Chicago Cubs (Lester 19-5) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (Maeda 16-11)
Series tied 2-2
8pm ET Thursday on FS1
The Chicago Cubs' bats finally awoke from a 21-inning slumber last night, as the Cubs crushed the Dodgers 10-2 to pull even at 2-2 in the NLCS. The Cubs’ Addison Russell capped a 4-run 4th with a 2-run homer off Dodgers starter Jose Urias, Anthony Rizzo hit a solo shot in the 5th off Pedro Baez, and then Chicago strung together 5 singles, a walk, and a sac fly to score 5 more in the 6th. Chicago starter John Lackey got the early hook after allowing 2 runs in 4 innings, giving way to the bullpen, which threw 5 innings of shutout ball.
And so we’ve got what amounts to a best-of-three series, with Jon Lester taking the hill for the Cubs tonight. Lester has been outstanding during this postseason, allowing 1 run on 9 hits and 1 walk over 14 inning, leading the team to wins in Game 1 of both the NLDS and the NLCS.
Taking the ball for the Dodgers is Kenta Maeda, who’s had a pretty brutal postseason thus far, getting the loss in Game 3 of the NLDS after giving up 4 runs in 3 innings, and then taking a no-decision against Lester in Game 1 of this series, in which he gave up 3 runs in 4 innings. In sum, 2 starts, 7 innings, 9 hits, 7 runs, 5 walks, and 6 strikeouts. That is no good, my friend.
The Cubs have outscored the Dodgers 18-13 through four games, but have been unable to get to Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, who are slated to start Games 6 & 7, or to Kenley Jansen, who’s pitched just 3 ⅓ over the last week, striking out 6 of the 11 batters he’s faced in this series. Chicago has the edge tonight in LA, but the Dodgers may well have the upper hand once they get back to Chicago.
Meanwhile, Corey Kluber and the Indians are enjoying six days of rest before hosting host Game 1 of the World Series in Cleveland.