Friendly Confines should help Cubs
Chicago won NL-best 55 games at home in regular season
CHICAGO -- Lou Piniella doesn't think being at home will make much difference for the Cubs. His players think otherwise.
When Game 1 of the National League Division Series kicks off on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. CT, the Cubs will be the home team. It's the fourth time in the team's last seven playoff series since the 1945 World Series that they'll be in home whites.
"If anybody has a home-field advantage, it should be us," Chicago's Mark DeRosa said. "The amenities don't have a lot to offer to the visiting team. Getting bench players loose is not possible."
It is a little cramped in the visitors' clubhouse at Wrigley Field. This year, the Cubs were 55-26 at home, the most wins since the 1935 team won 56 games. Only Tampa Bay won more home games this season with 57.
"We play well at home," Piniella said. "I think we probably had as good a home record as any team in the National League. So we're happy to get the fifth game at home.
"But the playoffs are a lot different than the regular season. Teams are a little more rested, teams have had a little more success. It comes down to whoever pitches the best and whoever hits the timeliest and whoever plays the best defense.
"The home-field advantage, yeah, I'd rather play three games here, and if we can get through this round, four games here in the second round. But these teams that come in here, whoever they are, they're very capable of beating us."
The Cubs drew a record 3,300,200 fans to Wrigley this year, the largest single-season total for any venue in the city of Chicago.
"Playing here in the regular season is like a playoff atmosphere," Chicago's Jim Edmonds said.
They'll be loud Wednesday night when the NLDS begins. Having the fans behind them will help.
"They want it as bad as we do," DeRosa said. "We've put ourselves in a nice position. Hopefully, we can deliver. There's a lot of confidence in this clubhouse."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.