With the series tied at 1-1, the Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping that there’s more to their team than Clayton Kershaw, hosting the Chicago Cubs, who are hoping for the exact opposite.
The Dodgers once again will use Kershaw as humanly possible in this series, whether in a reliever role or on very short rests between starts. The result of game 3 could help them come to a decision, figuring out if they really do have starters they can trust, or is it just Kershaw and the bullpen that can stun the Cubs and win this series?
Previous game: One name, two words: Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers won 1-0 to tie the series, as Kershaw allowed only 2 hits while walking one in 7 innings, striking out 6. Then Kenley Jansen came on to pitch for two innings, picking up the save without anyone coming close to his stuff, striking out 4. The Cubs managed to put just one runner in a scoring position, and while their pitching was very good as well, you remember the guy who didn’t get scored on. Adrian Gonzalez hit a homerun off of Kyle Hendricks in the second inning, so it didn’t matter what the rest of the guys did after him on the mound.
Starting pitchers: Jake Arrieta wasn’t bad in his sole start in this postseason, but the bottom line was the Cubs lost to the San Francisco Giants, as he gave up six hits and two runs in that 6-5 loss, with the bullpen causing most of the damage. Something similar happened in a 5-0 loss to the Dodgers this season, as Arrieta allowed only two hits and 0 runs in 7 innings of work, but things fell apart after him. Josh Reddick and Gonzalez are the only players among current Dodgers to hit home runs against Arrieta.
Rich Hill has made two appearances against the Washington Nationals, overall pitching for 7 innings. It hasn’t been great, not even close to his production in the regular season. He has a 6.43 ERA through the two appearances, giving up 9 hits and five runs in the process. He hasn’t faced the Cubs this season, and considering his late career change, it’s not surprising to find that he has only four batters on the Cubs he’s actually pitched against previously.
It’s difficult speaking about hot bats in this series. It comes down to excellence on the mound. The Dodgers need to have something that’s more than Kershaw in order to win this series, although they can obviously use him for more than starts on in every 3 games, and they will. The Cubs, hitting poorly throughout this postseason (only a .193 batting average), need Arrieta to be the player he was during the first half of the season.