The MLB season continues on Tuesday, with both the NLCS and ALCS featuring crucial games for different reasons. In the NLCS, both teams will be looking to take control of the series. In the ALCS, things might come to a close on Tuesday.

Below, we’ll break down the remaining schedules of the series, all of the viewing information and preview the contests on tap.

It’s all up for grabs between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the series tied at one game apiece and shifting to Los Angeles for the next three contests. 

The Cubs will be pleased to avoid Clayton Kershaw in those contests (though he likely would make an appearance in Game 5 if the Dodgers drop the next two contests and find themselves facing elimination). After all, the Dodgers are 4-0 in games Kershaw has pitched in this postseason and 0-3 in games where he hasn’t made an appearance.

A lot of talk surrounding the Cubs has been based on the pressure they face as they try to end the organization’s long championship drought, but the Dodgers are under immense pressure against a loaded Cubs lineup, too. Yes, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell have struggled. But Javier Baez and Kris Bryant have carried the Cubs in their stead, and it’s hard to imagine the team’s bats staying quiet for long.

“We haven’t hit to our capabilities,” manager Joe Maddon told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. “However, we won a series against a really good October-tested team, and now we’re 1-1 against a very good team coming back here. So you try to balance it out.”

Maddon added:

There’s only so much you can possibly do when it comes to manipulating your lineup. These are the guys that got you here. These are your guys. We’ve got a bunch of All-Stars out there. When you get to this point, you’ve got five games left to really make it right as opposed to 75 to make it right. There is a difference with that. There are certain things you’d do in the middle of the season in order to move something along, just not during the playoffs.

With neither team hitting particularly well, Game 3 should feature a doozy of a pitching duel between Chicago’s Jake Arrieta and L.A.’s Rich Hill. And Tuesday’s game is pivotal. Win, and the Cubs will guarantee the series returns to Chicago (unless they win all three games in Los Angeles, that is). Lose, and the possibility remains that the Dodgers could end the series at home. 

A lot is on the line Tuesday night. The Cubs will be glad Kershaw doesn’t have a say in the matter.

While everything is up for grabs between the Cubs and Dodgers, Cleveland appears to have things wrapped up in the ALCS. The team took a 3-0 lead on Monday night and is now a perfect 6-0 this postseason, continuing a dominant run despite having to overcome a number of injuries late in the season. 

What has been even more impressive against the Blue Jays, however, has been how dominant Cleveland’s pitching has been. Against a Toronto offense that finished third in the American League in home runs and fifth in runs this season, Cleveland has given up just three total runs in three games.

That’s in contrast to the 22 runs and eight home runs the Blue Jays hit in three games against the Texas Rangers in the ALDS.

The trio of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki are a combined 4-for-31 in the series and haven’t managed to score a run or produce an RBI. And now the team’s struggling offense now has to face Cleveland ace Corey Kluber in Game 4.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Toronto manager John Gibbons told Ian Harrison of the Associated Press (via CBC Sports). “That’s an understatement.”

Outfielder Kevin Pillar added: “It’s obviously tough. We got some big hits in the wild-card game and that kind of carried over to the Texas series. It’s that simple. We just haven’t been able to execute when we need it.”

They’ll need to execute to stay alive in Game 4, and they’ll need starter Aaron Sanchez to do better in his second postseason start after he gave up six runs in 5.2 innings against the Rangers on Oct. 9. 

The Blue Jays are running on fumes at this point. But given their loaded and dangerous lineup, they are still capable of slugging their way back into this series. They’ll have to wake up against Kluber, however, who has struck out 13 batters and hasn’t given up a run in 13.1 postseason innings.

So yes, things look bleak for the Blue Jays. 


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