the call was overturned.

Video: NL WC: Zobrist safe at first after overturned call

The Rockies had a runner at first and one out in the eighth when Steve Cishek got LeMahieu to hit a grounder to Murphy, who started a 4-6-3 double play. The Rockies challenged the call at second, and after a review, the call stood.

Video: NL WC: Murphy turns clutch inning-ending DP on review

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez, Terrance Gore, Jon Lester

Rox escape trouble after interference call

MLB.com

CHICAGO -- The Rockies acquired catcher Drew Butera just in time to add him to the postseason roster for times like Tuesday's seventh inning of Colorado's eventual 2-1, 13-inning victory over the Cubs in the National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field.

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CHICAGO -- The Rockies acquired catcher Drew Butera just in time to add him to the postseason roster for times like Tuesday's seventh inning of Colorado's eventual 2-1, 13-inning victory over the Cubs in the National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field.

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

View Full Game Coverage

It wasn't the smoothest of innings, but Butera stayed cool and made it through.

With one on and two out and a 1-0 Rockies lead, Adam Ottavino sailed a pitch to the backstop to put a runner in scoring position. Ottavino admitted, "I just had so much adrenaline -- that's why I was yanking all those pitches at the beginning. ... I felt too strong, too hopped up."

Butera, 35, has played in 497 regular-season games, was a member of the 2015 World Series champion Royals and has handled important defensive innings since coming in an Aug. 31 trade with the Royals for lefty reliever Jerry Vasto. So he knew to calm Ottavino.

"I just decided to take things as slow as possible," Butera said. "I knew he would gather himself. I tried not to rush it, take my time in between signs and let him find his rhythm."

After Ottavino walked Willson Contreras, Butera's glove tapped the bat during a swing by pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella. So instead of making an inning-ending out, La Stella was awarded first base on catcher's interference.

Butera isn't the first catcher to experience such a fate. La Stella reached on a catcher's interference call last postseason, against the Nationals. He joins Josh Reddick and Jacoby Ellsbury as the only two players with two such calls in their postseason careers.

It was another chance for Butera to offer calm.

"The slider came back over the plate," he said. "I wanted to go get it. It was kind of down and I wanted to try to reach it and bring it back up. Unfortunately, my glove kind of ran into his bat path. Fortunately for us we were able to get out of the inning.

"I think he knew what he had to do. I told him, 'My bad,' and he picked me up."

Ottavino bailed himself, his team and Butera out in a powerful way -- by striking out Jason Heyward to end the frame. The 97 mph pitch was his hardest of 530 fastballs all season, and the only strike he managed on a fastball in the frame.

Tweet from @MLB: ESCAPE ARTIST. #WildCard pic.twitter.com/l3iPyzMOp7

"I didn't even really try to throw it hard," Ottavino said. "I was just trying to make the pitch and then I saw that it was pretty fast."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Drew Butera, Adam Ottavino

Gore lights fuse, but fireworks never come

Speedster steals second, scores on Baez's double in eighth
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Terrance Gore is fast. And he showed just how quick in the eighth inning of the Cubs' 2-1 loss in 13 innings to the Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

But Gore's speed wasn't enough to get the rest of the Cubs' offense going.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- Terrance Gore is fast. And he showed just how quick in the eighth inning of the Cubs' 2-1 loss in 13 innings to the Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field.

But Gore's speed wasn't enough to get the rest of the Cubs' offense going.

View Full Game Coverage

With the Cubs trailing, 1-0, with two outs in the eighth against the Rockies, Anthony Rizzo singled and was lifted for pinch-runner Gore, who was added to the Cubs' NL Wild Card Game roster because of his speed.

Video: NL WC: Baez drills a game-tying double in the 8th

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

Gore stole second on Adam Ottavino's first pitch to Javier Baez without a throw and then raced home on Baez's double to left-center to tie the game.

"I felt like we wouldn't lose that game after Javy got the base hit," Cubs starter Jon Lester said. "For whatever reason, we did."

Gore was successful on all six of his stolen-base attempts with the Cubs during the regular season.

"You come out of the game there, Terrance Gore steals a base and scores and you can't really question it," Rizzo said. "Obviously, I don't ever want to come out of a baseball game. At that point, you go put your cheerleading pom-poms on and cheer the boys on. The motto this year was 'Everybody In,' and we exemplified that throughout the year."

The Cubs stranded 10 in the game and went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

"We had some opportunities, we just could not cash in," manager Joe Maddon said. "We caught the ball, we pitched really, really well. Like I said, the esprit de corps, I can't ask for more. So it was just something we really have to focus on in the offseason."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez, Terrance Gore

Lester pads postseason resume with 9-K gem

Maddon lifts lefty for pinch-hitter earlier than he would have liked
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Cubs lefty Jon Lester was the perfect choice to start against the Rockies in Tuesday night's National League Wild Card Game. The trouble is, he didn't get any offensive support as the North Siders' season ended with a 2-1 loss in 13 innings at Wrigley Field.

Because of that lack of offense, the lefty's gem was cut short. With the Cubs trailing, 1-0, and in dire need of an offensive boost, Lester was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning having thrown only 86 pitches.

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CHICAGO -- Cubs lefty Jon Lester was the perfect choice to start against the Rockies in Tuesday night's National League Wild Card Game. The trouble is, he didn't get any offensive support as the North Siders' season ended with a 2-1 loss in 13 innings at Wrigley Field.

Because of that lack of offense, the lefty's gem was cut short. With the Cubs trailing, 1-0, and in dire need of an offensive boost, Lester was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning having thrown only 86 pitches.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's obviously disappointing," Lester said. "I feel we should've won that game. That's the unfortunate part about this Wild Card Game, but at the same time, that's what makes this Wild Card Game so unique."

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

Lester gave up a run in the first inning on Nolan Arenado's sacrifice fly, the first out of the game, but that was it as he struck out nine over six innings.

The 34-year-old roared after he fanned Matt Holliday for his final strikeout of the night. The nine strikeouts tied his season high (Sept. 15) and also matched a postseason career high (Game 1 against the Cardinals in the 2015 NL Division Series).

"I didn't want to take Jon out," manager Joe Maddon said. "Jon was good to go. He was definitely good to go and [pinch-hitter Ian] Happ starts out the inning and we put ourselves in a position possibly to score, and it went away. But Jonny had a lot left in the tank, a lot."

Video: NL WC: Maddon on pitching performances after loss

With the win-or-go-home element of the NL Wild Card Game, Maddon had starters Cole Hamels and Kyle Hendricks in the bullpen and called on both to pitch in relief.

"There's a lot of platitudes to be spread around. There's a lot of good stuff," Maddon said. "We just did not hit like we think we're capable of, otherwise some pretty good baseball."

Video: NL WC: Lester credits Rockies after Wild Card loss

Lester now has 133 career postseason strikeouts, eighth-most in Major League history.

"I feel we played really good baseball tonight," Lester said. "The pitchers threw the hell out of the ball, defense played great. Sometimes you just get beat. Unfortunately, we got beat tonight."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Jon Lester

Baez says Cubs need to ignore trash talk

Infielder weighs in prior to NL Wild Card showdown vs. Rox
MLB.com

During a news conference ahead of the Cubs' 2-1 loss in 13 innings to the Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night, Cubs infielder Javier Baez said his club has "got to stop worrying about other teams," and "go out there and compete."

Baez went on to say, "If we do that, there's no team that can beat us, and they know that. So that's why they run their mouth a lot, because they know we're the best. Even when we're struggling, we are the head of everybody."

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During a news conference ahead of the Cubs' 2-1 loss in 13 innings to the Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game on Tuesday night, Cubs infielder Javier Baez said his club has "got to stop worrying about other teams," and "go out there and compete."

Baez went on to say, "If we do that, there's no team that can beat us, and they know that. So that's why they run their mouth a lot, because they know we're the best. Even when we're struggling, we are the head of everybody."

View Full Game Coverage

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

That statement was in response to a question about the up-and-down nature of the Cubs' offense this season, and in a follow-up question, Baez was asked who he was referring to when he said, "They run their mouth a lot."

"It doesn't matter, like, everybody," Baez said. "Everybody, fans. Who cares? I don't pay attention to it, but it's around us, and if we pay attention, we get in their trap."

Though it's unclear whether Baez was referring to Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers outfielder made an emphatic statement following Los Angeles' victory over the Rockies in Monday's NL West tiebreaker, guaranteeing the Dodgers would win the 2018 World Series.

"Hey, Atlanta, I'll see you soon, baby," Puig said in a postgame interview with SportsNet LA. "And the next one -- Chicago, Colorado, no matter who's going -- we're going to beat it. And we're going to the World Series again. And this time, we're going to win the World Series. In 2018, the big party is here in Los Angeles."

In 2016, the Cubs defeated the Dodgers in six games to win the NL pennant before winning their first World Series championship in 108 years. Last year, the Dodgers defeated the Cubs in a five-game NL Championship Series before losing to the Astros in a seven-game World Series.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com.

Chicago Cubs, Javier Baez

Competitive fire burns in soft-spoken LeMahieu

GM on 2B: 'Don't mistake quiet or shyness for weakness. ... It's just the opposite.'
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu's voice isn't any louder. But, man, has his bat been speaking up.

LeMahieu, who in a well-chronicled story was traded to the Rockies by the Cubs by then-new president of baseball operations Theo Epstein before the 2012 season, has a reputation for being quiet. He's won a batting title, two Gold Glove Awards, two Defensive Player of the Year Awards (one for his position, another for the club) and appeared in two All-Star Games -- somehow doing it all quietly, partly because he has no self-promotion streak.

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CHICAGO -- Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu's voice isn't any louder. But, man, has his bat been speaking up.

LeMahieu, who in a well-chronicled story was traded to the Rockies by the Cubs by then-new president of baseball operations Theo Epstein before the 2012 season, has a reputation for being quiet. He's won a batting title, two Gold Glove Awards, two Defensive Player of the Year Awards (one for his position, another for the club) and appeared in two All-Star Games -- somehow doing it all quietly, partly because he has no self-promotion streak.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

But a key reason the Rockies made the postseason this year is his suddenly loud bat. He knocked a career-high 15 home runs -- in only 128 games because of injuries. A dozen of his homers put the Rockies ahead.

LeMahieu's 1,000th career hit, and his 1,000th in a Rockies uniform -- he had just 15 of his 1,026 career hits hits for the Cubs in 2011 -- passed without panoply. But those occasions came late in the regular season, and both were important in the late-season run to the postseason.

"The thing that I think is so special about DJ is that when the game starts, he plays the game to win, and how his skill set helps us do that, whatever that might be, whether that's defensively, whether it's with the bat, moving a runner, getting a bunt down, hit and run, knocking in a big run, hitting a homer, whatever it might be," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He's about a W, and that's what makes DJ special."

Video: Must C Clutch: LeMahieu slugs walk-off homer in 9th

But many who have spent time on the field beside him -- ex-Rox and current Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and current infield teammates come to mind -- say there is a vicious competitive streak that can't be seen on television or from the stands.

But the real spirit came to the surface -- against the Cubs, no less -- on April 22. LeMahieu was the runner at second base in the third inning of the Cubs' 9-7 victory at Coors Field. Thinking LeMahieu was relaying signs to hitters Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, Cubs shortstop Javier Baez began intentionally standing in front of LeMahieu before the pitch to block his view. After a bit, umpires had to step in when LeMahieu and Baez were yelling at each other.

The fire is something the Rockies value. When the season is over, all will find the monetary value, as LeMahieu is up for free agency. While not revealing his plans in regard to LeMahieu, general manager Jeff Bridich said Tuesday he realizes all LeMahieu brings adds up to wins.

"In terms of being a piece of the foundation of the club, he's definitely played that part very well," Bridich said. "Don't mistake quiet or shyness for weakness. DJ naturally is on the more reserved, quiet side. Don't mistake that for lacking intensity or competitiveness. It's just the opposite."

The legend of 'Pepe Negro'
Black and Cubs manager Joe Maddon know each other well, going back to their days together on the Angels' coaching staff. Maddon recalled a memorable bus ride from that era to Hermosillo, Mexico, for a Spring Training game.

"[Black] said, 'Joe-Joe, I won the Caribbean League championship in this ballpark,'" Maddon said of Black, who was pitching for Venezuela at the time. "I said, 'That's pretty cool, man. What did the papers declare the next day? "Buddy Negro pitches and wins championship?"' He said, 'No, Pepe Negro.'"

"Negro" is the Spanish word for black.

Tweet from @Rockies: Let's #Rocktober pic.twitter.com/3dwOoWsNia

"So from that moment on, he became Pepe Negro to me," Maddon said. "After that game, we're leaving the ballpark, this dude comes down with the hat and he wants us to sign it and he threw it at Pepe, and he started to sign it. He said, 'No, no, no, please sign it Pepe Negro,' and he did, and that's where the legend began."

Black laughed when told the story.

"Joe's recollection is pretty correct about what transpired," Black said.

The two managers are good friends -- just maybe not on Tuesday night.

Funny the people you meet
Maddon also has a connection to Rockies starter Kyle Freeland, although not as close. Freeland's brother works at a bike shop in Tampa, Fla., where Maddon has done business.

"I've talked about him, how I like [Kyle] for the last couple years," Maddon said. "He's a really good pitcher."

A not-so-special, special moment
Rockies righty reliever Adam Ottavino struggled so much last season that he was left off the roster for last year's NL Wild Card Game. Even during Spring Training, long before his 112 strikeouts in 77 2/3 innings this season, Ottavino said being inactive for the 11-8 loss to the D-backs motivated him. But with a good season behind him now, he's not celebrating being included in the postseason this year.

"Probably not," Ottavino said a few days ago when asked if he'd commemorate the moment. "I don't like thinking about it, to be honest. That hurt me a lot last year. So I'm just going to get ready to pitch."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Colorado Rockies, DJ LeMahieu

Breaking down NL Wild Card lineups by prospect ranks

MLB.com

Former top prospects will be all over the diamond at Wrigley Field tonight as the Chicago Cubs host the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game. Ten of the 18 players in tonight's starting lineups were at one point or another ranked among baseball's Top 100 prospects.

Former top prospects will be all over the diamond at Wrigley Field tonight as the Chicago Cubs host the Colorado Rockies in the National League Wild Card Game. Ten of the 18 players in tonight's starting lineups were at one point or another ranked among baseball's Top 100 prospects.

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

The Rockies are the most homegrown team in this year's postseason with 12 players from their projected 25-man NLDS roster coming via the Draft or international market. Four players in their Wild Card game lineup are former Top 100 prospects, while all nine ranked among a team's top 30 prospects list at some point before they made it to the big leagues. David Dahl was the most highly regarded as a prospect, as he was MLB's No. 20 overall prospect on our midseason Top 100 list in 2016.

The Cubs owned the No. 1 ranking on our list of MLB's Top 10 farm systems entering the 2015 season, when they had six top 100 prospects, led by No. 2 Kris Bryant. Only two of those six are in tonight's lineup (Bryant and Albert Almora, who was No. 58), though a third, Kyle Schwarber, is lurking on the bench. Six of Chicago's nine starters tonight are former Top 100 prospects, all of them having ranked within the top 40 at their peak.

Here's a look at the lineups and how each player's peak prospect rank:

ROCKIES LINEUP
1. Charlie Blackmon, CF - COL No. 10, 2011 preseason
2. DJ LeMahieu, 2B - CHC No. 10, 2010 preseason*
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B - COL No. 1, 2012 preseason; MLB No. 22, 2012 preseason
4. Trevor Story, SS - COL No. 3, 2013 preseason; MLB No. 86, 2012 midseason
5. Matt Holliday, LF - COL No. 4, 1999 preseason*
6. Ian Desmond, 1B - WSH No. 4, 2010 preseason*
7. David Dahl, RF - COL No. 1, 2013 preseason; MLB No. 20, 2016 midseason
8. Chris Iannetta, C - COL No. 6, 2006 preseason*
9. Kyle Freeland, P - COL No. 4, 2015 preseason; MLB No. 60, 2015 preseason

CUBS LINEUP
1. Ben Zobrist, RF - TB No. 16, 2006 preseason*
2. Kris Bryant, LF - CHC No. 1, 2015 preseason; MLB No. 2, 2015 preseason
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B - CHC No. 1, 2012 preseason; MLB No. 37, 2012 preseason
4. Javier Baez, SS - CHC No. 1, 2013 preseason; MLB No. 6, 2014 midseason
5. Albert Almora Jr., CF - CHC No. 2, 2013 preseason; MLB No. 18, 2014 preseason
6. Daniel Murphy, 2B - NYM No. 15, 2008 preseason*
7. Willson Contreras, C - CHC No. 2, 2016 preseason; MLB No. 23, 2016 midseason
8. David Bote, 3B - CHC No. 15, 2018 preseason
9. Jon Lester, P - BOS No. 1, 2006 preseason; MLB No. 18, 2006 preseason

* Baseball America ranking

Strop included on Cubs' roster; Edwards left off

Lineup versatility offers Maddon chance to mix & match vs. Rockies lefty Freeland
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- This spring, reliever Pedro Strop was limited to four games because of a sore left calf but still made the Cubs' Opening Day roster. As far as the right-hander is concerned, throwing two times off a mound since Sept. 13 is about the same and Strop was pronounced healthy enough to be included on the Cubs' 25-man roster for Tuesday's National League Wild Card Game.

While Strop was ready, reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was not, and the right-hander was not included on the roster because of some right forearm soreness, which he felt after Sunday's game. Because of the one-and-done nature of the Wild Card Game, the Cubs did not want to risk being short-handed if Edwards can't go.

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CHICAGO -- This spring, reliever Pedro Strop was limited to four games because of a sore left calf but still made the Cubs' Opening Day roster. As far as the right-hander is concerned, throwing two times off a mound since Sept. 13 is about the same and Strop was pronounced healthy enough to be included on the Cubs' 25-man roster for Tuesday's National League Wild Card Game.

While Strop was ready, reliever Carl Edwards Jr. was not, and the right-hander was not included on the roster because of some right forearm soreness, which he felt after Sunday's game. Because of the one-and-done nature of the Wild Card Game, the Cubs did not want to risk being short-handed if Edwards can't go.

View Full Game Coverage

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

Strop has been sidelined with a left hamstring strain, which he injured running the bases, and was initially projected to be ready for the NL Division Series, which begins Thursday at Miller Park against the Brewers -- if the Cubs win tonight.

"I like to be in the game so much, I like to be on the mound and compete," Strop said Tuesday sitting in the Cubs' dugout at Wrigley Field. "Watching my guys from here and not being able to help them perform on the field, it was tough for me. I just found a way to help, talking with my guys."

What if the Rockies try to bunt against him and test his leg?

"I'm ready for that," Strop said. "I've already tested it. I'll be able to field and get them out. If it's a really fast guy, I'll do whatever I can do to get him out. If not, I'll try to get a ground ball or double play."

Video: CHC@WSH: Strop exits with hamstring injury

Manager Joe Maddon said he didn't watch Strop's bullpen sessions but said everyone gave the right-hander the go-ahead.

"We feel comfortable about it and he feels comfortable about it, so we'll use him," Maddon said.

This is the Cubs' second Wild Card Game under Maddon. In 2015, Jake Arrieta threw a shutout to lead the Cubs to a 4-0 win over the Pirates and advance to the NL Division Series.

Video: Must C Clinch: Cubs blank Bucs, punch ticket to NLDS

Javier Baez remembers the 2015 game. Kyle Schwarber hit a home run that Baez joked was still going.

"Everybody was into the game, everyone was in [on] our plan and on the same page," Baez said. "I don't think we're there right now, but you know, we're fighting to get there. If we do that, we'll be together in every at-bat, every pitch and supporting our teammates."

Starting pitcher
Jon Lester (18-6, 3.32 ERA) will start in his second career Wild Card Game; he also did so in 2014 for the Athletics. The lefty's first postseason start was for the Red Sox against the Rockies in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series. He did make two relief appearances in the American League Championship Series that year before the start. Lester is 9-7 with a 2.48 ERA in his 21 career postseason starts, which includes a 3-1 record and 1.87 ERA in seven postseason starts over the past two Octobers.

Video: COL@CHC: Freeland, Lester set to duel in NL Wild Card

Relievers
If Lester struggles on Tuesday, the Cubs will have Cole Hamels in the bullpen. Hamels has pitched just once in relief -- in 2011 with the Phillies in the regular-season finale. Kyle Hendricks, who was warming up in the bullpen on Monday during the tiebreaker game, also is an option. If the Cubs do advance, Hendricks is expected to start Game 1 of the NLDS. The Cubs' bullpen has been busy lately. Steve Cishek has pitched five of the past six days, and Jesse Chavez has pitched four of the past six.

Maddon has not had a bonafide closer since Brandon Morrow was injured in mid July. Strop may be back on the roster, but he's not likely to be used in a high-leverage situation like the ninth inning. Chicago's relievers did post the best ERA in the NL this season (3.35), yet they have provided anxious moments. The tiebreaker game on Monday was a perfect example. Chavez worked two perfect innings, but Justin Wilson started the eighth and threw a slider to Orlando Arcia that ignited a two-run inning. The Brewers won, 3-1.

Video: MIL@CHC: Chavez induces double play to end frame

Infielders
Ben Zobrist may be listed as an infielder, but he could start in the outfield and then switch when Maddon makes his defensive adjustments. Daniel Murphy has batted .297 in 35 games since joining the Cubs. Baez may be the best shortstop in the NL. He finished the regular season as the first player in Major League history to record at least 40 doubles, nine triples, 34 homers, 111 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in a single season. While Baez is the quarterback on the infield, Anthony Rizzo is the unofficial captain.

Outfielders
Speedster Terrance Gore could be the secret weapon. As a pinch-runner, he's 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts. Jason Heyward has been starting in center field, then switching to right when Maddon makes his defensive tweaks late in the game. The versatile lineup -- and the fact that the Cubs are facing lefty Kyle Freeland -- may prompt Maddon to start Kris Bryant in left and have rookie David Bote at third. There are a lot of mix and match parts.

Video: CHC@WSH: Gore swipes second and third

Catchers
Willson Contreras has scuffled offensively, batting .200 since the All-Star break and .159 in September, but he has matched up well with Lester. Contreras has thrown out 34 percent of potential basestealers. The Rockies finished with 95 stolen bases, tied for third most in the NL.

Starting pitchers (1)
Jon Lester

Relievers (10)
Alec Mills
Kyle Hendricks
Jorge De La Rosa
Cole Hamels
Justin Wilson
Mike Montgomery
Steve Cishek
Jesse Chavez
Pedro Strop
Randy Rosario

Catchers (2)
Victor Caratini
Willson Contreras

Infielders (7)
Javier Baez
Kris Bryant
David Bote
Tommy La Stella
Daniel Murphy
Anthony Rizzo
Ben Zobrist

Outfielders(5)
Albert Almora Jr.
Terrance Gore
Ian Happ
Jason Heyward
Kyle Schwarber

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Carl Edwards Jr., Pedro Strop

Rox-Cubs: Lineups, matchups, FAQs

MLB.com

Both the Cubs and Rockies will find themselves in a win-or-go-home situation in tonight's National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field.

"I'm excited," Chicago's Daniel Murphy said. "Two-thirds of the league is home right now."

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Both the Cubs and Rockies will find themselves in a win-or-go-home situation in tonight's National League Wild Card Game at Wrigley Field.

"I'm excited," Chicago's Daniel Murphy said. "Two-thirds of the league is home right now."

View Full Game Coverage

Both teams would have preferred to have the day off to prepare for the NL Division Series presented by Doosan, which will open on Thursday at Miller Park, but after losing their respective division tiebreaker games on Monday, they must rebound quickly to face each other.

NL Wild Card Game presented by Hankook Tire: Tonight, 8:08 p.m. ET on ESPN

The Rockies were foiled by their 2018 nemesis -- the Dodgers -- in their tiebreaker on Monday, 5-2, but were quickly ready to hop on a plane and begin their postseason dream. It's the first time in the 26-season history of the franchise they've enjoyed the postseason two straight years.

:: NL Wild Card Game schedule and results ::

Colorado lost last year's Wild Card Game to the D-backs, 11-8, at Chase Field.

"We're going to the playoffs," Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon said. "It's an amazing opportunity. We worked really hard to get here. Today was unfortunate, but the fact of the matter is, we have a chance to win the World Series."

Position-by-position breakdown

The Cubs and Rockies haven't played each other since early May, and split their season series, 3-3.

This is the Cubs' second NL Wild Card Game since Joe Maddon took over as manager in 2015. That year, Jake Arrieta threw a shutout to beat the Pirates. The Cubs reached the NL Championship Series, but lost to the Mets and NLCS MVP Murphy, who was 9-for-17 with four home runs and six RBIs in the four-game sweep. Chicago is in this game after losing Monday's NL Central tiebreaker to the Brewers, 3-1.

The Rockies also have practice rebounding from disappointment at Dodger Stadium. They were swept in three games in Los Angeles Sept. 9-12, but won nine of their next 10 games to force Monday's tiebreaker and secure their postseason spot.

When is the game and how can I watch it?
Tonight, 8 p.m. ET, on ESPN, with an alternate broadcast on ESPN that will focus heavily on analytics and Statcast™, featuring MLB.com's Mike Petriello.

What are the starting lineups?
Rockies: It will be Matt Holliday's first start since Sept. 22 at Arizona, against Patrick Corbin, the last lefty starter the Rockies faced during the regular season. Holliday does have more success against Lester in his career (7-for-15 with a double) than Carlos Gonzalez (2-for-14), but all three players have been in the league for a long time, and it's probably not a good idea to read too much into 12-to-15 at-bats spread out over the course of a decade. Plain and simple: The reason to play Holliday is that he has the platoon advantage against Lester.

ROCKIES LINEUP
1. Charlie Blackmon, CF
2. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
3. Nolan Arenado, 3B
4. Trevor Story, SS
5. Matt Holliday, LF
6. Ian Desmond, 1B
7. David Dahl, RF
8. Chris Iannetta, C
9. Kyle Freeland, P

Cubs: With the Cubs facing a lefty, David Bote gets the start at third base, with Kris Bryant moving to left field.

CUBS LINEUP
1. Ben Zobrist, RF
2. Kris Bryant, LF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Javier Baez, SS
5. Albert Almora Jr., CF
6. Daniel Murphy, 2B
7. Willson Contreras, C
8. David Bote, 3B
9. Jon Lester, P

Video: COL@CHC: Freeland, Lester set to duel in NL Wild Card

CUBS ROSTER (ANNOUNCED)
PITCHERS (11)
Jesse Chavez, RHP
Steve Cishek, RHP
Jorge De La Rosa, LHP
Cole Hamels, LHP
Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Jon Lester, LHP
Alec Mills, RHP
Mike Montgomery, LHP
Randy Rosario, LHP
Pedro Strop, RHP
Justin Wilson, LHP

CATCHERS (2)
Victor Caratini
Willson Contreras

INFIELDERS (7)
Javier Baez
David Bote
Kris Bryant
Tommy La Stella
Daniel Murphy
Anthony Rizzo
Ben Zobrist

OUTFIELDERS (5)
Albert Almora Jr.
Terrance Gore
Ian Happ
Jason Heyward
Kyle Schwarber

ROCKIES ROSTER (ANNOUNCED)
PITCHERS (10)

Wade Davis
Kyle Freeland
DJ Johnson
Jake McGee
Harrison Musgrave
Scott Oberg
Seunghwan Oh
Adam Ottavino
Chris Rusin
Antonio Senzatela

Catchers (3)
Drew Butera
Chris Iannetta
Tony Wolters

Infielders (7)
Nolan Arenado
Ian Desmond
Garrett Hampson
DJ LeMahieu
Ryan McMahon
Trevor Story
Pat Valaika

Outfielders (5)
Charlie Blackmon
David Dahl
Carlos Gonzalez
Matt Holliday
Gerardo Parra

Who are the starting pitchers?
Rockies: Freeland (17-7, 2.85 ERA) will make his third career start against the Cubs. The 25-year-old lefty took the loss in his lone outing against them this season, holding the North Siders to three runs on six hits with one walk and five strikeouts in seven innings on April 30.

"I'm not going to change my mentality at all," Freeland said. "Anything that I did from April until now, it's going to be the same attitude. There's no reason to add any more pressure because of where you are, who you're playing, what's at stake or anything like that.

"I have my reports [from the April start]. I did a couple reports today just preparing for what could happen. They added a few guys to the Cubs. I went back, watched video, checked up on some guys to see if they made any adjustments. So I have my report ready."

Freeland will be pitching on three days' rest for the first time in his pro career, but he recalls doing it at the University of Evansville -- where he played after a standout career at Denver's Thomas Jefferson High School -- and doesn't expect undue fatigue.

Cubs: Lester (18-6, 3.32 ERA) will be making his 22nd postseason start. The left-hander has been the workhorse for the Cubs, and this season marks the fifth in a row in which he's made at least 32 starts. Lester, 7-4 with a 3.32 ERA at Wrigley Field, has started the first game of a postseason series 10 times and also made one Wild Card start for the Athletics on Sept. 30, 2014, against the Royals. He did not get a decision in that game, which went 12 innings. He did give up six earned runs over 7 1/3 innings.

"I don't know if there's anybody better in a situation like this," Murphy said.

What makes him so good in the postseason?

"It's just the way he prepares and the expectations he has on himself," Cole Hamels said. "He has a great work ethic, and you have to admire that. To be as fortunate as he was to be brought up in that type of atmosphere in Boston with those type of baseball expectations, it trains you, and it trains you for these moments."

On Monday, in the tiebreaker game against the Brewers, Maddon had Kyle Hendricks warming up in case the game went extra innings. Hamels will be the extra starter in the bullpen tonight.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Rockies: The bullpen should be in good shape. Black used Scott Oberg for an inning on Monday even though the Rockies were behind, but Oberg had been off for two days. He also used lefty Harrison Musgrave for two batters, but that should not preclude his availability. Chris Rusin, however, would be the primary lefty.

Oberg and the other righty lead-protection pitchers -- Seunghwan Oh, Adam Ottavino and closer Wade Davis (club-record 43 saves) -- are ready to go.

Cubs: Though the Cubs' bullpen finished the regular season with the best ERA in the NL, at 3.34, it's been shaky lately. Steve Cishek finished the regular season with a 4.15 ERA in September, Carl Edwards Jr. a 5.14 ERA and Justin Wilson a 4.50 ERA.

The Cubs do not have a designated closer and are instead mixing and matching. Jesse Chavez has been the most consistent of the group and has not given up a run in his last 11 outings. He shut down the Brewers over two innings on Monday.

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Rockies: None

Cubs: Maddon said that the only reliever he is concerned about is Cishek, who pitched for the third straight day on Monday, although he only threw six pitches.

"All arms are on deck," Cishek said. "It's October baseball. I'm going to say I'm good to go no matter what. I know I'll have a chip on my shoulder. … I expect us to come out and play hard and give us another shot to continue on."

Any injuries of note?
Rockies: The Rockies have cleared their injury hurdles. Arenado, who had an injured right shoulder in August and looked compromised at times, and Story, who missed time in September with an injured right elbow, are not only healthy but swinging and throwing well.

Cubs: Reliever Pedro Strop has been out with a sore left hamstring since Sept. 13. There was a report late Monday saying that he he would be available for the NL Wild Card Game, but a team official told MLB.com that was unlikely. Strop has thrown off a mound twice since he was injured.

If they win, who would be the starting pitcher for Game 1 of the NLDS?
Rockies: That becomes an interesting question, since the best scenario was for the Rox to win the tiebreaker on Monday and save Freeland to start in his hometown. But if the Rockies beat the Cubs and head to Milwaukee, the best option is righty Antonio Senzatela (6-6, 4.38 ERA) on Thursday. Senzatela won his only start at Miller Park -- five scoreless innings, two hits, six strikeouts and three walks in his Major League debut on April 6, 2017.

Cubs: Hendricks (14-11, 3.44 ERA) would most likely open the NLDS. The right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 10 postseason starts, including Game 1 of the NLDS last year against the Nationals, in which he threw seven shutout innings in a 3-0 win. This season, Hendricks set a career high in innings pitched (199) and has finished strong, going 4-1 with a 1.79 ERA in September.

Anything else fans might want to know?
There's no place like Wrigley Field for the Cubs, who finished the regular season with a 51-31 home record. The forecast calls for cloudy skies with temperatures in the 60s.

But the Rockies like ivy, too. They won 2-of-3 there from April 30 to May 2 and have won seven of their last 10 at Wrigley.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Kyle Freeland, Jon Lester