Irish not out of the playoff picture yet (0:42)

David Schoenfield SweetSpot blogger 

Tonight's lineups are certainly, umm, interesting. The Cubs are playing Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber in the outfield ... in order to get Tommy La Stella's bat at 3B. But La Stella has played just 81 innings at third in his pro career, Bryant has started just 10 games in the outfield and Schwarber has played just 14 innings in RF. The Pirates have benched Pedro Alvarez to get the better glove in Sean Rodriguez at 1B.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Cubs choosing offense over defense with Tommy La Stella at 3rd and Kris Bryant in LF. Very few starts for either at those positions. La Stella batting 5th. They believe he'll make good contact against Gerrit Cole.

Buster Olney: Cubs and Pirates are best two teams in baseball (0:52)
ESPN Stats & Info

Vegas granting Cavs a bye to Finals?

Las Vegas sportsbooks are all but giving Cleveland the Eastern Conference title now, pegging them as a 1-4 favorite to advance to the NBA Finals. You would have to wager $400 in order to profit $100, assuming the Cavs do win the East.


Cubs put Bryant in outfield

Rookie Kris Bryant started only four games in LF in the regular season -- compared to 136 at 3B -- but that's where he'll be playing for tonight's NL wild-card game. Tommy La Stella is taking his spot at 3B.

Jeff Dickerson ESPN Staff Writer 

Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio considers himself a good luck charm for the Chicago Cubs. Fangio tells us he was in San Francisco when the Giants won two of their World Series titles. Fangio even said he was the Texans defensive coordinator in 2005 when the Astros reached the World Series.

Jim Bowden ESPN Insider 

Jake Arrieta batting 9th for #Cubs only 4th time all year...La Stella at 3B for de and Schwarber in RF...Sean Rodriguez at 1B for #Pirates for de

Getty Images, USA TODAY Sports

How to bet Cubs-Pirates

Runs will be at a premium tonight at PNC Park so keep that in mind when considering the odds. Best bets (Insider)

Kane focused on hockey despite investigation (0:46)
Blackhawks affected by Kane investigation? (0:49)
Arrieta has Pirates' number (1:43)

How to bet the NL wild-card game

Writes Andrew Lange: "As good as [Gerrit] Cole has been, [Jake] Arrieta has been better. ... It's important to look at this game through the lens of a one-game scenario but make no mistake, Arrieta is well deserving of being the road chalk." Chalk picks (Insider)

Stats & Info

Jake Arrieta is bad news for Pirates

Arrieta's 0.75 ERA against Pittsburgh in the regular season is tied for the lowest a pitcher has had against a postseason opponent in the same season (Elias).