For just the second time since 2015, the Chicago Cubs will watch the postseason from home – but that doesn’t mean there’s no reason for fans to tune in. Tuesday’s American League Wild Card game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox is the perfect example.
Aside from featuring one of the best rivalries in baseball going head-to-head in a must-win game at Fenway Park (reason enough to watch) – a pair of former Cubs are leading off for their new teams: Kyle Schwarber for Boston and Anthony Rizzo for the Yankees.
Of course, Chicago non-tendered Schwarber last season rather than pony up the cash to pay the man after he struggled during the pandemic-shortened campaign. How did he respond? Oh, by putting up a career-best 148 OPS+ and .928 OPS between the Nationals and Red Sox.
He’s been unstoppable out of the leadoff spot this season, slashing .297/.385/.832 with seventeen home runs. Oh, and the guy on the mound for the Yankees tonight? Schwarber has some experience against him.
Chicago Cubs: Kyle Schwarber, Anthony Rizzo lead off in AL Wild Card game
It seems like a lifetime ago we watched the rookie take Gerrit Cole deep in the 2015 NL Wild Card game in Pittsburgh. Now, here we sit six years later with Schwarber – and Rizzo – suiting up for new teams opposite one another with a shot at the ALDS on the line.
As for the Yankees first baseman and the self-appointed greatest leadoff hitter of all-time, what can we say that hasn’t already been said about him as a table setter? He carries a career .321/.407/.554 line atop the order with 29 walks to just 32 strikeouts. New York went out and got him at the deadline, hoping to balance out a right-handed heavy lineup. Now, here they are with a chance to add yet another ring to the trophy case.
But first, they have to get through their most hated rival on the road.