Dodgers Cubs NLCS Game Three

October 17, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill (44) speaks to media during workouts before game three of the NLCS at Dodgers Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
October 17, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Rich Hill (44) speaks to media during workouts before game three of the NLCS at Dodgers Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

After a day off, the NLCS shifts to Los Angeles as the Dodgers host the Cubs for three.

For the first time in this postseason, the Dodgers had a whole day to travel before opening up the home portion of their series. By winning on Sunday, the Dodgers captured home field advantage and can end the series in Los Angeles by winning the next three games.

A 2-3-2 series benefits the road team if they steal one of the first two, which the Dodgers have done. A home sweep would obviously be ideal, but if the Dodgers can win two of the three in LA, they’re in really good shape.

Dodgers Starter

Rich Hill gets the ball for the Dodgers for the third time this postseason. In game two in Washington, Hill gave up four runs in 4.1 innings. That’s obviously bad, but three of those came on one swing of the bat. In game five in Washington, Hill allowed one run in 2.2 innings, but was pulled out of a jam. In a normal game, he probably has to get out of that jam himself, but the must-win nature of that game forced him out.

While five runs in seven innings is obviously not good, there’s signs of the Hill we all fell in love with towards the end of the season. He’s recorded 21 outs in the postseason, and 13 of those came via the strikeout.

Hill last faced the Cubs as a reliever for the Red Sox in 2012. It shouldn’t be a surprise anymore when Hill, a pitcher that was out of baseball and has been in the AL since 2009, hasn’t faced many NL teams recently.

Cubs Starter

Jake Arrieta starts for the Cubs after coming back to earth after last years’ Cy Young campaign. Arrieta’s still been very good (3.10 ERA, 3.52 FIP), but it’s safe to say he won’t be drawing comparisons to Clayton Kershaw anymore.

Arrieta threw 229 innings last season, a high jump from his previous career high of 156. He came back to earth with 197 innings this season. Opponents had a .242 BABIP against Arrieta this season, which was the second-lowest among qualified starters. It’s probably not a coincidence, as four of the eight lowest BABIP’s were off Cub starters.

The Cubs lost Arrieta’s only start against the Dodgers this season in Chicago. He allowed two hits through seven shutout innings, but the bats scored five in two innings off the bullpen for a 5-0 win. The two hits are notable, as the last time he started at Dodger Stadium, he allowed zero hits. His no-hitter came with a side of 12 strikeouts, and a Jimmy Rollins walk and Starlin Castro error were the only things that prevented that from being a perfect game.

Arrieta’s struggles this year seem to be from his control. He led the NL in hits/9 for the second straight year, but his walks/9 jumped up from 1.9 to 3.5. Last year, he walked only 5.5 percent of the batters he faced. This year? 9.6 percent. Still not an awful number by any means, but his control seemed to waiver at times this year. Related, he led the NL with 16 wild pitches.

Dodgers Lineup

With a righty on the hill, the Dodgers roll with their normal lineup. Yasmani Grandal and hit hitting struggles remain in the lineup, but his framing has been great all series (s/o Mike Petriello here). His game calling and pitch framing are important, and while he’s left a ton of men on base this postseason, he still deserves to start (at least against righties)

Like I said earlier, Arrieta has allowed two hits in his last 16 innings against the Dodgers. Obviously, not many Dodgers have had much success against him. Adrian Gonzalez has six hits including a homer in 22 plate appearances against Arrieta. Josh Reddick has four hits in nine plate appearances with a homer.

Cubs Lineup

The Cubs did change their lineup, taking Jason Heyward out against a lefty. Jorge Soler starts in right. Their whole lineup has been struggling in the postseason. Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell, Dexter Fowler and Heyward are a combined 10-for-109 in the six postseason games they’ve played (s/o Sports Illustrated). Obviously, they’ve faced some fine pitching in San Francisco and LA, but if they’re going to need their bats to turn it around to break their curse.

David Ross, who isn’t starting since Jon Lester isn’t on the hill, has one hit in 14 plate appearances against Hill. No other Cub has faced Hill more than three times. Chris Coghlan has a double and Zobrist has a walk and a single in three plate appearances.

Other Stuff

First pitch is scheduled for 5:08 PST and will be shown on FS1. This will be the case tomorrow and Thursday as well.

Next: Should Either Team Shake Up the Lineup?

Julio Urias will start tomorrow, with Kenta Maeda currently slated to throw game five. If circumstances call for it, Clayton Kershaw could go five on short rest.