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Everyone seemingly has a preference as to which team they'd like to see the Cubs play in the National League Division Series.Perhaps the best option is the Mets, who clinched a wild-card spot on Saturday, but have been hit hard by injuries, particularly...

Cubs don't give a bleep about their 1st-round playoff opponent

Everyone seemingly has a preference as to which team they'd like to see the Cubs play in the National League Division Series.Perhaps the best option is the Mets, who clinched a wild-card spot on Saturday, but have been hit hard by injuries, particularly...

Cubs don't give a bleep about their 1st-round playoff opponent

Everyone seemingly has a preference as to which team they'd like to see the Cubs play in the National League Division Series.

Perhaps the best option is the Mets, who clinched a wild-card spot on Saturday, but have been hit hard by injuries, particularly to their rotation.

Or maybe it's the Giants, who edged the Cardinals for the final spot Sunday, considering they've cooled off considerably in the second half.

"Who gives a (bleep)?" Jake Arrieta said. "Now the fun starts. That's what we've been waiting three weeks for."

Both of the wild-card teams can pose problems for the Cubs, who finished with 103 wins and can sit back in their comfy chairs on Wednesday night and scout their opponents for themselves.

The Mets have built a reputation as one of the most resilient teams in baseball, while the Giants have won championships in each of the last three even-numbered years.

"The Giants? It's 2016 so they're going to be tough to beat, no doubt," Anthony Rizzo said, referring to the every-other-year theory. "Same as the Mets with the experience they gained last year. That (wild-card) game will be a fun game to watch, especially with (Noah) Syndergaard and (Madison) Bumgarner.

"It's fun for baseball, those wild-card games, and we're happy we're not partaking in them this year."

The Cubs finished the year with a wild, ninth-inning comeback win over the Reds and then soaked manager Joe Maddon in his office for posting his 200th win in two seasons in Chicago.

Cubs savor one last victory party before playoffs begin Mark Gonzales

CINCINNATI — After seizing their 103rd victory in dramatic fashion Sunday, the Cubs afforded themselves one last postgame party before shifting focus to more urgent business.

Manager Joe Maddon was a "victim" of the celebration, as he was doused with cold water in his office after the Cubs rallied...

CINCINNATI — After seizing their 103rd victory in dramatic fashion Sunday, the Cubs afforded themselves one last postgame party before shifting focus to more urgent business.

Manager Joe Maddon was a "victim" of the celebration, as he was doused with cold water in his office after the Cubs rallied...

(Mark Gonzales)

"Man, cold water is cold," Maddon said. "That's my Yogi-ism for the day."

Now the Cubs can dry out, relax and think about their next opponent.

The Mets won five of seven games in the season series in 2016, and of course swept the Cubs in last year's National League Championship Series, holding them to a .164 average and allowing only eight runs in the four games.

But two of the winning pitchers, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, are out for the season, and since Syndergaard is scheduled to start the wild-card game he probably won't be available until Game 3 of the NLDS.

The Cubs won four of seven games in this year's season series against the Giants, taking three of four at Wrigley Field the first week of September. It turned out to be one of the most exciting series of the season, and the Giants' only win came when Bumgarner beat Arrieta.

"This is the best ballclub in baseball," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the Cubs after that game. "Look at their record."

The Giants have played the Cubs only once in a postseason series, winning 4-1 in the 1989 NLCS. They also lost to the Cubs in a wild-card tiebreaker game at Wrigley Field in 1998.

With Bumgarner pitching in Wednesday's wild-card game, the Cubs may see Johnny Cueto in Game 1 and either Matt Moore or ex-Cub Jeff Samardzija in Game 2.

Cubs fans hate the Mets with a passion, mostly based on the infamous 1969 season, so revenge would be on the minds of many. Before the Cubs played the Mets at Wrigley in July, they had lost eighth straight to New York, including a four-game sweep at Citi Field.

Theo Epstein finds perspective in quest to bring Cubs a World Series Ted Gregory

The day before the Cubs announced Theo Epstein's five-year contract extension, he sat in a vacant Wrigley Field and considered how he has changed since 2002. That year the Boston Red Sox made him the youngest general manager in baseball history.

"I think I believed a lot more of my own bull......

The day before the Cubs announced Theo Epstein's five-year contract extension, he sat in a vacant Wrigley Field and considered how he has changed since 2002. That year the Boston Red Sox made him the youngest general manager in baseball history.

"I think I believed a lot more of my own bull......

(Ted Gregory)

Asked in July what he knew about the special hatred Cubs fans have for that franchise, Kris Bryant replied: "Nothing. Honestly I haven't heard anything, just (about) the teams that are in our division. Obviously the Mets have played us tough these last eight games, but if you looked at the games before (2015), we played them tough, so I guess the scales were just evening out. ... It's just another baseball game we have a chance to do something special in. Hopefully we can change the opinions of everyone here."

Bryant pointed out that the 2015 Mets were much different than this year's version.

"Daniel Murphy killed us," he said.

Murphy, now with the Nationals, went 7-for-19 with four home runs, including one apiece off starters Jon Lester, Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks.

Lester, expected to be the Cubs' Game 1 starter on Friday at Wrigley, has pitched against each team twice this year, with mixed results.

The last time Lester faced the Giants he pitched a three-hitter on Sept. 2 at Wrigley. Earlier this season in San Francisco, he gave up five runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings in a 5-3 loss on May 21.

When Lester faced the Mets on July 3 at Citi Field, he allowed eight runs on nine hits in 1 1/3 innings. But he came back in his next start against the Mets, limiting them to one run on four hits over 7 1/3 innings on July 18 at Wrigley.

Mets or Giants? Which one should the Cubs want to play?

"It's interesting, and for me that has to be organic," Maddon said. "The moment you start wishing for something. … Be careful of what you wish for."

psullivan@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @PWSullivan

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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