playoffs 2016: Dodgers-Cubs NLCS TV schedule

null Baseball null null The Cubs are four wins away from playing in their first World Series since 1945 and are eight away from winning it all for the first time since 1908. The preseason favorites took three of four from the Giants in the NL Division Series thanks to a dominant rotation and late-inning heroics by the offense. Chicago advanced to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series.The Dodgers are also looking to end a World Series drought. The NL West champions haven’t been to the Fall Classic since Kirk Gibson and Orel Hershiser led the underdog club to a ring in 1988. This time around the Dodgers are long shots again, not only because they are facing the Cubs but also because of the use of key pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, each of whom pitched past their comfort zone in the Game 5 NLDS clincher over the Nationals. Their availability and effectiveness will be a question mark early in the series beginning Saturday in Chicago.  MORE: Top 50 players in the playoffsHere’s what you need to know about the NLCS.  TV scheduleGame 1: Dodgers at Cubs, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 — Kenta Maeda (16-11, 3.48 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA).Game 2: Dodgers at Cubs, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 — *Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 1.69 ERA)  vs. Kyle Hendricks (16-8, 2.13 ERA).Game 3: Cubs at Dodgers, Tuesday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 — Jake Arrieta (18-8, 3.10 ERA) vs. *Julio Urias (5-2, 3.39 ERA).Game 4: Cubs at Dodgers, Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 — John Lackey (11-8, 3.35 ERA) vs. *Rich Hill (12-5, 2.12 ERA).Game 5 (if necessary): Cubs at Dodgers, Thursday, 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 Game 6 (if necessary): Dodgers at Cubs, Saturday, Oct. 22, time TBA on Fox Sports 1Game 7 (if necessary): Dodgers at Cubs, Sunday, Oct. 23, time TBA on Fox Sports 1*Probable pitcherMORE: We rank the remaining four teamsPlayers to watchThe heart of the Cubs’ order has been flat in these playoffs; the regular third through sixth hitters — Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell and Jason Heyward — are a combined 6 for 58 (.103) with 13 strikeouts. Rizzo, along with fellow MVP candidate Kris Bryant, are the first Cubs duo with 75 extra-base hits in the same season since 1930.Chicago’s Game 1 starter, Jon Lester, hurled eight shutout innings in his lone start against the Giants in the NLDS, retiring his final 13 batters he faced. The southpaw will face a Dodgers lineup that ranked last in batting average (.213) against left-handed pitching. Lester held the Dodgers to one run in 15 innings over two starts this season, including a four-hitter in June. Game 2 starter Kyle Hendricks was 9-2 with a 1.32 ERA in 15 home games this year.Did Clayton Kershaw finally have his signature October moment when he recorded a two-out save in Game 5 of the NLDS? Will the save help buck a negative playoff trend for the three-time Cy Young Award winner? Kershaw is 3-6 with a 4.79 ERA in 16 playoff games (12 starts). Julio Urias (and his sneaky pickoff move) is 5-0 with a 1.90 ERA since the All-Star break.  Yasmani Grandal, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers four players with 25 or more home runs during the regular season for just the fourth time in franchise history. Turner and Pederson went a combined 2 for 44 against Chicago this year, however.  MORE: Lester says Cubs don’t care about curses Key statsThis will be the third meeting of the season between the Cubs and Dodgers and their first playoff meeting since the 2008 NLDS (the Dodgers won the series 3-0). Chicago took the season series this year, 4-3, although it did not face Clayton Kershaw in any of the seven games. The Cubs hit just .200 in the NLDS, the lowest of the eight teams to complete in that round. The Dodgers hit .226. In addition to setting a record with 1,510 strikeouts during the regular season, Dodgers pitchers finished among the major league leaders in ERA (3.70, fifth), opponents’ batting average (.233, second), WHIP (1.19, second) and shutouts (15, tied for first). The Cubs won a -best 103 games in the regular season. Of the last 27 teams with at least 100 wins in the regular season, only two went on to win the World Series (the Yankees in 1998 and 20



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