It’s the crucial Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Wednesday night in what could be the penultimate game of the series or it could determine whether the Cubs are guaranteed to host a Game 6 back at Wrigley Field this weekend. It’s a crusty old veteran on the mound for the Cubs and a up-and- coming rookie star for the Dodgers, who are slight MLB odds favorites.
Check Out the Chicago at Los Angeles NLCS Game 4 Expert Pick, Prediction & TV Info
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 19, 2016
When: Wednesday, Oct. 19, 8 PM ET
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Probable pitchers (away/home): John Lackey/Julio Urias
TV: Fox Sports 1
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Chicago / Los Angeles
Opening MLB Lines: TBA
Why Bet on Chicago?
Can the Cubs’ struggling bats wake up against left-handers? They’re hitting .157 in 70 at-bats against left-handed pitching entering Game 3. First baseman Anthony Rizzo hit .292 with 32 home runs and 109 RBIs in the regular season. Shortstop Addison Russell hit .238 with a .738 OPS, 21 home runs and 95 RBIs. They’re a combined 2-for- 45 this postseason (including 2-for- 21 versus lefties). Both were struggling prior to the postseason. Since Sep. 20, Rizzo's slashline is .203/.261/.297. Russell’s is .075/.169/.113. Rizzo has been struggling with two strikes in the postseason (.071 batting average, with his only hit).
It’s 37-year- old John Lackey for the Cubs in Game 4, and he was 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA in the regular season. He started Game 4 of the NLCS in San Francisco and took a no-decision in going only four innings and allowing three runs.
Lackey leads all active pitchers with 21 postseason starts, going 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA (47 ER/131.1 IP) in 24 total playoff appearances. He went 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA (70 ER/188.1 IP) in 29 regular season starts in 2016. He has made one postseason appearance against the Dodgers, earning the victory in Game 3 of the 2014 NLDS with St. Louis. He allowed one run in 7.0 innings in the Cardinals’ 3-1 victory at Busch Stadium. He has gone 6-3 with a 1.75 ERA (15 ER/77.0 IP) in 12 regular season games (11 starts) vs. the Dodgers (none this season).
Why Bet on Los Angeles?
It’s rookie left-hander Julio Urias (5-2, 3.39) for L.A. He matched up against the Cubs twice during the season. He gave up five runs over five innings in his second career start June 2, but fared better Aug. 27, striking out eight and giving up just one run over six innings. Urias was unbeaten in his last 14 games (11 starts) since June 17. After the All-Star break, he went 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA (9 ER/40.2 IP) in 10 games (seven starts). Overall, he held lefties to a .234 average (15-for- 64)…the opposition hit .188 (13-for- 69) with no home runs with runners in scoring position.
In NLDS Game 5 vs. the Nationals, Urías became the youngest Dodger pitcher ever to appear in a postseason game at 20 years, 62 days and the youngest big-league hurler to pitch in the playoffs since 1970, when both Don Gullett of the Reds and Bert Blyleven of the Twins did so at 19 years old. Previously, Don Drysdale held the distinction as the club’s youngest postseason pitcher and was 20 years, 76 days old when he pitched in the 1956 World Series.
When he throws his first pitch Wednesday, Urias will become the youngest postseason starting pitcher in major-league history, surpassing a mark previously held by Bret Saberhagen, who took the mound at 20 years, 175 days old in 1984. Urias will be 20 years, 68 days old when he pitches in Game 4.
“Julio, I think that we expect him to just go out there and compete, use his pitch mix and go after these guys,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Give us a chance to win a baseball game. It’s what Julio’s done all year long.”
My Expert Betting Prediction
Take the Dodgers on MLB odds behind the promising kid Urias.