Powell: Cubs-Dodgers NLCS Game 2 Preview

2017 NLCS Workout Day at Dodger Stadium (Kevin Powell / WGN Radio)

LOS ANGELES – Bullpen issues and cold bats are the Cubs’ problems right now. The offense has scored three runs or less in five of six playoff games, and other than Wade Davis, Joe Maddon doesn’t really have anyone in the pen he can rely on. But don’t expect Maddon to second-guess his decisions, particularly using Hector Rodon in Game 1, despite not pitching in two weeks.

“That was Rondon’s spot. It’s going to happen again, and you’re going to see him back out there again.”

Rondon gave up a solo homer to Chris Taylor in the sixth, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Mike Montgomery – who has struggled all postseason – gave up two more runs in the seventh.

“If you look at our bullpen over the course of this past season, we were running second and third the whole year, and the Dodgers were pretty much number one,” Maddon said. “We’ve been running pretty good out of the pen. Montgomery and CJ Edwards were involved in a World Series victory last year in extra innings. That’s pretty significant.

“So when guys struggle, I know everybody wants you to open up a new can of relief pitchers, but that’s not how it works. These are our guys, and I have a lot of faith in our guys.”

Cubs’ fans don’t have faith in the pen, but Maddon really doesn’t have a whole lot of options. Maybe he could have gotten another inning out of Jose Quintana in game one, but that still leaves the seventh and eighth to fill before Wade Davis.

You can question Maddon’s decision all you’d like, but it does just come down to guys performing better.

PITCHING MATCHUP

Jon Lester is pitching on short rest, having thrown 55 pitches in Game 3 of the NLDS. 37-year-old Rich Hill goes for the Dodgers. He won Game 3 of last year’s NLCS against the Cubs, tossing six shutout innings.

BROADCAST

TBS will air the game at 6:30 pm CT. Our postgame show, TRUE BLUE PLAYOFF PLUS, will air on WGN Radio and wgnradio.com at 10 pm.

Kevin Powell covers Chicago baseball for WGN Radio and anchors sports on The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes, M-F/3-7p. Follow on twitter @kpowell720