After taking game two on Justin Turner’s walk-off three-run home run, the Los Angeles Dodgers will look to place even more pressure on the Chicago Cubs and go up three games to none in this series. The Cubs’ offense has simply been silent during the first two games of the series – they’ll have to wake up if they want to avoid digging themselves into an even deeper hole.
The Cubs have to be concerned with what their offense has done so far. It feels like the Dodgers have had their number but it is possible that the Cubs were a little hungover from their exciting NLDS series, which went the distance. At any rate, the Cubs offense has yet to show up, scoring three runs in two games. If they can’t get their bats to start clicking in Game 3, this series is all but finished. It will be hard to envision the Cubs coming all the way back with Clayton Kershaw still in the Dodgers pocket.
Why The Dodgers Might Win
After sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers haven’t missed a beat – they’re won five in a row this postseason and are looking like the team that went 43-7 for the best 50-game stretch in the MLB since 1912. The Dodgers will roll with Yu Darvish, who was 10-12 with a 3.86 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 10.1 K/9, 0.28:1 BB:K ratio, and 1.31 HR/9 rate. This will be Darvish’s first start this year against the Cubs and with a limited sample size against the Cubs’ hitters, this might very well work to Darvish’s advantage. If Darvish is able to string together six or seven solid innings, the Dodgers’ bullpen, nearly unhittable thus far in the postseason, should be able to put the Cubs away. The Dodgers know that this is a pivotal game – they don’t want to give the Cubs any glimmer of hope. The Dodgers’ hitters are rolling, their bullpen has been unhittable, and their starting pitching has been terrific. All signs are pointing to the Dodgers heading towards the cusp of advancing to the World Series.
Why The Cubs Might Win
The Cubs are in a world of trouble, being down 2-0 to the Dodgers, and having no answer for the Dodgers’ pitching staff. Simply put, the Cubs’ offense has been on a standstill – they should consider themselves quite lucky to have defeated the Washington Nationals given the way their offense and bullpen performed. The Cubs will go with Kyle Hendricks in a must-win game three. Hendricks compiled a 7-5 record with a 3.03 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 1.19 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 0.33:1 BB:K ratio, and 1.10 HR/9 rate. While Hendricks struggled during the first half, he’s been much better during the second half of the season, with the Cubs putting together the best second-half record in the NL. This game will be Hendricks first start this year against the Dodgers. While Hendricks also has a limited sample size against the Dodger hitters, he’s had decent success against the Dodgers’ best hitter in Justin Turner, holding Turner to a slash line of .167/.286/.417 with 1 HR, 2 BB, and 2 K in 12 AB. The Cubs’ bullpen has been faltering as of late and they desperately need Hendricks to go deep into the game, which he is definitely capable of. If the Cubs can just somehow get the ball to closer Wade Davis with a lead, they should be fine to take game three.
It’s difficult not to get caught up with the Cubs’ performance during the first two games of the series. After all, they came back from multiple situations during their World Series championship run last year where they looked all but defeated. It’s hard for me to see the Cubs going down 3-0 in the series against the Dodgers, especially playing in a must-win game three. I’ll say the Cubs squeak this one out in a one-run game.
Chicago opened up as a -119 favorite for this game. The line originally went up as high as -121 – a minor move – but has since dropped back down to -115. Don’t expect a ton of movement one way or another.
Pick: Cubs -115
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