The National League Championship Series is tied at one after the Cubs and Dodgers split the two games at Wrigley. The Cubs were beaten by the best pitcher on the planet in Game 2. Clayton Kershaw shut the Cubs down and won the game 1-0 on a solo homer in the second inning. The series moves to Los Angeles Tuesday. Games three, four and five are at Dodger Stadium. And what was a best-of-seven series is now a best-of-five series.
Despite the panic that ensued after Game 2, the Cubs are not trailing in the series. The series is tied.
Jake Arrieta gets the ball in Game 3 against former Cubs’ lefty Rich Hill.
“They got the best pitcher on the planet going. They won that game. That’s fine. They’ve got to beat us three more times, which ain’t going to be easy. We’re going to be ready,” Arrieta said to the Sun-Times after Game 2.
“We’ve been dealing with adversity all year. Now it’s a five-game series,” David Ross said to the Sun-Times.
Julio Urias prepared Sunday for a Game 4 start and that appears to be the way the Dodgers will go. Dave Roberts has not announced Urias will start Game 4 because he might have to be called on in Game 3 if Rich Hill struggles.
Clayton Kershaw will start Game 5.
The Dodgers are 4-0 in the four games Kershaw has pitched in this postseason. Kershaw started two games of the NLDS against the Nationals and picked up the last two outs in Game 5. And the Dodgers won Game 2 of the NLCS with Kershaw on the hill and giving the ball to Kenley Jansen.
According to Bill Shaikin, Kershaw and Jansen have combined to record 44 percent of the Dodgers’ outs this postseason.
The Dodgers have not won a game that Clayton Kershaw hasn’t pitched in since Sept. 29.
The Cubs will see Kershaw two more times in the next five games, if the series goes a full seven games. Kershaw will start Game 5 and be available, with Jansen, in the pen for Game 7. The Cubs have to make sure they win the games that Kershaw does not pitch in Los Angeles and ensure there will be at least a Game 6 at Wrigley Field.
NLCS News and Notes
Here are the reports and notes from Game 2 of the NLCS …
• Comcast SportsNet reported the Cubs watch Javier Baez put together another playoff highlight film. “We can will all of them. We know we’re the best. We got the best team out there. You got to play the game.” Baez said to the beat writers after the game.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Clayton Kershaw dominates Cubs as Dodgers even series. Clayton Kershaw dismantled playoff narrative in brilliant Game 2 start against the Cubs according to Comcast SportsNet. And the Dodgers head to LA confident they can beat the Cubs according to Comcast SportsNet.
• Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers escaped with Game 2 win according to ESPN Chicago.
• According to David Haugh, the Cubs need to tip their hats to the masterful Clayton Kershaw and then move on.
• Paul Sullivan reported, a test of faith at a baseball cathedral on a warm October night.
• The Sun-Times reported don’t worry about Rizzo’s slump or team’s first NLCS loss.
• Christopher Kamka noted there have been four scoreless postseason starts at Wrigley Field … Lon Warneke (six innings) in Game 5 of the ’35 World Series; Rick Sutcliffe (seven innings) in Game 1 of the ’84 NLCS; Jon Lester (eight innings) in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS; Clayton Kershaw (seven innings) in Game 2.
• Javier Baez’s flyout to center in the seventh inning of Game 2 had a 103 mph exit velocity and have resulted in a .899 batting average this year … 67 percent of them have been home runs.
According to multiple reports, Miguel Montero will catch Jake Arrieta in Game 3.
The Cubs are carrying three catchers on the roster in order to help their starting pitchers be as comfortable as possible. The Cubs were successful in the NLDS with the three catchers being behind the plate for the first three games of the series.
Hector Rondon and the Bullpen
Hector Rondon has struggled since he came off the disabled list. Rondon and the Cubs say he’s healthy. Rondon admitted he needs to mix his pitches better than he has to this point.
Joe Maddon explained, “He’s coming off the injury, and we’ve tried to get him out there as much as we can. There’s the good and the bad … they are rested, but maybe aren’t as sharp as they could’ve been.”
The Sun-Times reported that Hector Rondon “suggested before Sunday night’s game that one of the reason he and possibly Aroldis Chapman haven’t looked as sharp this postseason as they did during the regular season is because of the way they’ve been uses in roles they are not used to.”
The Sun-Times indicated Rondon was not making any excuses. Rondon admitted the relievers were “told well ahead of the postseason how they may be used.” Rondon said they haven’t gotten used to the changes.
“We were never used like this in the regular season. We’re mentally prepared. But sometimes when we come in it’s not familiar. We’re ready. We’re ready for any situation,” Rondon said to the Sun-Times.
That’s quite a bit different from the willing-to-do-whatever-it-takes mentality of the Indians’ Andrew Miller and the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen.
It’s up to Joe Maddon to put his players in the best situation to succeed. It’s up to the players to be prepared for what the situation is when they are called on.
News and Notes
• Comcast SportsNet reported how the Cubs plan to regroup and take control of NLCS at Dodger Stadium.
• According to Bruce Levine, Joe Maddon doesn’t mind the second guessing. Maddon welcomes the second-guessing and won’t change how the Cubs use Aroldis Chapman according to Comcast SportsNet. Carrie Muskat reported that Maddon said Aroldis Chapman was key to Game 1 victory. Joe Maddon regrets putting Aroldis Chapman in impossible situation according to the Tribune. And ESPN Chicago reported that according to Joe Maddon the reason the Cubs won Game 1 was Aroldis Chapman.
• Joe Maddon sees good things coming for slumping Anthony Rizzo according to Comcast SportsNet.
• The Sun-Times asked are we seeing Dexter Fowler’s final days in a Cubs uniform. Dexter Fowler is grateful for his return to the Cubs according to Bob Nightengale. And Nightengale questioned where the Cubs would be if Fowler wasn’t frozen out of last winter’s free-agent market.
• Ken Rosenthal explained how one of Clayton Kershaw’s most devastating pitches was born at Wrigley Field.
• According to Hardball Talk, Brian Cashman is rooting for a Cubs-Indians World Series.
• Cubs TV ratings just continue to be off the charts … According to Jeff Nuich, Game 1 posted a 21.1 Chicago market rating with a peak audience of over 907,000 homes.
• Andre Dawson threw out the first pitch before Game 2 and Chris Coghlan caught it. Coghlan wears No. 8 to honor Dawson. The two became close during Coghlan’s time in the Marlins’ organization.
And last, but not least, when Miguel Montero and Dexter Fowler hit back-to-back jacks in the eighth inning of Game 1 it was the third time in Cubs postseason history players hit back-to-back homers.
This Day in Cubstory
2009 – Cubs released So Taguchi
1997 – Cubs granted free agency to Mark Dalesandro, Bry Nelson and Rich Sauveur
1981 – Edwin Maysonet, born
1979 – Cubs traded Donnie Moore to the Cardinals for Mike Tyson
1978 – Cubs released Davey Johnson
1978 – Cubs released Cookie Rojas
1970 – John Mabry, born
1962 – Cubs traded George Altman, Don Cardwell and Moe Thacker to the Cardinals for Larry Jackson, Lindy McDaniel and Jimmie Schaffer
1885 – The Chicago National League Ball Club lost to St. Louis 3-2 and the Browns took a two games to one lead in the Championship Series.