Thursday’s NLCS Game 5 Betting Preview: Cubs at Dodgers

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Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers (+140, 7)

Series tied 2-2

The Chicago Cubs went 21 innings without scoring before the offense broke out and now aim to regain the series lead when they visit the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. First baseman Anthony Rizzo and shortstop Addison Russell each broke out of deep postseason slumps as Chicago racked up 13 hits in a 10-2 victory on Wednesday to even the series at two games apiece.

Rizzo (three RBIs) and Russell (two) were each 3-for-5 with a homer to end deep postseason funks that saw them enter Game 4 with a combined 3-for-50 showing — 2-for-26 for Rizzo and 1-for-24 for Russell. “We just got to keep fighting, and we know that,” Rizzo said afterward. “We know what we’re capable of in any inning. … We have to keep going and keep believing and keep pushing.” Los Angeles played sloppily and committed four errors in Game 4 but that didn’t sway the decision announced earlier in the day by manager Dave Roberts to not pitch ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw again until Game 6 in Chicago. Roberts reiterated after the contest that right-hander Kenta Maeda will pitch Thursday as Roberts cited Kershaw was heavily used (three starts, one relief appearance) over a 10-day span.

TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1

WEATHER REPORT: Los Angeles. Sunny, low-90’s at beginning of the game falling all the way down to mid-80’s when the sun goes down, no wind, 10 percent humidity. Can anyone spare a plane ticket to Los Angeles?

SERIES PRICE (via SportsInteraction.com):

PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs LH Jon Lester (1-0, 0.64 ERA) vs. Dodgers RH Kenta Maeda (0-1, 9.00)

Lester received a no-decision in Game 1 when he allowed one run and four hits and wasn’t thrilled when manager Joe Maddon pulled him after six innings. “I don’t get paid to make decisions,” Lester said at a press conference. “I pitch as long as he tells me to pitch. And as competitors in that particular moment, you’re not happy with the decision. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to go in there and yell at him or I don’t trust him or I don’t like him or anything like that. That’s just being a competitor.” Lester has a stellar 2.57 ERA in 18 postseason appearances (16 starts) but owns only a 7-6 record.

Maeda has pitched poorly in two postseason starts, including Game 1 when he gave up three runs and four hits in four innings. He has pitched five or fewer innings in six straight outings dating back to the regular season and admits his playoff performance has been shaky. “I’m not going to be too careful, even though I haven’t been pitching well in the postseason,” Maeda said during a press conference. “What I’m going to be really focused on is just pitching well (Thursday) and not worry too much about what I have done in the past.”

HOT FAN BATTLE:

TRENDS:

* Cubs are 2-9 in their last 11 League Championship games.
* Cubs are 6-0 in Lester’s last 6 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Dodgers are 5-1 in their last 6 home games vs. a left-handed starter.
* Dodgers are 6-1 in Maeda’s last 7 home starts.
* Over is 6-1 in Cubs’ last 7 road games.
* Under is 10-2 in Lester’s last 12 starts overall.
* Over is 6-0 in Maedas last 6 home starts.

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