Cubs @ Dodgers Oct. 20, 2016: NLCS Game 5

With the National League Championship Series tied 2-2, this is a rather sizable game for both the Cubs and Dodgers. The Cubs are rolling out their regulars, while the Dodgers are … not.

Cubs
Dodgers
5:08 p.m.
Los Angeles
CF
Fowler
2B
Hernandez
3B
Bryant
3B
Turner
1B
Rizzo
SS
Seager
LF
Zobrist
C
Ruiz
2B
Baez
LF
Kendrick
RF
Heyward
1B
Gonzalez
SS 
Russell RF Puig
C
Ross
CF
Pederson
P
 Lester (L)
P
Maeda (R)

This is the biggest game of the season and Enrique Hernandez is leading off. Yep. It’s a veritable “Sunday Special” lineup in Game 5 of the NLCS. I don’t like complaining about the lineup because, ultimately, it doesn’t make that big a difference. But batting perhaps the worst hitter on the roster leadoff in a game of this magnitude is just beyond me.

And the backup catcher is hitting cleaning, mostly because Yasiel Puig hasn’t looked particularly great in the playoffs. If nothing else, I guess it gives the Cubs and Jon Lester a different look than they’ve seen in this series, but I’m not confident this lineup as constructed is going to have a ton of success against Lester. And most of that is probably because Lester is a really good pitcher.

That was a long time ago. #Analysis

At least Kenta Maeda is starting. I was a bit skeptical up until the time the lineups were announced that perhaps Clayton Kershaw would get the ball, but Dave Roberts stuck to his word and is starting Maeda tonight. I wrote about that being the right decision earlier today.

“At some point, a non-Kershaw/Hill starter is going to have to step up. Maeda couldn’t ask for much more than what’s in front of him. If he can give the Dodgers five solid innings, they would take that and never look back.

Every remaining game this season is the ‘biggest game of the season.’ But this one has a bit more riding on it. If Maeda and the Dodgers win, Kershaw in a clinching Game 6 is the best-case for the Dodgers. If they fall, there’s a good chance this comes down to Hill and Jake Arrieta in Game 7.”

This is a tad disconcerting from No. 1 Cubs fan Mike Petriello.

The moral of the story: Don’t throw any fastballs. Actually, Maeda needs to figure out how to command his fastball tonight. If he can live on the edges, his off-speed stuff will be even more effective than it already has been. That is the key to the game. Lester is going to hold the Dodgers at bay; Maeda will need to do his best to match Lester for at least four innings, and preferably five.

——

It would be most good if the Dodgers won tonight. If Maeda is going to take down the Cubs, things are optimized for him to do so … you know, except for the lineup.

Oh, and Vin is in attendance.

https://twitter.com/Dodgers/status/789237661701513216

Don’t screw this up.

ThrowsRelieverSat 10/15Sun 10/16Mon 10/17Tue 10/18Wed 10/19Thur 10/20Fri 10/21
LAvilan--OFF-2421OFF
RBaez34-OFF-2727OFF
RBlanton28-OFF13-19OFF
LDayton3-OFF16-12OFF
RFields--OFF-910OFF
RJansen-18OFF21--OFF
RStripling10-OFF-2018OFF
LWood--OFF-32-OFF

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.