Cubs-Dodgers NLCS Game 4: How to watch, live stream info, expert picks, predictions
We have a fun pitching matchup with a grizzled postseason veteran against a kid
LOS ANGELES -- In a pivotal Game 3 victory, the Dodgers took control of the best-of-seven NLCS over the Cubs in convincing fashion. Neither team will have any time to let the memory of Game 3 linger, as Game 4 is set for Wednesday in Dodger Stadium.
The key details
The pitching matchup in this one is very fun for its contrast. On one side, we've got a kid not even yet of drinking age set to make postseason history by being the youngest player to ever start a playoff game. On the other, a man who will turn 38 years old in a few days with 21 career postseason starts.
See? That's fun. A bit deeper dive coming ...
Julio Urias (5-2, 3.39) vs. Cubs
At 20 years and 68 days old, Urias will become the youngest pitcher to ever start a postseason game.
"I thank God for the accomplishment, but I have to put that aside," Urias said Tuesday afternoon. "I really want to play a good game for my team, and that's really what it's about."
Urias got off to a rocky start in his big-league career and the Cubs were part of that. His second career start came in Wrigley Field and they tagged him for six runs (five earned) on eight hits in five innings. He allowed three home runs in that game.
Urias rebounded after the All-Star break, though, pitching to a 1.99 ERA in 40 2/3 innings. He had some excellent outings, such as against the Cubs on Aug. 27 (6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K). That one came in Dodger Stadium.
Urias was better at home (3.05 ERA) than on the road (3.72) which isn't very surprising.
One thing to watch here is that Urias isn't stretched out. He hasn't completed four innings since Sept. 2 and hasn't thrown 60 or more pitches since Sept. 13. Given the Cubs' penchant to work long counts, this could become an issue early for Urias and the Dodgers.
Something to watch: Urias led the majors with six pickoffs even though he only threw 77 innings. For comparison's sake, Johnny Cueto was second with five, and he worked 219 2/3 innings. The Cubs were only picked off nine times all season, making them one of the more difficult teams to catch sleeping on the bases (the league average was 12 and the leaders -- Reds and Padres -- were picked off 20 times).
John Lackey (11-8, 3.35) vs. Dodgers
Lackey's postseason dossier is littered with very good outings. Overall, he's 8-5 with a 3.22 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings in his playoff career. He's coming off an outing that wasn't very good in San Francisco, where he was removed after just four innings, having allowed three runs on seven hits.
Overall, though, how might the experience help?
"Probably with the stuff outside the game, there's a lot of like doing this kind of stuff the day before your start that you don't have to do in the regular season," Lackey said of his Tuesday press conference. "There might be -- if you're pitching on a day where there are flyovers and the extra time in between innings, just knowing how to handle those sort of things and kind of slowing the moment down a little bit."
One thing about Lackey is that, while he does throw hard, he's not an exceptional strikeout pitcher (180 K in 188 1/3 innings these days is a slightly better than league average rate) and he will pound the zone. So if the Dodgers are aggressive, they'll find some pitches to hit. They fall around league average in pitches per plate appearance and looking strikes, so there's nothing really sticking out on this front.
Lackey hasn't faced the Dodgers this season. He has good career numbers in Dodger Stadium (2.57 ERA, 0.86 WHIP), but he hasn't pitched there since 2013.
With Lackey being right handed, it's worth a reminder that the lefty-heavy Dodgers are one of the best offensive teams in baseball against righties.
CBS Sports Predictions
As for how we think it'll shake out, take a gander.
|R.J. Anderson||Mike Axisa||Jonah Keri||Dayn Perry||Bill Reiter||Matt Snyder|
At least two people have gotten the winner correct.
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