Chicago prolonged the supposed inevitable on Wednesday night, using two home runs by Javy Baez and a 490+ foot blast by Willson Contreras to scratch out a 3-2 win and make some semblance of a series that the Dodgers still lead 3-1. Unfortunately for the Cubs in the 2017 NLCS Game 5 free pick, Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for Los Angeles. Jose Quintana takes the hill for Chicago – and their starters have been good – but the Cubs bullpen is a sorted mess right now.
We’ll see you for Game 5. #FlyTheW pic.twitter.com/AY1gpXUjjJ
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 19, 2017
What Kershaw Will We See?
Clayton Kershaw has largely exorcised his postseason demons. but he still hasn’t been completely untouchable. The left hander has given up 9 hits and 6ER in 11.1 IP in the postseason. He pitched 5 IP and allowed 4 hits in a game one start against Chicago.. However, it was Kershaw that was on the hill in the decisive game 6 of last year’s NLCS. He took the loss for Los Angeles after giving up 7 hits and 4 ER in 5.0 IP including HR to Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo. How much does that game weigh on Kershaw tonight?
Kershaw has given up 5 HR to current Cubs batters and they have a .237 BA against him. Chicago has won five straight when facing elimination in the postseason, and there’s a positive sentiment in the atmosphere that the Cubs really can get to Kershaw tonight. There are two things to consider however – 1) the Cubs are still hitting just .172 this postseason and 2) closer Wade Davis will not be available after pitching 48 pitches last night. If Kershaw is Kershaw in the 2017 NLCS Game 5 free pick, Chicago may be in trouble.
Does anyone remember what happened the last time Kershaw pitched at Wrigley? pic.twitter.com/MCWEM01ovU
— Jeff Falk (@ebsoftball) October 19, 2017
Does Chicago Keep the Momentum Going?
The Cubs will have the even keeled Jose Quintana on the hill and he went toe-to-toe with Kershaw in a 5.0 IP no decision in game one. It was a positive outing for Quintana, who is making his first career postseason appearances during this run. The left hander has sported a .159 ERA through 3 games (2 starts, 1 relief). He has held the Dodgers to a .267 average across 45 career ABs.
Jake Arrieta was masterful against the Dodgers last night in Wrigley as the Dodgers collected just 4 hits total. Los Angeles has shown some explosiveness on the road with their bats though as they scattered out 9 hits, 6 runs, and 2 HR in game three. In spite of the Cubs’ win last night, they still only collect 5 hits and haven’t scored a run by any means besides a home run in the whole series.
ME: Hope Quintana can go 7
YOU: what about the bullpen
ME: Hope Quintana can go 9
YOU: who’s gonna score
ME: Hope Quintana can go 14
— Nick Devlin (@nickdevlin) October 19, 2017
2017 NLCS Game 5 Free Pick
Oddsmakers have set Los Angeles at -153 favorites although a wager on the Cubs to continue their comeback run pays out +135. You can either bet on Kershaw getting upset like he did in the NLCS game 6 a year ago, or you can bank on one of the best left-handers of all time shutting down a struggling offense. Even if Kershaw struggles, the Dodgers have one of the best bullpens in baseball. Chicago has a bullpen that has been iffy at best this offseason. A home crowd can provide only so much momentum – it’s pitching that wins tonight.
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -153