The Chicago Cubs offense came to life in Game 4, as they powered past the Dodgers to a 10-2 victory. They’ll look to take the advantage in a pivotal Game 5 in Los Angeles Thursday night.
Game 5 will start at 8:08 p.m. ET and air on FS1. Joe Buck and John Smoltz will be in the booth and Ken Rosenthal will be reporting from the field.
The Cubs will have arguably their best pitcher this postseason on the bump with Jon Lester pitching Thursday night. Lester has started two games this postseason, allowing just one run in 14 innings. Lester has also pitched 21 innings against the Dodgers and owns a 0.86 ERA in those matchups. The 32-year-old has a career 2.57 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 95 strikeouts over 112 career postseason innings.
The Dodgers will be responding by sending out Kenta Maeda. The 28-year-old right-hander has made two starts this postseason, but was roughed up, allowing at least three runs and not pitching more than four innings on both occasions. Maeda has pitched big playoff games in Japan before, so he should be used to the pressure, but this will likely be the most consequential game he has pitched in his young MLB career.
Anthony Rizzo, who had hit 2 for 26 in the postseason prior to Wednesday night, went 3 for 5 with a home run. Addison Russell had a similar story. Just 1 for 24 entering Game 4, Russell broke out with a 3-for-5 game and a home run of his own. The Cubs’ two coldest postseason bats provided the offensive boost needed to help their team earn the win. Seven of the Cubs’ nine starters were able to get on base and score a run in Wednesday’s game, and if the Cubs can continue to produce like that in the remaining games of this series, their chances of making their first World Series in over 70 years will be quite good.
For the Dodgers, it will be all about whether their bullpen can keep the game close. In 34 2⁄3 playoff innings this season, their relievers have posted a 4.41 ERA. If Maeda continues his trend of allowing a few runs and leaving the game early, it may be too much to ask an underperforming Dodgers bullpen to handle the load. The Dodgers may have to hope Maeda can go deep into Game 5 in order to avoid that issue.
How to Watch NLCS Game 5
When: 8:08 p.m. ET
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.
Radio: ESPN Radio