Cubs lead series 3-2
The Los Angeles Dodgers made the decision to save ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 6 instead of asking him to throw again on short rest in Game 5, and now they need him to save their season. Kershaw will take the mound on Saturday at Wrigley Field and try to prevent the host Chicago Cubs from clinching their first trip to the World Series since 1945.
The Cubs were shut out in Games 2 and 3 to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series but exploded for 18 runs in the next two contests behind a two-run homer in each game from Addison Russell and four RBIs apiece from Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez to take the series lead. “I think anybody in our lineup can turn the game our way,” Baez told reporters. “When (Rizzo) and (Russell) didn’t start hot, everybody was asking about them. And there you have it. They’re both hot now. And we scored a lot of runs for our pitchers.” Los Angeles now faces the task of winning two straight games on the road but is set up with its best two pitchers in Kershaw and Rich Hill in a potential Game 7. “We’re down a game, but we’ve won on the road before,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “We’ve won two games before. And I think that for us it’s an isolated focus on Game 6. We get a rested (Kershaw). So with that, we feel good. After we get through Game 6, we’ll focus on Game 7. But I think our confidence hasn’t wavered.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
LINE HISTORY: With the Cubs going up against Kershaw in Game 6, oddsmakers have put them in a rare spot as home dogs. They hit the board at +125, but have seen some support, moving to the current number of +120. The total for the game is set at 6.5. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: Hitters will get a bit of a hand with the wind in Game 6. The forecast is calling for a moderate seven-to-eight mile per hour wind blowing out to right center field. Otherwise it will be clear skies with temperatures in the mid 50’s.
SERIES PRICE (PER WESTGATE LV SUPERBOOK):
WHAT SHARPS SAY: “Clayton Kershaw’s playoff stats have not been as strong as his regular season numbers during his nine year Major League career. Kershaw has a 2.37 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in his 265 regular season games, but just a 4.39 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in his 17 postseason appearances. However, he was excellent in NLCS Game 2 last Sunday, allowing 0 runs and only 2 hits in seven innings of work.” – Covers Expert Steve Merril.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 3.72 ERA) vs. Cubs RH Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 3.00)
Kershaw allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings to earn the win in Game 2 at Wrigley Field after earning the save in the finale of the NLDS at Washington three days earlier. The former MVP is just 4-6 with a 4.39 ERA in his postseason career and has never won two games in the same series. “There’s so much information,” Kershaw told reporters. “They know every pitch that I throw and every count and every situation. So it’s just a matter of not really focusing on that and just trying to compete every single pitch and execute every single pitch.”
Hendricks allowed one run on three hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings while going up against Kershaw in Game 2 and ended up with the loss in a 1-0 final. The regular-season ERA champion at 2.13, Hendricks took a liner off the forearm in his NLDS start but was not bothered by any lingering pain in Game 2. “After I had that last start against the Dodgers, now I know everything’s healthy, I was able to go through my throwing program uninhibited basically,” Hendricks told reporters. “Not having to go in the training room and check in on it all the time. So it’s a hundred percent, and it’s not in the back of your mind anymore at least.”
* Dodgers are 4-1 in their last five games vs. a right-handed starter.
* Cubs are 8-2 in Hendricks’ last 10 home starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 3-0-1 in Hendricks’ last four home starts.
* Under is 8-1 in Kershaw’s last nine starts vs. Cubs.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is split in this pivotal Game 6, but are giving the Dodgers the slight edge with 52 percent of wagers on Los Angeles to force Game 7. As for the total, 55 percent of wagers are backing the Under.