After erupting offensively in the last two games, the Chicago Cubs took a 3-2 series lead Thursday night over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2016 National League Championship Series with the thrilling matchup set to return to Wrigley Field this weekend.

The Cleveland Indians are awaiting in the World Series, as they will host the opening two games with a fearsome bullpen that appears ready to lift this team to a championship. Yet, the Cubs and Dodgers must focus on pulling out their current series before worrying about Andrew Miller and company in the next round.

Let us take a look at the remaining NLCS television and live-stream schedule, as well as a breakdown of what lies ahead in Game 6.

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Game 6 Preview

Despite dropping two straight games earlier in this series without scoring a run, Chicago seems to have broken out of its offensive slump with 18 runs in the last two games.

The emergence of Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell is a big reason why. After coming into Game 4 with one hit in 26 at-bats, Rizzo is 5-for-10 with four RBI in his last two games. Russell entered Game 4 with one hit in 24 at-bats before exploding for 5-for-10 with four RBI as well in his previous two outings.

With a critical Game 5 on the line, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided to tab rookie Kenta Maeda, which did not turn out great as the starter went only 3.2 innings and allowed a run. This was Maeda‘s second loss of the series. However, Los Angeles has plenty of reason to be confident for a possible Game 7 with the proposition of Clayton Kershaw taking the mound on Saturday.

He will be coming off full rest from his last start in Game 2, where he went 7.2 innings with two hits and no runs allowed at Wrigley Field. This seems to be OK with the 28-year-old star, per the Los Angeles Times‘ Andy McCullough:

Before Game 5, Chicago manager Joe Maddon seemed to recognize the immense challenge his lineup faces, per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:

When [Kershaw]’s pitching well, he’s just that good. There is that certain set of pitchers that are that guy, and the confidence he brings to their group. There is no question about that. But at this time of the year, if you wanted to get to your ultimate goal, you have to beat people like that. You have to.

There’s always been that group of pitchers through history that pitched a lot in the postseason because they’re very good. And he’s one of them.

The lefty possesses a commanding fastball and a slew of other pitches that keep batters off balance. Yet, the Cubs were one of the better clubs in baseball against left-handed pitching, ranking seventh with a .267 team average. However, that mark has dropped dramatically in the postseason, where Chicago is hitting .170 as a team.

Kyle Hendricks is set to take the hill for the home team after a regular season in which he led the majors with a 2.13 ERA. He has been solid this postseason with three runs allowed in 9.0 innings, but Hendricks lost his Game 2 start to Kershaw.

Yet, the 26-year-old has been historically good against this Dodgers roster, as all current players are hitting a combined .195 against Hendricks for their careers. Although there is not a huge sample size, Hendricks has been stout against Los Angeles’ top bats:

This game looks to be a low-scoring affair similar to the 1-0 Dodgers win in Game 2. The Cubs have a slight advantage in this one simply because they are at home, where they sported MLB’s top home record this season with a stout 57-24 mark. Still, Kershaw was unfazed by this in Game 2, handing Chicago its first home loss of the playoffs.

Los Angeles’ suddenly dormant lineup could be the difference. The Dodgers have combined for a pedestrian six runs and 13 hits in the last two games, and the team is batting .224 in the postseason. Given that the club struggled on the road this season with a 38-43 record, it is tough to believe it can pull out a win on Saturday despite Kershaw‘s brilliance.


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