- It's now the best three out of five and we have the home field advantage. It is also most likely going to be two Kershaw games, two Hill games and one Urias game. I like our chances.
- Javier Baez is a beast. A baseball savvy, pesky, patient, intelligent, never makes mistakes playing, October peaking beast. This is the Daniel Murphy of the Cubs and he should be dealt with very carefully. The remainder of the Cub lineup seems to be controllable. Bryant is a true MVP, but can be neutralized. Rizzo is in a horrid slump from which we hope he doesn't emerge. Dexter Fowler, a good leadoff man but not nearly as imposing of a threat as Trea Turner was. Addison Russell has pop, but if you can keep him int he park, he's usually an out. The rest of the guys seems to be manageable. Zobrist can be clutch and should be pitched carefully, which they did a good job of doing. What I'm trying to say is that the Washington lineup seemed to be much more imposing and the Dodger pitching staff should be able to contain the Cubs.
|Adrian Gonzalez's homer accounted for the only run of game two of the NLCS. (photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)|
- Now it's time for the Dodger bats to wake up, and Jake Arrieta will be a difficult number to face, but this is very doable. Arrieta isn't as intimidating as last year and he has been beaten. Lefties have been hitting him, and we know the Dodgers have plenty of those. Fangraphs addressed his declining K/BB rate and hot hitting zones, (Linked here)
- Watch for pretty much the same lineup to start against Arrieta as did the one against Hendricks. They'll have to be swinging at the meat Arrieta throws middle-in and low and stay of the high heat.
- A lot will be determined by the strike zone that Gary Cederstrom has established tomorrow. Cederstrom has a reputation as a plate umpire that has a rather liberal strike zone in favor of pitchers, but we'll see. He was behind the plate in that wild game six of the 2011 World Series, the 28 hit, 19 run affair between the Cards and Rangers when David Freese was the hero. I only bring that up because that game was an offensive juggernaut and very little went the way of the pitchers.
- Joe Maddon was asked about his young players that are in slumps and if he needs to change the lineup to shake things up. He responded that "you've got to play through the bad lie...it is what it is, you stay with your guys." So while their manager waits for Rizzo, Russell, Zobrist and Heyward to wake up, the Dodger pitching needs to keep doing what they are doing and shut those guys down. Some are bound to wake up eventually, but it's on the Cubs to start playing well offensively, something they really haven't done this post season with the exception of Bryant and Baez. Slumps are contagious and have a tendency to stick around for a few days.
- All the games are shadow games, and the Dodger pitching should be able to take advantage of them. They've played a lot more of these games lately and it is an advantage they have over the Cubs that played all their games under the lights.
- Aroldis Chapman can certainly be intimidating to some Dodger hitters, but the veterans such as Turner and Gonzalez are not intimidated by the man, unlike Pederson, Seager, Puig and Grandal.
- The pitching rotation will be dependent on the results, but is it possible that Maeda is passed over in game 5 for Kershaw on short rest again? I think so.