Playoff Reset: Dodgers vs. Cubs, NLCS Game 2

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The Game: Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs, NLCS Game 2
The Time: 8:00 PM EDT
The Place: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) vs. Kyle Hendricks (Cubs)

The Upshot:

After watching Kenta Maeda get shelled in Game 1, Dave Roberts will send out Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA) for the second set of the NLCS. Kershaw went 6 2/3 in Game 4 of the NLDS last Tuesday, allowing five runs and striking out 11 in the Dodgers’ 6-5 win. He also picked up a seven-pitch save to help the club clinch the first round of the postseason on Thursday, so he will be starting on short rest for the second time this October. He didn’t face the Cubs in any regular season match-ups during 2016, but held them to four runs, three walks, and 23 strikeouts over 15 innings in 2015.

The Cubs will reach for a 2-0 series lead with right-hander Kyle Hendricks, whose status looked a little iffy after he took an Angel Pagan line drive off of his right forearm in Game 4 of the NLDS. While the X-rays were negative, Joe Maddon played it safe with Hendricks and ensured that the 26-year-old had cleared medical tests and worked through a successful bullpen session on Friday before taking the ball for Game 2 of the NLCS. Hendricks met the Dodgers just once in 2016, picking up his fourth win of the regular season on eight innings of two-run, six-strikeout ball. While his league-leading 2.13 ERA and 4.5 fWAR recommend him for the NL Cy Young, he’s found considerably less success in the pressure-cooker of playoff baseball, running up a 5.11 ERA in 12 1/3 innings between the Cubs’ 2015 and 2016 postseason runs.

As for the offense, well, you saw how last night ended. Working in the Dodgers’ favor: their propensity for late-game comebacks and their .264 batting average against right-handed pitchers. Whether or not it’ll be enough to stymie the Cubs’ playoff momentum remains to be seen.