The NLCS quickly moves into game 2 after a classic opener to this series, which brings us to Clayton Kershaw on the mound for his third start of the postseason and fourth appearance overall, as the Los Angeles Dodgers hope that he’s the answer to slowing down the Chicago Cubs offense.
The Cubs hit a couple of home runs, and always seemed like a team waiting to go off in game 1, which they did eventually. Things were more difficult for the Dodgers, who didn’t do well against Jon Lester, crossing their fingers the offense figures out Kyle Hendricks a little bit sooner.
Previous game: The Cubs won 8-4, but one moment stood above the rest – Miguel Montero hitting a grand slam home run, coming in to pinch hit between Aroldis Chapman and Hector Rondon. The game was tied at 3-3, with 2 out, 3 on in the 8th. Joe Blanton led the game slip away from him and the Dodgers for good by giving up that home run, followed by Dexter Fowler adding a solo homer. Kenta Maeda struggled, Jon Lester played well, and it came down to which bullpen messed up the least. The Dodgers were doing fine, until things got complicated, and they couldn’t figure out how to get out of it.
Starting pitchers: It feels as if Clayton Kershaw has been involved in every NLDS game for the Dodgers. He had two starts and one closer appearance, overall pitching for 12.1 innings in the postseason, posting a 5.84 ERA, but also striking out 14.1 batters per nine innings. He hasn’t pitched against the Cubs this season, but has one batter he constantly struggles against: Dexter Fowler. In 44 at bats, Fowler is batting .409 vs Kershaw.
Kyle Hendricks was the ERA king of the National League thanks to Kershaw missing too many games during the regular season. He didn’t look too kingly in a 5-2 win over the Giants in the NLDS, lasting only 3.2 innings, giving up 4 hits and two runs. He did rather well in his only appearance against the Dodgers this season, throwing for 8 innings, allowing 3 hits and two runs while striking out 6. He hasn’t really had any long track records against Dodgers batters, but three of them have home runs against him, including Justin Turner.
Hot bats: For the Cubs, Montero and Fowler hit home runs which makes them hot heading into game 2. Javier Baez and Kris Bryant also looked good with a couple of hits and an RBI. Both of them have been the team’s best hitters in the postseason, with 8 hits so far, batting .400.
The Dodgers got a pinch hit home run from Andre Ethier, two hits and two RBIs from Adrian Gonzalez, and two hits and an RBI from Andrew Toles. Justin Turner, batting .368 for the Dodgers in the postseason, was 1-for-4.