Game three between the St Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs in the National League Divisional Series was a wild one. There were a combined eight home runs as the Cubs held on to a 8-6 victory. Cubs Ace Jake Arrieta was not his normal dominant self, but was still able to pick up the win.
The Cubs have a 2-1 lead in a best-of-five series and will be looking to clinch a postseason series at Wrigley Field for the first time in franchise history on Tuesday. The Cardinals will look to keep their season alive by sending John Lackey out to the mound on just three days rest.
Lackey beat Jon Lester in game one and looked impressive doing it. He did not give up a single run in 7⅓ innings, only allowing 2 hits and struck out 5 batters. Lackey only had a total of 86 pitches on Friday, so he should have plenty in the tank for game four.
This time around, Lackey will go up against Jason Hammel. In seven starts against the Cardinals, Hammel has a 5.97 ERA. Key hitter for the Cardinals include: Jason Heyward, Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta and Matt Holliday.
Heyward has a .500 batting average (9-19) against Hammel. While Molina is right behind Heyward with six hits in 14 at bats (.462 BA). Peralta brings a history of power against Hammel with two of his five hits being home runs. Matt Holliday is a career .364 hitter against the Cubs right-hander.
Joe Maddon will have some tough decisions to make with the lineup that he sets against Lackey. Chris Coughlin still has the best numbers against Lackey with a .421 batting average. The hottest hitter in this series is fellow outfielder Jorge Soler, who smashed a MLB postseason record by not recording a single out in his first nine plate attempts.
Addison Russell left the game after suffering a tight hamstring when running out a triple in the fourth inning. Russell said he will see how it feels tomorrow before deciding whether he can play or not. If he cannot go then expect Javier Baez to get the start at shortstop.
Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo finally got hits for the first time this series. They even managed to hit back to back home runs in the fifth inning. The Cubs set a postseason record for six home runs in a single game. We’ll see if the Cubs offense stays hot against Lackey on Tuesday afternoon.