Can the South Side win its second World Series title in 104 years? We start to get an answer tonight in Houston.
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Good morning, frents!
Justin is our quarterback, the Sox start their playoff run, the Sky are headed to the WNBA Finals and Jon Lester, World Series champion with the St. Louis Cardinals is officially something that can no longer happen.
Yes, there's reason for everyone to be wearing a smile today.
Sky 79, Sun 69
Sky win series 3-1
Sox at Astros (3:07, FS1)
Hawks at Wild (7, NBCSCH)*
Liftoff in Houston
There's playoff baseball for Chicago fans today.
Lord knows it's not every October we get this, even though the Cubs tried to make it a regular event for a bit there and the Sox made a brief appearance against Oakland in last year's weird playoff without ever playing a game on the South Side.
Today, though, is the real thing.
A real challenge against an Astros team that'd be a lot more admirable was it not for their garbage can batting routine.
A real opportunity for the franchise's second World Series in the past 104 years, a chance that fans have been waiting for since a lack of pitching bounced them out of Oakland last fall.
The trip may be short. It may be long. Either way, it won't be for the faint of heart. But try the best you can to enjoy it because there's nothing like postseason baseball.
A few bullet points before today's game, which starts just after 3 on FS1:
- The biggest question leading into today's game: Will Jose Abreu be in the starting lineup? The reigning AL MVP didn't travel to Houston with the team after suffering flu-like symptoms. He reportedly tested negative for COVID-19 and was said to be making his way to Houston on his own. There won't be a sigh of relief, though, until we see him coming up to bat in the top of the first.
- Playoff rosters are due at 10 am today, so keep an eye on Twitter.
- Tony La Russa made it official on Wednesday: Lance Lynn gets the ball for Game 1, Lucas Giolito will go for Game 2. Dylan Cease looks like an increasing possibility for Game 3 and wouldn't it be nice if he took on the responsibility the team figured Carlos Rodon would be shouldering?
- Every fan likes to think the announcers are against their team, but Houston fans will have a bigger beef this series. Adam Amin and A.J. Pierzynski are scheduled to broadcast the bulk of the games with Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and Buck Showalter dropping in for Game 2 on MLB Network.
- Thoughts and prayers for a short and pain-free series, but I really think this has the potential to be the closest and most drama-filled of the four LDS. David Brown did a tale of the tape for the Midway Minute site and you'll see just how close the teams are evenly matched. (His prediction, though, may not be one you want to read.)
- My prediction: Everyone on the South Side can be so fatalistic about the Sox and often for good reason. But this team seems equipped to handle bumps better than most and I'll take Tony La Russa in a short series over Dusty Baker any day. This season may not end with a World Series title, but it's not going to end with an early disappointment against Houston either. Sox in five.
News and results
Sky: Finals bound for second time in franchise history
On the bandwagon yet? The Sky's Game 4 was the only show in town last night and they took advantage of the attention, leading the Connecticut Sun wire to wire in a 79-69 win at Wintrust Arena.
- The victory puts the Sky in the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2014 and they'll face the winner of the Las Vegas Aces-Phoenix Mercury series, which is tied 2-2. The Sky have plenty of room to improve this time around. They were swept by Phoenix last time so they're still looking for the first Finals win in team history.
- Candace Parker was dominant on Wednesday night, putting together a line of 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Courtney Vandersloot led all Sky scorers with 19 points and Kahleah Copper put in 18.
- The Sun were the tournament's top-seed, but the Sky never allowed them to look like it. Connecticut coach Curt Miller said his team was "outcoached and outplayed." It's the first time since 2016 the top seed hasn't made the Finals.
Bears: Did we finally get our forever quarterback?
Either Matt Nagy finally came to his senses or someone finally had a nice, long talk with him and told him to cut the crap. Either way, Justin Fields is the team's permanent starter, which saves us from Nagy twisting himself into knots every time he sits behind a microphone. Thirteen games are left on this season and the schedule is brutal. There's a good chance you'll be able to count all of the remaining Bears wins on one hand. But at least the right guy for the Bears future will be under center. Let's go.
"I would say I was a little bit surprised, but I mean, not really crazy surprised. But definitely a little bit of surprise." — Justin Fields
- Jim Margalus is pushing for two innings of Liam Hendriks over risking Craig Kimbrel, setup guy. Sox Machine
- Jed Hoyer said pitching is the offseason's No. 1 priority in his end-of-season news conference. MLB.com
- The Hawks are sending Lukas Reichel to Rockford for the start of the season. Charlie Roumeliotis believes that's the right call. NBC Sports Chicago
- The Big Ten basketball media poll is out. Kofi Cockburn was picked as the preseason player of the year, but the Illini trail Michigan and Purdue in the team predictions. 24/7 Sports
- Longtime Trib writer Mark Caro has his own blog and podcast now and I really enjoyed his piece on rediscovering the pleasures of listening to vinyl during the pandemic. Caropop