Facing elimination from the 2016 MLB playoffs, the Los Angeles Dodgers turn to their ace, hoping to keep their World Series hopes alive. Clayton Kershaw will get the call for L.A. in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are seemingly in control of the series as they are one victory away from reaching the Fall Classic for the first time since 1945. After two consecutive wins in Los Angeles, Chicago looks like the team that led baseball in the regular season with 103 wins. The Cubs are the odds-on favorites to win the World Series, and they’ve been favored to win the title for almost the entire season.
But despite winning 12 fewer games in the regular season and losing Game 4 and Game 5 at home by a combined 12 runs, Kershaw puts the Dodgers in a great position to force Game 7. Playing in front of a rabid fanbase that has been anxiously waiting to win the pennant, Kershaw alone makes L.A. the favorites to win Game 6. The Dodgers have -132 betting odds, via Las Vegas sportsbooks, and the Cubs are +122 underdogs at home.
Kershaw has been the best pitcher in baseball for nearly a decade, and he’ll go down as one of the all-time greats. Having never experienced much playoff success before 2016, the left-hander is finally pitching his best when it matters most. He made appearances in all three of the Dodgers’ wins over the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, and he was almost perfect against the Cubs in Game 2. Taking the mound in Chicago for the second time in a week, Kershaw finds himself in a situation similar to the one he was in six days ago.
After scoring eight runs the night before in a win over Los Angeles, Chicago’s bats went silent against Kershaw in Game 2. The Cubs mustered just three baserunners in seven innings as they failed to score in an eventual shutout. Chicago scored exactly eight runs in their Game 5 victory, and Kershaw will try to keep the Cubs off the board, once again.
Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell entered Game 4 with just three combined postseason hits, but they’ve been the most important players in the Cubs’ lineup over the past two contests. Rizzo has five hits in 10 at-bats with four RBI, and Russell registered a home run and two RBI in each of the last the games. They are a combined 3-for-17 against Kershaw.
Kyle Hendricks, the MLB ERA leader, will start for Chicago, going head-to-head with Kershaw for a second straight start. He suffered the loss in Game 2 by giving up just one run in 5.1 innings of work.
But considering the way the Dodgers’ ace has pitched throughout his career and in the 2016 playoffs, all signs point to a Game 7 on Sunday night.
Prediction: Los Angeles over Chicago, 3-0