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2017 National League Championship Series Game 3 preview: Cubs vs. Dodgers, Tuesday 10/17, 8 p.m. CT

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The series moves to Wrigley, and the Cubs hope the bats wake up.

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Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Here’s some good news for tonight:

That’s baseball weather, for sure, quite nice for mid-October, and also very nice for the idea of Cubs hitters getting the bats going.

A few notes for tonight:

  • Cubs starting pitchers have posted a 1.98 ERA (8 ER/36⅓ IP) in seven post-season games. That 1.98 ERA leads all starting rotations this October and their .169 batting average against is second (Washington’s starters logged a .138 average against the Cubs).
  • The Cubs have scored 20 runs in seven games this postseason, however, nine of those came in game five of the NLDS in Washington. The Cubs have scored just 11 runs in the other six contests (1.8 runs per game).
  • And you’ve probably heard this one: The Cubs are 3-1 when not hitting a homer in a post-season game and 0-3 when going deep at least once. I wouldn’t usually say “Don’t hit home runs!”, but that seems to be the way to win games for the Cubs this postseason, at least up to now.

Lastly, I wish I didn’t have to say this, but it’s become necessary. I have received multiple complaints about several posters’ actions in the game threads. We are all frustrated with the way the Cubs have played in the first two games of this series. That is not a call for you to take it out on your fellow Cubs fans. I ask for everyone to please try to be nice to each other in the threads. Thanks.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Zobrist 2B, Schwarber LF, Bryant 3B, Rizzo 1B, Contreras C, Jay CF, Russell SS, Heyward RF, Hendricks P

Dodgers lineup:

Taylor SS, Bellinger 1B, Turner 3B, Puig RF, Ethier LF, Utley 2B, Barnes C, Pederson CF, Darvish P

Chris Taylor started just 14 games at shortstop during the regular season for the Dodgers, and hasn't played there at all since September 7, possibly something to watch for tonight.

Kyle Hendricks vs. Yu Darvish

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Hendricks has a 2.60 ERA in nine postseason starts, with a 1.133 WHIP. One of those starts was the Game 6 NLCS clincher against the Dodgers last year, one of the best starts of Hendricks’ career.

Kyle didn’t face the Dodgers at all this during the 2017 regular season and apart from his two starts against them in the 2016 NLCS (12⅔ innings, one earned run), the last time he faced them was June 2, 2016 at Wrigley Field, another outstanding outing: eight innings, three hits, two runs. (Lots of changes in the Dodgers lineup since then, though.)

So Kyle, who seems to rise to the occasion in big games, is going to have to do it again. I have full confidence in “The Professor.”

The Dodgers got Yu Darvish from the Rangers at the trading deadline to shore up their rotation, and he has done that. He gave them nine pretty good regular-season starts, and threw five solid innings against the D-backs in Game 3 of their division series, allowing just one run and striking out seven.

That was Darvish’s only start since September 25. Cubs pitchers seem overworked. Is Darvish underworked by going only once in 22 days?

The last time he faced the Cubs was July 16, 2016 at Wrigley Field. It was his first start back from a DL stint, so whether it means much is hard to tell. He walked four and struck out nine in 4⅓ innings.

It should be noted that Darvish seems susceptible to the long ball. He allowed 27 home runs this year in 186⅔ innings. Now, this comment is only relevant if the Cubs bats get going. Tonight would be a good time to do that.

Today’s game is on TBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Ron Darling and Sam Ryan.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday (classic mode) (Note: Going forward, I am going to link to the “classic” Gameday here because MLB.com broke the links I used to use to get to their “new” Gameday. If you click on this link, you can then click on “New Gameday” at the bottom of the page to get to the updated version. Note that the “classic” Gameday won’t load until just before game time.)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Dodgers site True Blue LA. If you do go there to interact with Dodgers fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2017 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used during 2016. Here's how it works.

You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.

You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in the game's StoryStream as noted above.

The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.

Get tickets to Cubs games from our partner StubHub here.

Discuss amongst yourselves.