The Chicago Cubs offense finally came to life over the past two games of the 2016 National League Championship Series to push the drought-stricken organization within one victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers of reaching its first World Series since 1945.

Now the pressure shifts to the Dodgers, who had taken early control of the series with two straight shutouts in Games 2 and 3. They’ll hope sending ace Clayton Kershaw to the mound Saturday night can silence the suddenly revitalized Cubs lineup once again.

Let’s check out all of the important viewing information for the final two games of the series, though Game 7 may not be needed. That’s followed by a look at the updated odds and a prediction for whether Los Angeles can force a deciding game Sunday.


2016 NLCS Schedule


Current Series Odds


Game 6 Preview

The Dodgers were in the driver’s seat with a 2-1 series lead and Kershaw looming for Game 6. Winning one of the final two games at home would have sent them back to Chicago with the league’s best pitcher prepared to break the hearts of Cubs fans again.

Instead, the club now needs a dominant performance from its ace just to keep the season alive. He pitched a gem in Game 2, tossing seven shutout innings with six strikeouts while giving up just two hits and walking one. L.A. needs a similar outing Saturday night.

Knowing Kershaw will be on the mound is a mental boost for the Dodgers, though. Kike Hernandez further explained why the team remains upbeat about its chances of a comeback despite heading out on the road with its back against the wall, per Jack Baer of

This team is more than capable of winning two games in a row. In Game 6, we have the best pitcher on the mound, and then in Game 7, we have Rich [Hill], who looked pretty good against them. The last time we lost two in a row, we came back and won two in a row against Washington, so I don’t see why we’re out of this. We’re still pretty confident we can come back and win a series.

Of course, the Cubs don’t have a slouch taking the ball in Game 6, either. Kyle Hendricks actually led baseball in ERA during the regular season with a 2.13 mark because Kershaw (1.69) didn’t have enough innings to qualify due to some injury issues.

The 26-year-old breakout sensation has earned comparisons to former Atlanta Braves ace Greg Maddux, who had two stints with the Cubs, because he carves up hitters without the electric stuff of a Kershaw. Maddux told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers he likes what he’s seen from the Cubs starter.

“He does all those things usually better than the guys he’s facing,” Maddux said. “If it was a radar contest, then why play the game, right? Velocity is nice, but command and movement are better.”

In an era where there’s so much focus on upper-90s fastballs and monster strikeout totals, it’s refreshing to see a pitcher who can get hitters out consistently by attacking every area of the strike zone.

All told, it sets the stage for a pitcher’s duel Saturday night. It’s hard to imagine two offenses that have run hot and cold throughout the playoffs are going to generate a ton of chances against two of the top pitchers in the game this year.

ESPN Stats and Info passed along a stat to showcase how important it is for the Cubs to get into the Dodgers bullpen:

If Chicago is able to get Kershaw out of the game before the seventh inning, its chances of winning certainly skyrocket, even in a close game. But it’s more likely the lefty goes the distance to force Game 7 for the National League pennant.

Prediction: 3-2 Dodgers


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