No rest for the wicked as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs don’t get much rest before the crucial game 5 in L.A., with the series tied at 2-2.
The short rest comes for both upcoming starting pitchers, Jon Lester and Kenta Maeda, who faced each other in game 1 of the series, which was less than a week ago. The Cubs finally breaking whatever barrier held them up from scoring puts more pressure on the Dodgers to leave themselves with more to work with once the series heads back to Chicago, while the Cubs feel that Lester is their best bet right now of taking the lead again, which leaves them with a need to win one of two at Wrigley Field.
Previous Game: The Cubs won game 4, getting 13 hits en route to a 10-2 win, coming after two games in which they managed just four hits and 0 runs. The Cubs scored four runs in the 4th inning off of Julio Urias including a two-run homer by Addison Russell, and added another homer in the 5th by Anthony Rizzo. The Dodgers got back in the game with Justin Turner hitting a two-RBI single, but once the Cubs pulled John Lackey and went to the bullpen, there was very little to see from the Dodgers bats. Then in the sixth inning, the Cubs kept coming back, this time against Ross Stripling. They scored five runs, including two RBI singles by Dexter Fowler and Rizzo again, making for a huge difference from the previous two performances.
Starting pitchers: Unless there’s a last minute surprise, the Cubs are going with Lester, who has looked terrific in this postseason, with an 0.64 ERA through 14 innings. He gave up four hits and one run in the six-inning appearance against the Dodgers in game 1, striking out 3 batters. Andre Ethier with a home run was the only one who managed to score something off of him.
Same line here: If there are no surprises, Kenta Maeda will be the starter for the Dodgers, opting to give Kershaw one more day of rest. If this was a potential clincher, they might have went with Kershaw, but he could make a bullpen appearance, who knows. Maeda has been poor in this postseason, his first in the majors. He has a 9.00 ERA, including not making it out of the fifth inning in the game 1 loss to the Cubs in this series. Overall, he’s been on the mound for just 7 innings in the playoffs, taken out early in a loss to the Nationals as well.
The Dodgers are taking a risk by putting Maeda on the mound, but they might be positioning themselves for a long bullpen appearance, which makes sense, or simply have faith Maeda turns it around. It’s not like they have much of a choice. Kershaw can’t pitch every game, and Rich Hill surely can’t after appearing 48 hours before. This might call for some creativity in the bullpen and using their starters there, but the Dodgers are banking on the Cubs offensive eruption being a one-time thing, not something that completely changes this series.