It’s all but do-or-die tonight for the reigning World Series Champion Cubs. They trail 2-0, but they are no stranger to scary postseason deficits. A win tonight, and the Cubs are right where they want to be. A loss however, and their magic escape acts might finally have met their match. A 3-0 hole to the 104-win Dodgers who still have two home games remaining and at least one, probably two doses of Clayton Kershaw yet to offer is probably more than even Maddon’s magic can overcome.
So do the Cubbies even the proceedings tonight? Can Kyle Hendricks bring the same dominance he offered up in Washington? And can the Cubs bats finally wake up tonight facing the potentially overpowering Yu Darvish?
Questions abound tonight’s HUGE Game Three, but the Cubs don’t seem to internalize “pressure” the way the rest of us do…
Today’s MLB Pick:
Los Angeles Dodgers +110 at Chicago Cubs -120 (Total: 8)
Yu Darvish vs. Kyle Hendricks
The Cubs hand the ball to one of the more quietly reliable pitchers in a game they absolutely MUST have. Hendricks has been up to the challenge so far this postseason, with the Cubs winning in both of his appearances, including allowing no runs and two hits in the Washington opener. However, the bullpen has been the issue. They have earned to loss in three of the Cubs postseason defeats, including John Lackey (who led the Majors in first-inning homers allowed) serving up the three-run Justin Turner walk-off in relief (why, Joe Maddon, why??). It will be vital for Hendricks to give them a long, solid outing tonight – and I think he will.
Meanwhile, Yu Darvish was brought in for EXACTLY this reason – adding some rotation depth to win a middle game of a postseason series en route to the World Series. He will get a chance to earn that check tonight. He won his only playoff start against Arizona, and Darvish has allowed just two earned runs and struck out 28 in his past four outings dating back to the regular season. I expect him to be sharp as well with a week of rest under his belt.
This has the makings of another close, tense baseball game. I think the value is on the Dodgers, but I don’t really like throwing money on coin-flip type games. Instead, I’ll be on the pitchers to continue their dominance over the hitters and another low-scoring affair. This has late-inning tension and a “whose bullpen blinks first” feel to it. There is always the potential for these two potent offenses to breakout – and SOME point they must, but until then, I’ll take two potentially dominant pitchers on a chilly night at Wrigley.
I’ll take a low scoring game and the UNDER once again.
Today’s MLB Pick: RUN TOTAL UNDER 8