The Los Angeles Dodgers head into game 4 of the NLCS with a 2-1 lead, as the Chicago Cubs aren’t just trying to figure out a way to tie this series. They’re trying to find out why they haven’t been able to score in the last two games.
The Chicago Cubs have 0 runs and only 6 hits over the last two games. Maybe it’s just a funk, like they had before the All-Star break. But there’s no long rest now, and seeing the momentum in this series not only shift, but completely leave the best team during the regular season, could end up leaving them too stunned to make a difference anymore, as the Dodgers suddenly feel confident they have an advantage pretty much everywhere on the field.
Previous game: Jake Arrieta continued with his poor form in the second half of the season, with the Dodgers really opening things up by hitting a two-run homer in the 4th inning thanks to Yasmani Grandal. Rich Hill kept the Cubs at bay through six innings and the bullpen didn’t waver, resulting in the Dodgers winning 6-0 with Justin Turner also hitting a homerun, and the team taking their first NLCS lead since 1988, which is also the last time they won a world series.
Starting pitchers: John Lackey will take the mound for the Cubs, his second appearance in this postseason. The 37-year old had plenty of playoff experience, but he didn’t play well in his October 11 game against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS, giving up 7 hits and 3 runs through 4 innings. It’s the first time this season he’ll be facing the Dodgers, with Howie Kendrick and Adrian Gonzalez doing a pretty good job over the years of getting hits against him.
Rookie sensation Julio Urias will be on the mound for the Dodgers, making his second postseason appearance. His first one was a very short one: Two innings against the Washington Nationals. Urias allowed just one hit while striking out 1, as the Dodgers won 4-3 while using Urias in the bullpen. This time, he’ll probably get a lot more time on the mound. He faced the Cubs twice this season: His first game didn’t go so well, allowing six runs in 5 innings. He was a lot better in late August, giving up just one run in six innings. Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward have hit home runs against him.
So where does the offense come from for the Cubs? It’ll probably be Bryant or Baez, unless someone is planning on making a surprising contribution. The Cubs seem to be in the same position they were against the New York Mets a year ago. With all of a sudden this terrific team failing at every aspect, resulting in what looks like paving a road for another NLCS exit, which seems like a waste when this really is the most talented team in Baseball.