Phil Rogers joined MLB.com in 2013, and has covered Major League Baseball since 1984.
|As dramatic as their late-season series as Wrigley Field was, the intrigue is just getting started for the Cubs and Cardinals.
More» Maddon previews matchup with Cardinals|
|They've played more than 2,300 times, but the Cubs and Cardinals have never played any games that mean more than the ones they're going to play over the next week. Yet along the way the Cubs and Cardinals have built one of baseball's greatest rivalries, with passion on the field and in the stands whether playing for first place or bragging rights alone.
More»Longtime rivals start new chapter with NLDS showdown|
|It was little wonder that the Pirates' frustration boiled over during Wednesday night's 4-0 loss to the Cubs in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, with Jake Arrieta in control and another great season nearing a quick end in the postseason.
More» Hurdle on Wild Card loss to Arrieta, Cubs|
|How do you end a 107-year drought? You have to start somewhere, and if this turns out to be The Year, history will record that the beginning of the end came at PNC Park, with Jake Arrieta dominating the Pirates in Wednesday night's 4-0 win in the National League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, as he has so many opponents during a season in which he's made manager Joe Maddon think about Bob Gibson, circa 1968.
More» Arrieta dominates, fans 11 in four-hit shutout|
|There are some shots that you should never call. The expectations are too great, the odds too long. Jake Arrieta rolling through October, carrying the Cubs to a World Series title on his broad shoulders, is one of those triple bank shots to sink the eight ball, with everyone in the room watching. He might be able to pull it off, but it's unfair -- borderline insane -- to expect it.
More»Phil Rogers discusses NL Wild Card on MLB Tonight|
|Location, location, location. Like in real estate, it can be a key to success in baseball. The Pirates know that as well as anyone, and the challenges they face aren't getting easier any time soon, not with the Cubs joining the Cardinals in constructing a powerhouse built to last.
More»Bucs look to keep momentum going in NL Wild Card Game|
|Scherzer, who left the Tigers to sign a seven-year, $210-million contract with the Nationals in January, has been everything the Nats hoped he'd be, even if 2015 has been a disappointing season for the consensus pre-season favorite.
More» Scherzer K's nine straight en route to no-no|
|There were bigger trades last winter, maybe even dozens of them. There were trades with much bigger implications. But was there a better trade than the one that the Astros and Cubs executed on Jan. 19?
More» Fowler drives in two with double|
|Good never seems good enough and great sometimes gets topped by even greater. So go ahead and pick your own qualifier to describe the 2015 season, but make sure it's one you've saved for a special occasion.
More» Heyward makes great leaping grab at the wall|
|Never underestimate the competitiveness of baseball players and the men who put teams together. No matter the circumstances, they always want to win.
More» Cueto provides six solid innings for Royals|
|Hiring Epstein was the first big move, but there were plenty of other big decisions that resulted in the Cubs clinching a postseason berth.
More»Cubs earn first playoff spot since 2008|
|He doesn't have the hardware nor the contract to match other National League aces, but here's what matters: Gerrit Cole is the guy the Pirates want to have on the mound in a game they have to win. Of course they do.
More» Cole allows only one run, fans eight in win|
|Joe Maddon's talented, wide-eyed Cubs have flashed the promise of a dynasty in the making, which showed last weekend when they took two out of three from the Cardinals in a pulsating series at Wrigley Field. But now, here come the Pirates this weekend, and the Cubs have to state their case all over again.
More»Castrovince talks Cubs and Pirates with Russo|
|The Cubs know that ace Jake Arrieta had never reached 180 innings in a pro season before this year. But they are saddling up to ride him as far as possible this October, because they believe he can handle it.
More» Arrieta hurls eight strong in no-decision|
|Winning is never easy, even when a team makes it look automatic. The Cardinals did that throughout much of this season, even though they didn't have their ace, Adam Wainwright, and have had to grind out runs with Matt Adams and Matt Holliday playing only a combined 116 games.
More» Martinez strikes out six over 6 2/3|
|Any more doubt about how dangerous the Cubs can be in October?
More» Russell makes outstanding dive, ends game|
|There's no doubt that the Cardinals are seeing something in Chicago they can't like -- a renewed, highly competitive team built around some of the best young players in baseball. Holding off the Pirates and the Cubs won't be easy. But that's the business of the sport.
More» Maddon on Cards retaliating with Rizzo's HBP|
|Joe Maddon's Cubs have been one of the best stories in baseball this season, and it appears that they, like the Cardinals, may finally be built to last.
More» Bryant crushes two-run homer to center field|
|It's not too early to start envisioning the pitch-by-pitch drama of the National League Wild Card Game, with two of the nastiest, most stubbornly intense pitchers in the game on the mound. Gerrit Cole and Jake Arrieta have shown all season that they're capable of producing masterpieces, so why not oppose each other in a win-or-go-home game?
More» Arrieta stifles Phillies, collects 19th win|
|This is what Cy Young Award winners do. Jake Arrieta, if he can remain locked in over the next three weeks, should become the first Cub to win the Cy since Greg Maddux in 1992. And make no mistake about it: This guy is locked in.
More» Arrieta stifles Phillies, collects 19th win|