Chicago Cubs 2016 NL Central Championship Gear

wrigley stands crowdIt certainly was a grand opening for the Cubs as they took Game One of the National League Championship Series in dramatic fashion. Hopefully, everyone is well-rested enough to tackle what should be another game with an electric atmosphere at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and Dodgers.

Kyle Hendricks takes the ball in search of a better finish than his NLDS Game Two start – and more importantly, a win that would give the Cubs a 2-0 series lead. Hendricks left his NLDS start against the Giants after 3.2 innings because he took a line drive hit by Angel Pagan at 94 mph off his forearm.

Hendricks threw a side session prior to the Cubs’ series clincher in San Francisco and said he was “good to go.” Here’s hoping all systems are go for the Cy Young candidate.

Hendricks last faced the Dodgers on June 2, allowing two runs on three hits in eight innings. He struck out eight and walked one in a 7-2 Cubs win that was backed by home runs from Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo. The Dodgers look to be a good matchup for Hendricks, as their batting average and slugging percentage against changeups both rank in the bottom third of baseball. Notably, that Hendricks changeup works well against lefties.

Opposing Hendricks is Clayton Kershaw, whose 6.5 fWAR would have tied with Noah Syndergaard’s as baseball’s best had he thrown enough innings to qualify. Kershaw was special despite an injury-shortened season, owning a 31.6 percent strikeout rate and a minuscule 2.0 percent walk rate. He limited opposing hitters to a .183 average, suppressed homers (7.5 HR/FB%), and racked up a 49.4 percent ground ball rate. On top of that, he may have shaken off a postseason bugaboo with a seven-pitch, two-out save to clinch the NLDS against the Washington Nationals.

The Cubs haven’t faced Kershaw since 2015, when they split his two starts. Kershaw handcuffed the Cubs, who scored only one run (this Anthony Rizzo homer) in eight innings in a 4-1 loss at Dodgers Stadium. The Cubs beat Kershaw at Wrigley earlier that year, as Kris Bryant and Matt Szczur homered off him in a 4-2 Cubs win.

Game Info

Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs (CHI leads 1-0) – 7:00pm CT on FS1, 670 The Score, ESPN Radio

Game Thread and Series Preview

Your game thread is down in the comments, so let’s have some good, clean (safe-for-work) fun.

The Series Preview lives hereThe Lineup Discussion lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (R): 2.13 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 3.59 xFIP; 3.86 K/BB


Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (L): 1.69 ERA, 1.80 FIP, 2.28 xFIP; 15.64 K/BB

Los Angeles Dodgers:

  1. Chase Utley, 2B
  2. Corey Seager, SS
  3. Justin Turner, 3B
  4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  5. Josh Reddick, RF
  6. Joc Pederson, CF
  7. Yasmani Grandal, C
  8. Andrew Toles, LF
  9. Clayton Kershaw, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup:

  1. Dexter Fowler, CF
  2. Kris Bryant, 3B
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Ben Zobrist, LF
  5. Addison Russell, SS
  6. Javy Baez, 2B
  7. Willson Contreras, C
  8. Jason Heyward, RF
  9. Jon Lester, P

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