With the Los Angeles Dodgers dropping Game 1 of the National League Championship Series and staring at a 2-0 deficit, they put all their faith in Clayton Kershaw. Once again, the best pitcher in baseball rewarded that faith.

Kershaw threw seven scoreless innings and Kenley Jansen closed out the final two as the Dodgers earned a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. It’s the third time Kershaw pitched in the span of six days, including his save in Game 5 of the National League Division Series on one day’s rest.

“It should surprise me what he’s doing,” Dodgers president Andrew Friedman told USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, “but being around him, the way he prepares, how he competes, it really doesn’t surprise me. It almost feels like I’m being too flippant about it, but I just know him well enough not to be surprised about it.”

The Dodgers, thanks to Kershaw, have overtaken home-field advantage.

Their odds of keeping it heading into Game 3? Not so great.

Taking the mound for the Cubs is ace Jake Arrieta, perhaps Kershaw‘s only near-equal over the last three seasons among NL pitchers. Arrieta, like Kershaw, had his issues during the regular season. While the Dodgers ace struggled with injuries, Arrieta saw his performance go from unhittable in the first two months to merely good over the last four.

He finished 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. That’s an increase of nearly a run-and-a-half over the course of nine innings and an extra 0.22 batters getting on base per inning from his Cy Young 2015. FanGraphs WAR formula tabulated Arrieta‘s at 3.8 for 2016—almost a decrease of half from last season.

“I think last year is indicative of what Jake is all about,” manager Joe Maddon told reporters. “This season everybody has been over-scrutinizing him based on what he had done last year. He had a great season. It’s not maybe as great as last year was, but it’s hard to replicate that.”

Arrieta gave up two runs over six solid innings of work in his NLDS start against the San Francisco Giants. It was the only game Chicago lost in the series, though Arrieta took a no-decision.

The Dodgers will start Rich Hill, himself dealing with a fair share of frustration over the second half of the season. An early Cy Young contender after breaking out with the Oakland Athletics, Hill’s midseason acquisition did not turn out to be a home run for the Dodgers. The lefty spent more of his time limited by a recurring blister on his throwing hand, which put him on the shelf at times and forced him out of starts early in others.

Hill had two starts in the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, neither of which were entirely successful. He took the loss in Game 2 after giving up four runs in 4.1 innings and then threw 2.2 innings while pitching on short rest in Game 5. While he only allowed one run, Washington got five runners on base.

“You’ve been working days, weeks, months, years, decades,” Hill told reporters. “Everybody always says, ‘This is what you play for. This is what you play for.’ It is. This is what you play for.”

The Cubs bats will be looking to enliven themselves after suffering their first shutout loss since an August matchup with these same Dodgers. Chicago has been shut out seven times in 2016, three of which came against Los Angeles. The young upstarts were only shut down twice in the second half, however, and pelted the Dodgers for eight runs in Game 1.

“We can win all of them,” Javier Baez told reporters. “We know we’re the best. We got the best team out there. (But) you got to play the game.”

Baez has been the star of the postseason for the Cubs, recording a base hit in every game while hitting .391/.417/.609. He and Kris Bryant have been doing the heavy work in the middle of the order while a majority of the roster has struggled.

Catcher David Ross had this to say about Baez, per Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:

He’s probably the most exciting player in baseball right now. He’s energetic, he’s not scared of the moment. He stays true to who he is with baserunning and the flair he has. He doesn’t shy away from that in the big moment; it almost comes out more. His instincts, to steal home there, to come out and have the guts to do that, that should tell you a lot about Javy Baez. He’s a fearless individual and he’s very, very talented.

The underlying numbers say Baez could be in store for another big game. He hit .311 against lefties during the regular season, with his slugging percentage jumping more than 70 points. With Arrieta on the mound, all it could take is one big swing to have the Cubs back in command. 

Prediction: Cubs 4, Dodgers 2

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