Are the Chicago Cubs in trouble? The majors’ best team during the regular season is really struggling offensively in the playoffs heading into Game 3 of the NL Championship Series at the Dodgers on Tuesday night. The Cubs have to be confident for this game, however, as their pitcher, Jake Arrieta, had a no-hitter at Dodger Stadium in 2015. Chicago is a slight favorite on MLB odds behind him.
How to Bet on the Chicago at Los Angeles NLCS Game 3 Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
When: Tuesday, Oct. 18, 8 PM ET
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Probable pitchers (away/home): Jake Arrieta/Rich Hill
TV: Fox Sports 1
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Chicago / Los Angeles
Opening MLB Lines: Cubs -122, Dodgers +112 (6.5)
Why Bet on Chicago?
Because the Cubs’ bats are due to break out after Chicago was third in the league in runs during the season. The numbers are ugly:.043, .045, .111, .167, .182. Those are the postseason batting averages, respectively, of Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Jason Heyward, Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist, who are a combined 12-for- 109 in the playoffs, a .110 batting average from five of the eight starting position players in Chicago’s lineup. On Sunday, Chicago pitchers allowed only three hits and one run to the Dodgers but lost Game 2 of the NLCS 1-0 because its hitters were even worse: two hits and no runs. It was the first time the Cubs were shut out since Aug. 28.
Javier Baez was 1-for- 3 and has a hit in all six postseason games this year. He has tied the club record for the longest hitting streak to open a postseason, joining Moises Alou in 2003 and Mickey Livingston in 1945. Sunday marked just the fifth time in the World Series era (since 1903) that the Cubs were shut out in a postseason game. Still the Cubs have plated five or more runs in four of their six post-season contests this month.
The Cubs are 6-14 in Game 3 of postseason series, including an 0-1 record this year and a 1-1 mark in 2015 (won game three of the NLDS vs. St. Louis, 8-6; lost game three of the NLCS vs. the Mets, 5-2). Chicago is 1-3 all-time in NLCS Game 3s.
Arrieta, last year’s Cy Young winner, gets the call. He was 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA (68 ER/197.1 IP) in the regular season, limiting opponents to an MLB-best .194 batting average. He went 11-3 on the road, the second-most road victories in the majors (Max Scherzer, 12-4). Arrieta has given up just two hits and no runs in 16.0 innings over his last two starts against the Dodgers, including a no-hitter August 30, 2015, at Dodger Stadium. He also tossed 7.0-scoreless innings, May 31 of this season at Wrigley Field vs. the Dodgers.
Why Bet on Los Angeles?
The Dodgers are making their 11th appearance in the National League Championship Series and first since 2013, when they lost, 4-2, to the Cardinals. Los Angeles, which is making its fourth NLCS appearance in the past nine seasons since 2008, has gone 5-5 in its previous League Championship Series, advancing to the World Series in 1974, 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1988.
The Dodgers have to be feeling confident coming back home tied 1-1 as they also could have easily won Game 1. On Sunday, Clayton Kershaw became the first pitcher in Dodgers history to record 14 straight outs to begin a postseason game since Sandy Koufax in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series. Kenley Jansen pitched two perfect innings to save the Dodgers' win on Sunday. Only four other pitchers have saved a 1-0 postseason game by pitching more than one inning. Adrian Gonzalez provided the only run of Game 2 with a second-inning homer off Kyle Hendricks.
It’s lefty Rich Hill on the mound here. He finished the regular season with a 12-5 record and a 2.12 ERA (28 ER/149.0 IP) and held the opposition to a .195/.269/.261 slashline in 20 starts with the Athletics and the Dodgers. He struck out 129 batters against 33 walks, posting a 10.52 strikeout per nine innings. In five starts since joining the Dodgers, went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA (7 ER/34.1 IP) and a 0.79 WHIP while limiting the opposition to a .182 average (22-for- 121). Hill once pitched for the Cubs and has faced them once: allowing one hit and striking out two in 0.2 inning of relief on May 21, 2011 as a member of the Red Sox.
My Expert Prediction
Hill is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in two starts this postseason, both against Washington in the NLDS. So take the Cubs on MLB odds. Go over the total.