The Chicago Cubs are hoping to keep their season alive as they welcome in the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is their second consecutive year in which they reached the NLCS.
Other than the Chicago Cubs’ offense needing to find its groove ahead of the NLCS, the starting rotation has a few kinks they need to work out. Especially when it comes to veteran right-hander John Lackey who struggled against the Giants.
Lackey had a tough time against San Francisco and southpaw Matt Moore. Moore dominated the game, pitching eight strong innings and turning in 10 strikeouts in the process. However, just when it looked as if the Giants were going to force Game 5, Chicago’s offense came alive.
When it comes to offense, Cubs pitchers have helped their own cause. Jake Arrieta hammered a home run off Madison Bumgarner and Travis Wood went yard at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks came through with a two-run RBI knock of his own.
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One concern moving forward was Kyle Hendricks and his health moving forward following his first postseason start last week.
Skipper Joe Maddon and a trainer made their way out to the mound moments after Kyle had a pitch hit right back at him.
Despite the injury, Maddon has penciled Kyle as his Game 2 starter against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday as reported by CBS Chicago. Which is great news for this ball club moving forward and saves them from having to make a roster move ahead of the series.
Same Order, Different Results?
And while Kyle stayed in the No. 2 spot behind Lester, reigning Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta will take the road opener. Arrieta was brilliant in San Francisco, yielding two earned runs on six hits while issuing one walk and striking out five through six frames.
Unfortunately, the Cubs were unable to provide him with a win as the Giants rallied with Aroldis Chapman on the mound in the eighth. Disappointing end result but Arrieta remained confident in his teammates following the game.
Just like the NLDS, Lackey will pick up the fourth game of the series. In fact, there is a very good chance that he will be starting opposite Dodgers’ ace, Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw pitched in Game 4 against the Nationals and came in to record a two-out save to help his club advance.
Through four innings of work, the Giants tallied three runs on seven hits while drawing two walks and striking out four times. Speedy outfielder Denard Span, who was key for the Giants in that series, beat out Lackey at first who attempted to turn a double-play.
Lackey lost his footing after stepping on the bag. As a result, he slipped and allowed a run to score but held on to the ball to prevent the runners from moving forward. Hopefully, his next outing will go a lot smoother than Tuesday’s.
Regardless, Chicago has one of the best starting rotations and bullpens in the league. Not to mention, their starting lineup is still intact. Although they are going to need to step it up early rather than having to battle back late in the game.
It is great to have a group of guys who refuse to give up. Just don’t need to put them in that position. We all love drama, trust me, it’s postseason baseball. But if you’re capable of forcing Dave Roberts to dip into his bullpen early, then by all means, do just that.