North: Rizzo, Bryant, Posey should settle this NLDS series
Joe Maddon said it best: be careful what you wish for!
The Cubs will play the San Francisco Giants Friday night at Wrigley Field while the New York Mets, who swept the Cubs in the playoffs last year, are gone.
The North Siders face a team that, according to history, should win this year. The Giants win every other year and this is their even-numbered year for another championship.
They are also the only organization to win the World Series as a wild-card team. The ace of the team, Madison Bumgarner, won't start until the third game, but the Giants have won three times in six years and they believe this is their year again.
The Cubs haven't played a meaningful game in three weeks, and the Giants played to close out the regular season. Of course, that happened because the Cubs dominated the regular season and clinched early.
The Giants, however, have already proved they are capable of dominating in the postseason.
Would I prefer to play the Mets or the Giants? Hey, they are both tough opponents.
Jon Lester was solid in the playoffs when he pitched for Boston with a 3-2 record and an ERA well below 3. But with the Cubs he has been 0-2 in the playoffs with an ERA above 5, so I'm a little concerned about the pressure even though he had a stellar year at 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA.
The Giants have a master's degree in postseason play, and the Cubs don't know what it will take yet to win it all.
Maddon versus Bruce Bochy is really no contest because Bochy has three World Series rings to his credit, and Maddon is looking for his first.
But when it comes to the team and the players, the Cubs get the nod, especially if the pitchers can perform like they are capable.
Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant will be the catalysts, but Dexter Fowler is my wild-card player in this series. If he gets on base and Rizzo or Bryant can deliver, the Cubs will move on.
If Rizzo and Bryant fall on hard times, the Cubs won't win this series. It's that simple.
For the Giants, their wild-card player is and always has been Buster Posey, the most important member of their team. The all-star catcher calls a great game and is a good hitter.
If the Cubs can handcuff Posey, they will move on. The series won't be a walk in the park, and could be the toughest in a long time, but the Cubs' wait might finally be over.
• Follow Mike North on Twitter @north2north. His column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.