With Jake Arrieta on the mound, the Chicago Cubs seemed to be ready to right the ship. Rich Hill and the Los Angeles Dodgers had other ideas.

Hill threw six innings of shutout ball, and the Dodgers bullpen shut the door in a 6-0 triumph in Tuesday’s Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner each went deep, and Corey Seager had three hits in the contest.

Arrieta lasted just five innings, giving up four runs.

The Dodgers now carry a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 (odds available via Odds Shark), which is no doubt critical for both teams. If the Dodgers win, they’re almost surely headed to the World Series after a handful of years of their high-cost roster coming up short. We learned during this year’s NBA Finals that 3-1 leads aren’t necessary foolproof, but the odds are exponentially in their favor.

Julio Urias, the 20-year-old rookie who burst onto the scene after coming up in May, will get the start for the Dodgers. Urias had an ERA under 2.00 in each of the final two months of the regular season but hasn’t thrown deep into games. He hasn’t lasted longer than 3.2 innings since Sept. 2 and went six innings just three times all season.

The Dodgers handed him the ball for two scoreless innings in their Game 5 National League Division Series win over the Washington Nationals. He needed 30 pitches and walked two but earned his first career postseason win.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had this to say about Urias, per Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today:

He’s been throwing the ball really well. Certain starts, the command might not be where it is. But he just has a way to still get swing and misses. It’s nice for a guy that has four pitches that he can attack hitters in a lot of different ways. … He’s come a long way. We’ll have a good game plan and I expect him to execute it.

Of course, we’re kind of burying the lede here. Urias is not just bucking recent personal trends by making a start here. He’s becoming the youngest pitcher in MLB history to start a playoff game.

Urias will be 107 days younger than Bret Saberhagen was when he threw for the Kansas City Royals in 1984. It’s a start that will harken some memories of Fernando Valenzuela for Dodgers fans. Valenzuela spearheaded Los Angeles’ World Series victory in 1981 as a 20-year-old as part of a historic Cy Young season.

Urias won’t have quite that level of expectations, but it appears he’s ready to handle the pressure.

“You feel the adrenaline even when you’re in the dugout not doing anything, so you can imagine what it’s like in the game,” Urias said, per Ortiz. “It’s something you have to feel, like I felt it in Washington, and I felt like I could handle it. It’s the same thing tomorrow. I have the mindset that I can do it.”

The Cubs are handing the ball to John Lackey, whose career is…on the opposite side of Urias‘. Lackey has more postseason starts (21) than Urias has in his career. When Lackey made his MLB debut in 2002, Urias was hanging out in elementary school and probably just getting a formal handle on the alphabet.

Lackey looked shaky in his first postseason start this year, allowing three runs in four innings against the San Francisco Giants. 

“Sometimes it can be good to be young,” Lackey said, per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. “You don’t know what you’re getting into. You can just go out there and let your talent take over, and obviously, [Urias] has a lot of that. It’s a new situation for him. Back [in 2002] I was just worried about, you know, not messing it up for the older guys more than anything.”

Lackey, of course, will simply be carrying the continued pressure of this Cubs run. After more than a hundred years of futility and heartbreak, it’s become almost expected that the Cubs rampage through these playoffs and pull out a World Series. The cities of Cleveland and Boston have already made it abundantly clear curses are a falsehood.

But with these Cubs facing their first real back-against-the-wall moment, it’ll be up to Lackey to get the job done against his 20-year-old counterpart.

Game 4 Prediction: Cubs 5, Dodgers 3

Series Prediction: Cubs in 7

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