The Los Angeles Dodgers will start Yu Darvish for Game 3 of the NLCS, and the Cubs will rely on Kyle Hendricks to have a solid outing in hopes of keeping this series interesting. Both right-handed pitchers are the X-factors, because the opposing batting orders haven’t faced them once during the duration of the regular season.
Dave Roberts should like his chances Darvish on the mound tonight because of the solid showing that he put on display in Game 3 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Darvish pitched a solid outing throughout five innings at Chase Field (seven strikeouts, two hits, no walks), and improved to 3-0 (with a no decision) in his last four starts for the Dodgers. He also owns a o.74 ERA during those four appearances, and has looked his best since first becoming a Dodger.
Darvish dominated against Arizona, and held them to a .118 batting average, despite giving up a home run during the 5th inning of Game 3. Nothing is guaranteed on Tuesday, but that Diamondbacks’ lineup is very dangerous and Darvish deserves recognition for his solid outing against them. Chicago is also currently the worst hitting team in the postseason and all the Dodgers will need is a solid start from Darvish, before letting baseball’s best bullpen finish the job.
As for Kyle Hendricks, he pitched twice in the NLDS against the Washington Nationals and was a completely different pitcher in each start. Hendricks dominated in his first start against Washington, going seven innings and giving up just two hits. However, his start in Game 5 of the series was pretty terrible. He went just four innings and gave up four runs on nine hits, two of which were home runs. If the Cubs want a chance at winning Game 3 against the Dodgers, a good outing from Kyle Hendricks is vital.
Look for both starting pitchers to be the X-factors tonight, but even more so for the Cubs. Remember that the bullpens on both sides are completely different. The Dodgers need only five, maybe six, good innings from Yu Darvish. Chicago doesn’t have that same luxury and could benefit from Hendricks going six or seven innings, mainly because they lack effective arms before closer Wade Davis enters the game. If the Boys in Blue can attack Hendricks like the Washington Nationals did in Game 5 of the NLDS, then Chicago will be in big trouble.
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