LOS ANGELES DODGERS (109-58)
at CHICAGO CUBS (95-74)
NLDS – Game 3 – Wrigley Field – Chicago, IL
First pitch: Tuesday, 9:05 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles +105, Chicago -115, Total: N/A
The Dodgers will be looking to take a commanding 3-0 series lead when they take on the Cubs on Tuesday.
The Dodgers won on a walk-off homer in Game 2, and they now have a 2-0 lead in this series against the defending World Series champs. Los Angeles does, however, know that this is when the series gets hard, as it will not be easy for the Dodgers to go into Wrigley Field and take a win here. The Cubs are still one of the better teams in baseball and know that they can get back into this series by coming away with a win on Tuesday. Their backs are against the wall, but they’ve also been there before. Last year, the Cubs came back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Indians in the World Series. That has prepared them for pretty much any situation moving forward. The starters in this Tuesday night game are going to be RHP Yu Darvish (1-0, 1.80 ERA, 7 K in one postseason start) for Los Angeles and RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-0, 3.27 ERA, 13 K in two postseason starts) for Chicago. Both guys have done some good work in the playoffs, so it wouldn’t be shocking if this game were to be a pitcher’s duel.
The Dodgers have a chance to essentially put this series away with a victory on Tuesday and Yu Darvish is the guy that will need to put the team on his back in this one. Darvish did just that in his first postseason start for Los Angeles, as he allowed just one earned run in five innings of work in a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks in Game 3 last series. Darvish struck out seven batters in that game and the Dodgers would certainly take another performance exactly like that one here. It will, however, be tough against a Cubs team that knows that a win on Tuesday is an absolute must. On offense, the Dodgers will need some of the usual suspects to come through at the plate here. That means that guys like 3B Justin Turner, OF Cody Bellinger, and OF Yasiel Puig will need to step their games up here. Turner should be counted on pretty heavily in this one, and he has shown that he is able to handle it. He is the one that hit the walk-off homer in Game 2 and his confidence is through the roof right now.
The Cubs can’t afford to lose this Game 3 on Tuesday night, so expect their stars to show up here. The one guy that absolutely must be at his best here is Hendricks, who struggled a bit in Game 5 last series. Hendricks allowed four earned runs in four innings against the Nationals in that game, but his team was able to pick him up and help them win the game. Hendricks knows that he can’t leave it to chance again, though. He will need to pitch a lot more like he did in Game 1 against Washington, as he allowed no earned runs in seven innings of work in that game. It wouldn’t be surprising if he were to match that outing, as he seemingly is at his best under pressure. And on offense, 1B Anthony Rizzo and 3B Kris Bryant are the guys that must do some damage at the plate here. If they can’t produce some runs then it’s hard to imagine the Cubs moving on.