The 2016 National League Championship Series returns to Chicago on Saturday night for Game 6 as the Los Angeles Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound to square off against Chicago Cubs righty Kyle Hendricks. These same two pitchers matched up against each other on Sunday in Game 2 as it was Kershaw and the Dodgers who came away with the victory, 1-0.
— Tribune Graphics (@ChiTribGraphics) October 19, 2016
The Cubs enter Game 6 needing one win to make their first trip to the World Series since 1945. Unfortunately, the only Chicago hitter to have any career success against Kershaw is lead-off hitter Dexter Fowler who is 18-for-44 lifetime off the best pitcher in baseball. As a team, the Cubs have hit .241 lifetime off Kershaw in 133 at-bats with only two home runs and 12 RBIs to show for it.
That’s the bad news for Chicago. The good news is that Hendricks has had better career success against the Dodgers than Kershaw has had against the Cubs albeit in a smaller sample size. Hendricks has only allowed eights hits in 41 at-bats career to Dodgers hitters, although he has allowed a home run to Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner.
Will the Chicago Cubs win their third game in a row and make their first World Series trip in 71 years? Or will Clayton Kershaw help lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to victory and force a Game 7?
— Michelle Menconi (@MichelleMMM26) October 21, 2016
Let’s find out with some bold predictions.
Cubs Will Get To Kershaw Early
Chicago’s offense has been on fire the last two games as the team has scored 18 runs after only scoring one run combined in Games 2 and 3. Anthony Rizzo has awoken from his slumber and Addison Russell has hit a homer in each of the last two games. Don’t be surprised if the Cubs jump out to an early lead on Kershaw.
Dodgers Will Struggle With Hendricks
— Baseball Infografica (@BBInfographica) October 21, 2016
The Dodgers’ offense really hasn’t been that great in the playoffs. When they’ve won, it’s mostly been because the pitching staff has kept the opposing team off the board. When your offense is struggling, the worst thing to see is the pitcher with the best ERA in MLB coming your way. Expect Hendricks to have a pretty dominant outing on Saturday night.
Jorge Soler Will Start Over Jason Heyward
Heyward’s nightmare season has continued through the playoffs and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Soler offers a better matchup against the left-handed Kershaw, and although Heyward is by far the better defender, Joe Maddon will likely go with the potential home run threat in Soler over Heyward.
Corey Seager Has 3 Hits
Seager has been the Dodgers’ most consistent hitter this postseason and that should continue on Saturday night. Hendricks likes to work left-handers on the inner-half with his cutter, but Seager does a solid job of keeping his hands inside the baseball and going the other way. If anyone on the Dodgers can figure out Hendricks, it’s Seager.
Cubs Advance To World Series To Face Cleveland Indians
“I think we’re going to be talking about a Cubs/Indians World Series.”
RT if you agree with Tim Kurkjian pic.twitter.com/kKn6NfNqSJ
— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) October 21, 2016
The Cubs have been the best team in MLB all season long and despite a lull over Games 2 and 3, the team has found its groove over the last two games and have their best pitcher going on Saturday night. Expect a low-scoring affair with the Chicago Cubs edging out the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS and advancing to the 2016 World Series.
[Featured Image by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images]