NLCS Game 3 Preview: Yu Darvish vs. Kyle Hendricks

The Professor(AshMarshall via Flickr)

The Cubs are back at the ‘Friendly Confines’ of historic Wrigley Field for game 3 versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. Down 2–0 the Cubs are perhaps faced with a must win situation. When Justin Turner took a John Lackey fastball out for a walk off winner Sunday night in the bottom of the ninth it made the objective crustal clear. Defend your house and get back to L.A.

Kyle Hendricks has been brilliant in the postseason. He sports a 6–3 record and a 2.60 ERA. In game 1 of the NLDS this year he went 7 strong innings and led the Cubs to a 3–0 shutout of Washington. In game 5 he was involved in perhaps one of the craziest playoff games ever. He gave up 9 hits in 4 innings while surrendering 4 runs. He also struck out 7 and only walked 1 in the no-decision. Last year in game 6 of the NLCS against these same Dodgers he stared down Clayton Kershaw and went 7.1 innings while giving up 2 hits and no runs. He struck out 6 and did not walk anybody. Then in game 7 of the World Series he went 4.2 innings, surrendering the ball to Jon Lester, giving up 4 hits and 2 runs(1 earned). The Professor is battle tested, cold as ice, and will not be shaken by the moment.

The right hander Yu Darvish has made 3 starts in the postseason and is 1–2. His lone start this postseason came against Arizona in game 3 of the NLDS. He worked 5 innings. He gave up 2 hits and 1 run while walking 0 and striking out 7. In 16.2 innings of playoff pitching he has a 4.32 ERA. He has surrendered 5 long balls and 12 hits.

The Cubs offense needs to jump on Darvish early and get in his head. They have only managed 3 runs in 2 games.

“Most of the times when you’re able to get pitchers of that quality, two things have to occur: They’re off with their command a little bit and you get them early in the game,” Maddon said. “When guys like that settle in, it becomes increasingly difficult to get (to) them.”

What are Kyle Hendricks’ thoughts about Justin Turner and the Dodgers offense?

“He’s one of the best in the league,” Hendricks said. “He’s the guy you can’t let beat you, even with (Cody) Bellinger behind him, he’s that guy for them. So you have to see where you’re at situationally, where you’re at in the game, whether you pitch around him or whether you attack him. But it’s a cat-and-mouse game, for sure, with him.”

What does Hendricks taking the ball tonight mean for the Cubs?

“I feel really good about it,” Maddon said of Hendricks starting with his team down 2–0 in the series. “By Tuesday night the bullpen should be pretty much back to normalcy. So we’ll see.”

Doug Preszler is the type of person who can be a Cubs fan and an Iowa fan while living in South Dakota. He is a man who cares not for regional loyalty. He can be found on Twitter here, telling tales of the Dakotan Cubs fan’s existence.