Chicago Cubs look to clinch NLCS series at home tonight

After pitching three times in six days, including saving Game 5 of the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, Clayton Kershaw got an extra day of rest before taking the mound tonight for the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs.

“It’s kind of nice,” Kershaw said Thursday. “Haven’t had that in a while, so it’s good. Should be ready to go.”

The Chicago Cubs, on the other hand, have two chances to end the Dodger’s season this weekend.

How we got here

Chicago took a 3-2 series lead after scoring 18 runs on 26 hits in the last two of three games. Anthony Rizzo homered in Game 4 and Addison Russell hit two-run shots in both Game 4 and 5 to break out of an offensive skid. [related-cartegory]

Rizzo had just two hits in his first seven postseason games, Russel had only one.

It takes a village…

It will take a complete offensive effort if the Cubs are going to beat Kershaw tonight and advance to their first World Series since 1945. Over his career, Kershaw has held the Cubs to a .218/.345/.614 slash line.

Chicago’s manager Joe Maddon put Rizzo back in his normal third spot in the lineup between Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist. Javier Baez is still in the fifth spot, where he hit a bases-clearing double in Game 5 to give the Cubs a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“It’s going to be a formidable event. Our guys will absolutely be ready for the moment, I promise you that,” Maddon said.

Opposing Kershaw tonight is Cubs breakout stud Kyle Hendricks, who led the MLB in ERA and is a formidable candidate in the Cy Young race as well. In Game 2, Hendricks threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up three hits and the game’s only run on a solo home run by Adrian Gonzalez in the second inning.

During the regular season, Hendricks was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA against Los Angeles, holding their offense to a .130/.261/.453 slash line.

Catching Hendricks tonight will be Willson Contreras. In 12 games during the regular season, opponents slashed .202/.318/.579 against the duo while Hendricks recorded a 1.51 ERA.

Slow-roll for Dodgers ‘O

In an effort to spark some offense, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided to drop Chase Utley in place of young outfielder Andrew Toles at the top of the lineup. Utley is currently in a 0-for-10 slide and will bat eighth.

Toles played in 48 games for the Dodgers this year, collecting a .314/.505/.870 slash line with three home runs, one triple, and 16 RBI.

The first team to score has won each of the first five games of this NLCS.

The lineups for tonight’s game are as follows:

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