Adrian Gonzalez and the Los Angeles Dodgers are aiming to continue Chicago’s longstanding postseason woes, and have a chance to take a 2-1 lead when they host the Cubs on Tuesday in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers have the luxury of playing three straight games at home after splitting two in Chicago, with the 1-0 win in Game 2 coming courtesy of strong pitching and a home run from Gonzalez.
The Los Angeles first baseman has driven in three of his squad’s five runs in the series and manager Dave Roberts said the veteran’s production is sometimes taken for granted. “He’s one of the leaders on this club, and gets overlooked a lot because of his consistency, but certainly not in our clubhouse,” Roberts said at Monday’s press conference. “The value of a guy who posts every night regardless of the handedness of a pitcher or the spot, so, yeah, Adrian’s been a huge lift to us. The consistent at-bats, and the big hits when we need them.” Chicago attempts to regain the series lead behind right-hander Jake Arrieta, who pitched seven innings of two-hit scoreless ball in a no-decision against the Dodgers on May 31. Cubs second baseman Javier Baez is 3-for-7 in the NLCS and has hit in all six games of the postseason, going 9-for-23 with one homer.
TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Jake Arrieta (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Rich Hill (0-1, 6.43)
Arrieta, who won 18 games during the regular season, gave up two runs in six innings in a no-decision against San Francisco in the NL Division Series. The 30-year-old told reporters he is much more comfortable with the postseason expectations this time around after allowing four runs in two of his three 2015 outings. ”I think going through that last year has prepared myself as well as the rest of the guys mentally for a longer run this year, and I think we’ve been able to handle the moments mentally a lot better as well as physically,“ Arrieta said at Monday’s press conference. ”So personally moving forward, I think I‘m in a much better place, and I think a lot of our guys are as well.
Hill won 12 games in the regular season but hasn’t fared well this postseason. He lasted just seven total innings over two starts against Washington in the NLDS but defended his performance at Monday’s press conference. “For me, I go out there and give everything that I have, that’s it. That’s the bottom line,” Hill told reporters. “Your effort is everything. Your ability to go out there and stay in the moment and execute pitch to pitch and do the best that you can, that’s it. Let everything else fall where it may.”
1. Cubs 3B Kris Bryant, the probable NL MVP, was hitless in four at-bats in Game 2 but is 8-for-24 with a homer in the postseason.
2. Los Angeles RHP Kenley Jansen struck out four in two innings to get the save in Game 2 and has fanned 13 batters in 7 1/3 innings this postseason.
3. Chicago 1B Anthony Rizzo is hitless in eight at-bats in the series and 1-for-23 in six games this postseason.
PREDICTION: Cubs 4, Dodgers 1