Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

It's do-or-die time for winless teams

Per ESPN Stats & Info, only one team to start 0-4 (1992 Chargers) has reached the playoffs under the current format (since 1990). But 14 percent of 1-3 teams have done so in that span, including the Chiefs and Texans last year.

Lineup: Cubs (101-57) at Pirates (78-80)

  • 1. Tommy La Stella, 3B(L)
  • 2. Albert Almora, CF(R)
  • 3. Addison Russell, SS(R)
  • 4. W. Contreras, LF(R)
  • 5. Javier Baez, 1B(R)
  • 6. Matt Szczur, RF(R)
  • 7. Tim Federowicz, C(R)
  • 8. M. Kawasaki, 2B(L)
  • SP: Rob Zastryzny, RHP


Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Watch Joe Maddon discuss his plans for this weekend. Relievers will be "choreographed" while his regulars will play but bench guys are still going to get some at bats.


Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Watch Joe Maddon react to some complaints from players about the "spring feel" to games since the team clinched home field advantage. He starts by saying their 7-2 in their last 9 games.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Another Kris Bryant shot as Mike Ditka.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Here's Kris Bryant wearing a Mike Ditka jersey.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Joe Maddon sporting his Lafayette College jersey.


Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Watch Chris Coghlan discuss his ankle injury which he says is very mild.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Cubs players are wearing football jerseys on getaway day in Pittsburgh. Addison Russell, Javier Baez and Ben Zobrist are wearing Walter Payton while Kris Bryant is sporting a Mike Ditka jersey. Chris Coghlan has Barry Sanders hanging in his locker stall.

Jesse Rogers ESPN Staff Writer 

Jason Hammel will miss his final start on Friday as his elbow has been bothering him a bit for the past couple weeks. He stressed that he's fine and it's just a precautionary measure. The Cubs will use a combo of relievers in his place. Hammel believes he'll be fine for the postseason if he's needed.

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

McDermott on what Dwyane Wade gave him for his number. Wade is wearing his customary #3 -- McDermott is now wearing #11. "He still hasn't given me anything," McDermott said. "He told me he's going to give me a lot of open shots. So that's the trade-off."

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Doug McDermott, on if it has been strange coming to work and not seeing Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah: "It's weird," McDermott said after Thursday's practice. "It still doesn't quite feel real. But I think it's for the better. Not saying anything bad about those guys, obviously they meant a lot to this organization and helped me a lot. But I think we just needed a new vibe and I think we got it with these guys. And I just feel like everyone is -- the vibe is different. It's a much better better vibe. Obviously, wish those guys the best in New York."

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Doug McDermott, on if coach Fred Hoiberg has treated players differently in his second season: "He's been much more demanding on us. He's really vocal out there and I've noticed a difference for sure. Obviously, he's real hard on himself about last year, as we are too. We don't want that to happen again so we're going to do everything we can right off the bat to try and fix it."

Nick Friedell ESPN Staff Writer 

Denzel Valentine said he's been playing mostly on the wings in practice, a little at point. About "70/30" he said.

Jeff Dickerson ESPN Staff Writer 

Besides Cutler, the Bears had five additional players miss practice on Thursday -- NT Eddie Goldman, RB Jeremy Langford, RB Ka'Deem Carey, ILB Danny Trevathan and CB Jacoby Glenn (personal reasons). Also, WR Alshon Jeffery was limited with knee and hamstring issues.

Darren Rovell ESPN Senior Writer 

Here's what $2,700 buys you right now for Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field, according to ticketing app Gametime

Jeff Dickerson ESPN Staff Writer 

Bears QB Jay Cutler did not practice on Thursday, increasing the likelihood Brian Hoyer remains Chicago's starting quarterback on Sunday vs. Detroit. Cutler had been limited on Wednesday, but coach John Fox said the team, "did not want to aggravate" Cutler's right thumb injury.

Getty Images
5hMatt Fortuna and David Hale

Breaking down Notre Dame-Syracuse

Can the Irish rebound this week from a disappointing loss to Duke, or will the Orange keep rolling following their upset of UConn?

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

Chapman poised for big contract?

Closers are worth more these days, and Aroldis Chapman is one of the best of the bunch. Expect him to be paid accordingly as a free agent this winter. Bowden: FA value watch (Insider)

NFL 60-second preview for Week 4 (1:03)

Jeff Dickerson ESPN Staff Writer 

Bears head coach John Fox is back at practice on Thursday. Fox stayed home on Wednesday because of a bad stomach bug. He will probably be listed as questionable on tomorrow's final injury report.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Kyle Hendricks surpassed expectations

Keith Law admits that he once wrote Hendricks off as a fifth starter. Now, the right-hander is a leading candidate for the NL Cy Young. Hendricks' pitch mix is better than expected, but it's unlikely that he can stay this good moving forward. Law: Players I was wrong about (Insider)