There’s so much we don’t know about the baseball postseason to come. Like who will play whom. And where. And when. You know, the little things.
Put the Cubs and White Sox into the same, overstuffed barrel of big-league teams that went into the final couple of days of the regular season with division titles and wild-card playoff pairings still to be sorted out. We know all eight American League teams will be scheduled to play Tuesday. We know all 16 playoff teams will be scheduled to play Wednesday. And we’ve learned that a 60-game regular season plus an expanded playoff field equals late-September chaos.
Nothing wrong with that.
But we do know this: The Cubs, with Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish, and the Sox, with Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel, are capable of beating any opponent in a best-of-three series. Why? We already told you. The answer is those four pitchers.
Hendricks threw a shutout in Game 1 of the season and likely will be on the hill for Game 1 of the playoffs. Giolito opened the season as the Sox’ No. 1 and — hello, no-no — has backed that up. Darvish has rewritten the script on his 2018 signing, and Keuchel has demonstrated from the get-go this season that he was worth the dough the Sox threw at him.
The big stage is ready.
Pressure? What pressure?
“Still no fans in the playoffs, right?” Darvish said. “I think [it won’t] feel any different.”
We’ll see about that. Here’s what’s happening:
Bears at Falcons (noon, Fox-32)
You know how the Bears nearly blew a 17-point halftime lead in Week 2? The Falcons totally “hold our beer”-ed them, gagging away a 19-point halftime lead in a ridiculous loss to the Cowboys. It’s desperation time already for 0-2 Atlanta.
Cubs at White Sox (2:10 p.m., MSN, NBCSCH)
Some humble requests of both teams: Don’t throw at anybody. Don’t break, sprain, strain or pull anything. Don’t overtax any key pitchers. Don’t bump an ump. Look, just don’t blow it. There are some big games coming up.
Atlanta United at Fire (6:30 p.m., Ch. 9)
Way back in a more innocent time — March — the Fire were supposed to make their Soldier Field return against Atlanta with 40,000-plus in the stands. Fans: Nope. Fanfare: Not much. Better late than never, though.
Celtics at Heat, Game 6 (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
There’s no telling who will drive home the daggers in this one. Jimmy Butler? Tyler Herro? Jayson Tatum? Kemba Walker? Why don’t the Bulls have any of these guys?
Packers at Saints (7:20 p.m., Ch. 5)
Aaron Rodgers and company are one of only four NFL teams ever to average at least 40 points and 500 yards in their first two games. They’ve yet to turn the ball over and already have scored at least two touchdowns in four of eight quarters played. Other than that, they stink.
Liverpool vs. Arsenal (2 p.m., Peacock)
Liverpool, the Premier League’s reigning champ, aims to beat the Gunners for the fifth straight time at Anfield. That hasn’t happened since the 1980s, but you probably knew that already.
Lightning at Stars, Game 6 (if necessary; 7 p.m., Ch. 5)
Can the Stars come back from a 3-1 series deficit and win the title? They’ll have to catch lightning in a bubble. But seriously, folks.
Chiefs at Ravens (7:15 p.m., ESPN)
Here’s the thing about quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson: They’re good at football. Also: It’s even more fun to watch both of them than it is to watch one of them. No, you won’t find this brand of analysis just anywhere.
White Sox vs. TBD, Game 1
It’s not how you finish, but how you start, right? Forget the unsightly losing streak that messed with the Sox down the stretch of the regular season. Everybody’s 0-0. Giolito is ready. Let’s light this candle.
Cubs vs. TBD, Game 1
As people in this sport are fond of saying, often meaninglessly, “It’s baseball.” Well, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez and others on this team have done the whole “baseball” thing at the highest level before. Here we go again?
White Sox vs. TBD, Game 2
If Keuchel is going to be to the Sox what Jon Lester has been to the Cubs, this is where it begins in earnest.
Cubs vs. TBD, Game 2
Let Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer have his Cy Young award. If Darvish does in the playoffs what he did in the regular season, he’s an instant legend in this town.
Broncos at Jets (7:20 p.m., NFLN)
Speaking of instant legends … wait, our bad, this is the Broncos and the Jets. Let’s try this: Do you like football? Technically, this is football.
Texas A&M at Alabama (2:30 p.m., Ch. 2)
The SEC’s opening weekend of games basically took the college season from, like, a 2 to, like, a 6 on the excitement-o-meter all by itself. Here’s another good — potentially great — one.
The Preakness (3:30 p.m., Ch. 5)
Kentucky Derby winner Authentic is the favorite in Baltimore. Authentic? Baltimore? Are we the only ones suddenly thinking about crab cakes?
Auburn at Georgia (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
See: previous SEC comments. Yeah, we know, Big Ten fans, it gets kind of old.