October Confidential: Cubs

Rival players offer inside look at facing the NL Wild Card

October Confidential: Cubs

How do you beat the Cubs? MLB.com asked rival players from around Major League Baseball to offer an inside look at how best to face one of the NL Wild Card teams.

Jake Arrieta
"Jake is throwing with that crossfire delivery, so as a right-handed hitter, the ball is going to be coming from behind you and coming at an angle. Feels like it's coming from 10 feet to the left of second base. What I like to do sometimes with a guy like that is angle my stance a little bit toward shortstop and try to take his angle away from him. He's still tough, though, because if he's locating down and away with that crossfire delivery, he's very difficult to square up." 
-- NL catcher

Jon Lester
"He has the really hard slider-cutter thing. For me, I like to see him out over the plate. As a right-handed hitter, anything that's moving down and in is going to be a ball. His fastball has to start middle away for it to be a strike because it's going to cut in there. You can rattle him on the bases. If guys get huge leads over there, he won't pick, because he can't pick. He has trouble throwing the ball to the bases. As a baserunner, you have to be aggressive and make him think about you a little bit. If you do that, he'll hopefully make a mistake out over the middle for the hitter." 
-- NL catcher

Game Date Matchup
Gm 1 Oct. 17 NYM 4, CHC 2
Gm 2 Oct. 18 NYM 4, CHC 1
Gm 3 Oct. 20 NYM 5, CHC 2
Gm 4 Oct. 21 NYM 8, CHC 3

Hector Rondon
"Rondon's fastball is straight. He could make a mistake to you, but he likes to pitch away from the hitters. I think you have to look over the plate and try to hit something hard the other way or up the middle. You have to get in him early, because I don't think you want to be deep in a count with him." 
-- NL catcher
 
Pedro Strop
"Strop is a guy who will quick-pitch you, and he has all these different looks. The secret to him is you have to get runners on. When you get runners on, he can't do all that quick-pitch and slide-step stuff. Get runners on, and you can take away some of his weapons. Without the ability to quick-pitch and disrupt the timing of the hitter, he becomes just another pitcher." 
-- NL catcher

Anthony Rizzo
"He's able to stand on top of the plate. A lefty standing on top of the plate kind of forces me to throw that ball on the outer half. And that's where he does a lot of his damage. You really have to be confident in your stuff to throw on inner half of the plate and be kind of fine inside. Otherwise, you'll hit him. That's definitely something to his advantage."
-- NL Central pitcher

Kris Bryant
"His ability to stay inside the ball is ridiculous. I can run two-seam fastballs inside and off the plate. But he can foul it off or shoot the ball the other way -- he did that to me on a fastball in and up off the plate the last time we met. He was able to keep it fair down the right-field line. That's impressive stuff. To get him out, you have to hit your spots and mix up pitches."
-- NL Central pitcher

Kyle Schwarber
"His bat stays through the zone for a long time, the same as Bryant but from the left side of the plate. He's on time for fastballs. You have to be mixing in another pitch pretty well. I don't have a lot of history with him yet. The more times we face him and the more reports that come out, the better chance we have to find something on him. From what I have seen, he stays on fastballs really well. He seems like a special player."
-- NL Central pitcher