Yesterday, the Cubs did what they needed to do: win one of their games in L.A., ensuring a return to Wrigley Field.
Tonight, they can do a lot more.
As of today, the Cubs odds of winning the NLCS land somewhere between a coin-flip and slightly in their favor, but a win over Kenta Maeda and the Dodgers tonight would change things dramatically.
And, although it’s not a must-win (whatever that really means in a non-elimination game), facing Clayton Kershaw in a win-or-go-home Game 6 is not something anyone wants to see – even if the Cubs’ bats have turned things around.
So, starting for the Cubs tonight is their Game 1 starter and de facto ace, Jon Lester. His start to open the NLCS featured great results (6.0 IP, 4H, 1ER, 1BB, 3Ks), but so-so reviews from manager Joe Maddon. That said, his left-handedness, experience, and overall skill-set is definitely what you want out there on a night like tonight in a match-up against these Dodgers.
Opposing Lester, once again, is Kenta Maeda. Before the start of the series, I previewed Kenta Maeda, taking a look back through his first season in Major League Baseball. Everything in there is still relevant, so take a peek before tonight. Since that post, of course, Maeda started in Game 1 of the NLCS, opposite Lester. And, for that night, the Cubs got to him. Exiting after just 4.0 innings, the Cubs scored three earned runs and took more walks (3) than strikeouts (2). That start was also Maeda’s second of the postseason. His first – Game 3 of the NLDS – came against the Nationals, against whom he lasted just 3.o innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts.
It’s not a bad match-up for the Cubs, but the bats must keep things rolling if they want to take a real advantage back to Wrigley Field.
Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers (Series tied 2-2) – 7:08 pm 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.
Cubs: Jon Lester (L): 2.44 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 3.47 xFIP; 3.79 K/BB
Dodgers: Kenta Maeda (R): 3.48 ERA, 3.58 FIP, 3.70 xFIP; 3.58 K/BB
Los Angeles Dodgers:
- Kiké Hernandez, 2B
- Justin Turner, 3B
- Corey Seager, SS
- Carlos Ruiz, C
- Howie Kendrick, LF
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
- Yasiel Puig, RF
- Joc Pederson, CF
- Kenta Maeda, P
Chicago Cubs Lineup:
- Dexter Fowler, CF
- Kris Bryant, 3B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Ben Zobrist, LF
- Javy Baez, 2B
- Jason Heyward, RF
- Addison Russell, SS
- David Ross, C
- Jon Lester, P