This West Coast trip hasn’t treated the Chicago Cubs all that well. They currently down 2-1 in this best of seven National League Championship Series to the Los Angele Dodgers. Joe Maddon will turn to John Lackey in a must-win Game 4.
Although it’s still early, last night’s contest between these two National League powerhouses was a bit frustrating. The Chicago Cubs had an early opportunity at jumping ahead early with runners on second and third, and only one out. It did not go as the Cubs had hoped.
Momentum is clearly on the Dodgers’ side. Los Angeles has shut down the Cubs in two straight games, doing what the San Francisco Giants couldn’t do. Behind great pitching from Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and closer Kenley Jansen, Chicago’s bats have been silent.
Last night’s lineup looked a tad bit different, moving Ben Zobrist ahead of the struggling Anthony Rizzo who batted cleanup. Rizzo worked a walk and singled late in the game but that was about it for Chicago’s slugger.
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Now with the Cubs clinging on to what feels a thread, our hopes are that they are able to turn things around both on the mound and offensively. Will they manage to tie things up? Or will Los Angeles have a shot at winning the series in front of their home crowd?
Tonight’s contest will feature a seasoned veteran with a ton of postseason experience and a 20-year-old southpaw who will become the youngest starting pitcher to make a postseason start. Not to mention, he has faced the Cubs before and it did not o well for him.
Redemption or Bust
Lackey took the mound just a week ago against the San Francisco Giants. It has been a week since the Cubs clinched a spot in the NLCS. Despite the Cubs ending the night by celebrating, Lackey surrendered three earned runs on seven hits in four innings of work.
One of his shortest outings of the season which didn’t sit well with the frustrated 37-year-old who was brought in for this very reason. Lackey has proven to be a strong playoff pitcher, holding a career 8-5 record with an earned run average of 3.22 in 24 appearances, and a combined 131 1/3 innings.
As for Urias, on the other hand, as mentioned earlier, it’s going to be his first career postseason start as a big league pitcher. Los Angeles’s young hurler pitched two innings against the Washington Nationals, holding them to one hit but issued two walks and struck out one hitter in the process.
Considering his experience, and age, the Cubs need to capitalize on the fact that this could be more pressure on him than anything. Having to pitch in such a big game, a few out from the World Series has to be nerve-wracking for someone who just turned 20 in August.
First pitch for tonight’s contest is set for another 7:00 P.M. CT start and will air live on FS1, 670 The Score. Now here is a look at both starting lineup’s that have been put together by Joe Maddon and Dave Roberts.