NLCS Game 3 Preview: Cubs vs. Dodgers

Coming back to Chicago is always a good feeling. It's home for me. I love it here. I just landed this afternoon and I couldn't have asked for more perfect weather to return to. Currently, in Seattle, the rainy season has begun. I'll take mid 60's and sunny any day.

What I won't take is another loss. Not tonight. Not at home. I won't stand for it. And sure, you could say that I don't have "power over that kind of thing" or that I'm "delusional for thinking I can affect the outcome of a game." To those haters I say, "Psh."

In all seriousness, I'm nervous. I'm sure you are too. The Dodgers are now undefeated in the postseason in 2017 and are coming off one of the most exciting wins in postseason history on Sunday. If momentum exists in sports, the Dodgers certainly have it (a lot of it).

Yu Darvish doesn't scare me. The Dodger bats don't scare me. Being down 0-2 doesn't even scare me. What scares me is the lack of production by the lineup thus far. I'd look to see Javier Baez out of the lineup at second base in favor of Ben Zobrist for the late start tonight. Javy has yet to have a hit in the postseason and, while his glove is an asset (understatement), the Cubs need offense. Plain and simple.

Kyle Hendricks currently owns a career 2.60 ERA in postseason play. These moments don't frighten him in the least. Let's look for him to do what he does and put the offense in a good situation.

The Cubs gotta have this game.

Game information: 
8pm CST on TBS

Lineups:

-Cubs-
1. Ben Zobrist 2B
2. Kyle Schwarber LF
3. Kris Bryant 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo 1B
5. Willson Contreras C
6. Jon Jay CF
7. Addison Russell SS
8. Jason Heyward RF
9. Kyle Hendricks P

-Dodgers-
1. Chris Taylor SS
2. Cody Bellinger 1B
3. Justin Turner 3B
4. Yasiel Puig RF
5. Andre Ethier LF
6. Chase Utley 2B
7. Austin Barnes C
8. Joc Pederson CF
9. Yu Darvish P

Matchups:

[Courtesy of MLB.com]

screen-shot-2017-10-17-at-12-20-30-pm

Comments

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  • Score early, score often is the key tonight.

    I love Javy but agree he probably needs to sit at least to begin the game. I also would love to see LaStella lead off tonight but I know that is most likely not gonna happen. The Cubs need offense so why not throw an all offensive lineup out there to start.

    1. LaStella - 2b
    2. Zobrist - RF
    3. KB - 3rd
    4. Rizzo - 1b
    5. Russell - SS
    6. Schwarber - LF (although I would prefer Happ)
    7. Contreras - C
    8. Heyward - CF
    9 Hendricks - P

    Lots of offense & Heyward can make up for defensive shortcoming of Zobrist & Schwarber. Shift Heyward to right when Jay comes into pinch hit. I have always likes sliding KB & Rizzo down a spot, with LaStella & Zobrist usually seeing alot of pitches could equal more opportunities for Bryzzo. I know Maddon will not do this, one can dream.

  • In reply to Ronnie’sHairpiece:

    Well at least he moved Bryzzo & Willy down a slot, which is what I was hoping for. I also like Zobrist leading off

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    It just is so disappointing that the Cubs lead both games in this series and couldn't hold the Dodgers off in both games. These were winnable.
    Everyone complains about our bullpen, but during the second half CJ was pitching very well, Duensing pitched well all year and Monty was good too. Is it the pressure? Even Wilson pitched well for Detroit and yet when he came here he hasn't delivered. Do we need a different bullpen or just improving the psyche's of the our pitchers during the playoffs?

  • Wind will be blowing out tonight around 10-15 MPH, and Darvish gives up a lot of hard contact in the air, especially vs. LH hitters. Would be nice to see the Cubs' bats come to life tonight.

    Go Cubs!

  • In reply to BarleyPop:

    OT, but this hits close to home here at Cubs Den, so I thought I'd share. Brock Chadwick is a 7-year-old with terminal brain cancer. His (dying) wish is to receive Halloween cards from all over the world, and we know there are Denizens everywhere. I made and sent one this morning. We can use all the good Karma we can get. "Team Brock" on Facebook.

    Brock Chadwick
    11 McKenney Dr.
    Biddeford, ME 04005

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    In reply to BarleyPop:

    Thanks BP. I hope he gets a lot of cards from all over the world.

  • I find myself in the same frame of mind as I did after the Brewers swept the Cubs in Wrigley. They bounced back then, maybe it will happen again. Must win!

  • Heyward again No Happ. Maddon and his favorites.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    Heyward hits fly ball pitchers well. I wouldn't have sat him. Happ is a bit different but I get it, Joe went with experience and I can't argue it.

  • In reply to TheSarge#36:

    I was just about to say that, especially with the wind blowing out; Happ's hit home runs at a high rate this year, Joe's iPad should've told him that, pretty obvious he just does what he wants, not much analytics.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    Your ignorance with respect to Joe's use of analytics astonishes me.

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Analytics would infer Joe play the best player for the situation, regardless of feelings; but it seems that he has favorite players, including bullpen pitchers,so which is it?

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    I’m as much of an analytics guy as you’re going to find but it’s not the only factor. If the analytics say Happ is better than Zobrist by a narrow margin against pitchers like Darvish, I’m going Zobrist every time for the experience. It has to be more than numbers.

  • In reply to TC154:

    That makes sense, I just would like to have Happ play at least one game this series.......

  • In reply to Treebeard:

    So who's now playing favorites?

  • Whether its GM 3 of the NLCS or a Tuesday game in May, I am always disappointed when Javy is not in the lineup. Sure he's O'fer. But he's far from alone in failing on offense -- although he makes something happen, whether its a walk or a drop third. Plus, it is a mistake to undervalue the D -- there's the throw out at home in Gm 5, the tag on Puig and the great running catch down the foul line. Those plays are potential game changers, equivalent to a hit, or double or homer in some instances.

  • In reply to TTP:

    Lefties tear Darvish up and he does well against righties. Javy will play in this game.

  • In reply to TTP:

    We're not winning this series on D, if we're going to win it the bats have to come alive. Against a fly ball righty I like this lineup. As Kramerica20 said Javy will play at some point.

  • In reply to TC154:

    I wish Happ was starting over Zobrist, but otherwise I like this lineup too.

  • Baez doesn't need to be in the line up vs a pitcher like darvish

    If the Cubs get a lead get schwarber out lf in the 5th-6th move zobrist to lf & bring Baez in at 2b

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    I hope that Zo leads of with a bunt and ignite us like last year.

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    In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Also, I see that Puig is now batting cleanup. This will be fun. I can only hope that Joe lets Kyle pitch longer than his inclination is. Let Kyle pitch into the 7th at least, not only to show that he can do it but to protect us from our bullpen.
    Go Cubs!!

  • Sure this surprises folks, but not feeling like the Cubs have much of a chance tonight. They’ve just been. So. Bleeping. Bad. That said, this is the most critical game of the series. It’s the difference between a sweep, and a five game series. Would love to not get swept. Wood will certainly own us tomorrow, so tonight is key.

    At least the fans at Wrigley will get to see NLCS clinching games, 3 years in a row. Who’da thunk it?!

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I would have been worried had you posted something remotely optimistic. Your post is perfect for all of us. We are back to normal before a big game. The world is round with the sun rising in the East. Thanks, Stubbs, for your contribution. Whew!!!! We needed that.

  • In reply to rbrucato:

    I try

  • Same #2-#4 in the lineup that the Cubs used in the World Series last year, with Zo leading off instead of Dex. Me like. Let's go Cubs bats!

  • Cubs win tonight 6-2

  • Here are my game predictions:

    RBIs from Schwarbs, Willson, Zobrist, each with multiple big hits. A huge offensive game from Bryant with 4+ RBI.

    Cubs break out, score 7+ and win.

  • In reply to Denizen Kane:

    I think you nailed every part of this, except the last word.

  • In reply to Stubbs:

    I find it troubling that I agree with you

  • cubs 6-4 Bryant and zobrist homer

  • I think the Cubs bullpen is in New York pitching for the Astros.

  • Everybody: players, managers, media, and fans just need to chill. The fact the players haven't been chill is part of the reason they're down. They just need to go out there and player ball their way. That means not gripping and ripping, but taking pitches. That means not nibbling, but being smart and aggressive on the mound.

  • I sense a theme. Cubs score first on home runs all three games. Wonder how this works out...

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    How did the Yankees come back? The last I saw they were losing 4-2 late. I went away and see they won it!
    Interesting. After Kyle struck out Puig the ump through a ball back to the mound for the LA pitcher. When the game’s in play if the ball sniffs the dirt they throw the ball out.
    Schwarb’s just hit one. Well, that’s the 3rd game we’ve led, let’s hope we change the outcome.

  • Here are the current Win WS Odds from 538.com after
    games of 10/15/17:

    538 Rating / Win World Series
    *at completion of day’s games

    Pre WC Games….………10/6 *…………..……10/7 *…………….
    CLV 1604 / 27%…….CLV 1607 / 34%……CLV 1607 / 33%……
    LAD 1564 / 18%…….LAD 1566 / 19%……LAD 1569 / 23%……
    HOU 1569 / 15%…….HOU 1576 / 22%……HOU 1576 / 22%……
    WAS 1551 / 11%…….WAS 1547 / 6%……..WAS 1550 / 8%……..
    CHN 1559 / 10%…….CHN 1563 / 13%……CHN 1560 / 9%…….
    BOS 1553 / 7%………BOS 1546 / 1%……..BOS 1546 / 1%………
    NYY 1561 / 6%………NYY 1560 / 2%…….NYY 1560 / 2%……..
    AZD 1539 / 3%………AZD 1540 / 3%…….AZD 1537 / 1%……..

    ………..10/9 *…………….10/11*……………….10/12*…………….
    CLV 1602 / 23%……
    LAD 1571 / 27%……LAD 1571 / 30%…..…LAD 1571 / 31%…..…
    HOU 1572 / 24%……HOU 1572 / 29%……..HOU 1572 / 30%……..
    WAS 1548 / 4%……..WAS 1553 / 10%……..
    CHN 1562 / 14%……CHN 1558 / 9%…….CHN 1560 / 18%…….
    NYY 1566 / 7%……..NYY 1570 / 22%…….NYY 1570 / 20%…….

    ……….10/14*…………….10/15*…
    LAD 1574 / 37%……LAD 1576 / 43%……
    HOU 1575 / 43%……HOU 1575 / 41%……
    CHN 1557 / 12%..…CHN 1555 / 7%……
    NYY 1567 / 8%……NYY 1567 / 8%……

    Tuesday Game 2 win odds:

    538.com: LAD 49% CHN 51%

    Baseball Prospectus: LAD 44% CHN 56%

  • Need a 4 run lead minimum by the 5th inning. Dodgers BP is a HBP shy of a perfect 8 innings this series. Race against time.

  • That’ll do pig

  • Those damn Taylors

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    The biggest difference between last year and this year is our lead off man. Dexter had a wonderful year and as Joe often said—as you go we go. That’s as true this year as last year but we could never find anyone who could duplicate Fowler’s OBP. I would say that’s the top priority for next year. I know I’ll get arguments about restocking the bullpen, and I know we will, but when we don’t get that first man on there’s a trickle down response from the other hitters.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Could have signed 2 years ago for 4-5 years, he's was what, 29 then. But no. Let him go. But we'll sign grandpa Zoe to four years instead. Theo and Joes buddies baby.

  • Hendricks gave up only 3 runs in 5 innings. Why take him out as good as he is? Why not take the guy out that made the error and put someone else in that may get a hit? Jay and Zobrist aren't hitting either. Put somebody else in.

  • In reply to clarkAddson:

    As good as Hendricks has been? I would argue that he has been mediocre tonight. With as bad as the Cubs bullpen has been this series, they needed Hendricks to come in and shut down the dodgers for 7 plus innings.

    The guy with the error has two hits tonight. So....

  • In reply to BigChi:

    More like they were bloopers than hits with nobody on base. A lot of good they did. The point I was making is that Hendricks has gotten himself out of these situations before many times.

  • Why is so hard for Edwards to throw strikes at times? I don't understand it it's like he forgets how to pitch game to game inning to inning

  • That darvish walk took the whole life out the stadium man.There's absolutely no excuse for that you don't walk a pitcher with the bases loaded go after him.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I've approaching 70 and have been watching the Cubbies since 1956.
    I could take the bad teams when wait until next year was said in August.
    But this team is talented, and it hurts to watch this pathetic performance this night. This is an embarrassment to all loyal Cub
    fans like myself who have supported our beloved Cubbies all these years.
    Its not over yet , but who knows what can happen ?

  • In reply to ronvet69:

    I am 70 and have been rooting for the Cubs since I was 7 years old and I couldn't agree with you more.

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    In reply to clarkAddson:

    Today is my birthday. I'm 67 and I agree also.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I CAN'T WATCH THEM ANYMORE !!!

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    It’s like there is a mass hypnosis with the whole Cubs team, in all aspects of the game. This season we’ve had times where one part of the game wasn’t working but the others were. Here, neither pitching hitting or defense is.
    2015 NLCS swept by Mets
    2016 won WS
    2017 NLCS (swept) by LA
    2018 will win WS
    Maybe the Cubs will be like the Blackhawks and the SF Giants—every other year a title.
    But this game isn’t over yet.

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    I don't know if any of you are listening to the radio while watching the game, but the radio broadcast with Pat and Ron is a good 2 pitches ahead of the TV.
    Hey, I have to be amused at something tonight.

  • Welp. That was not fun.

  • Who wanted Happ in there. He was totally overpowered big time.
    He is not ready for playoff baseball. Of course no team is going to win being 0-12 with runners in scoring position.

  • In the last 15 years when the cubs lose they lose BAD.Like sweeps in humiliating fashion or a collapse.This is like '07,'08,15 all over again.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Is that better or worse than losing in the last game of a full series (i.e., game 5 or 7)? I really do not know.

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