Powell: Cubs-Dodgers NLCS Game 3 Preview; How will Joe Maddon Handle the Bullpen?

Wrigley Field ahead of Game 3 of the NLCS between the Cubs and Dodgers. (Kevin Powell/WGN Radio)

By Kevin Powell

WRIGLEY FIELD – All the talk the past couple days has been about Joe Maddon’s use of the bullpen. Particularly his decision in Game 2 to not call for Wade Davis in the ninth inning of a tied game. Instead, he went with John Lackey, who gave up the walk-off homer to Justin Turner.

“I really hope that you all understand that social media doesn’t count at all,” Maddon said on Monday. “Twitter doesn’t count at all. And really as sports writers you should do a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly.”

Maddon insisted that the only way he was using Davis was in a save situation. But you have to give the offense a chance to get the lead in order to have a save opportunity. Is there something more to the story? Is Wade Davis hurt? Does Davis, a free agent-to-be, not want to be overused like Aroldis Chapman was last year?

Maddon says Davis was not prepared to pitch more than three outs after throwing 44 pitches in Game 5 of the NLDS, two days prior. But it’s the postseason, and he’s really been the only reliable option. The bullpen looks exhausted, but Davis has been effective. We’ll see how Maddon handles his relievers in Game 3, but Kyle Hendricks going deep into the game is a must.

THE LINEUP

Javy Baez doesn’t have a hit in the postseason, and with the offense slumping, Joe Maddon will start Ben Zobrist at second base. Kyle Schwarber is in left, and will hit second. As expected, it’s a lefty-heavy lineup with the righty Yu Darvish on the mound.

2B Ben Zobrist

LF Kyle Schwarber

3B Kris Bryant

1B Anthony Rizzo

C Wilson Contreras

CF Jon Jay

SS Addison Russell

RF Jason Heyward

P Kyle Hendricks

BROADCAST

It’s a late start for Game 3 with the Yankees and Astros playing Game 4 at Yankee Stadium beforehand. First pitch at Wrigley is 8:01 pm CT. TBS will air the game. Our Cubs postgame show – True Blue Playoff Plus – will start at 11 pm on WGN and wgnradio.com.

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