Cubs get top TBS crew for 1st round games

TBS is assigning its top announcing crew to cover the Cubs as the defending World Series champions begin their postseason bid for their first back-to-back titles in more than a century.

Ernie Johnson will be calling play-by-play with former pitcher Ron Darling offering analysis and Sam Ryan working as roving reporter when the Cubs' best-of-five National League Division Series with the Nationals opens Friday evening in Washington, D.C.

Only the first two of the Cubs' NLDS games have been slotted by Major League Baseball. Game 1 is set for 6:31 p.m. Friday and Game 2 is slated for 4:38 p.m. Saturday.

Game 3 is scheduled for Monday at Wrigley Field but does not yet have a start time in part because MLB does not know if it has four, three or two playoff games that day. That hinges on whether either or both of the American League Division Series extend to a fourth game.

If needed, a Cubs-Nationals Game 4 would be Tuesday at Wrigley and Game 5 Thursday at Nationals Park.

Johnson, Darling and Ryan will be coming to Game 1 of the Cubs-Nationals series from Arizona. They are working the Rockies-Diamondbacks NL wild card game on Wednesday night to determine which team goes on to meet the Dodgers in Los Angeles in the other NLDS playoff.

Darling and Ryan also will handle TBS' coverage of the National League Championship Series, beginning Oct. 14, although the earlier-than-usual, overlapping start of the pro basketball season means Johnson will miss the NLCS so he can assume his role as host of TNT's "Inside the NBA."

Taking over for Johnson during the NLCS will be Brian Anderson, who's doing TBS' play-by-play on the Dodgers' NLDS games with analysts Dennis Eckersley and Joe Simpson plus reporter Lauren Shehadi.

Those who get TBS at home can also access its postseason baseball telecasts by live streams via tbs.com and the Watch TBS app by logging in with their service provider user name and password.

In addition to being available Spanish through SAP (secondary audio programming), all of the NL postseason telecasts will be available on the CNN en Español channel.

Casey Stern will host TBS' pregame and postgame shows through the National League playoffs, joined by Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, nine-time All-Star Gary Sheffield and 2007 NL most valuable player Jimmy Rollins.

The AL wild card game is set for Tuesday on ESPN. The ALDS will be split by cable's Fox Sports 1 and MLB Network. FS1 can share the ALCS with Fox Broadcasting if it wants. But the World Series is set for Fox Broadcasting, carried locally by WFLD-Ch. 32.

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