Powell: Cubs-Dodgers NLCS Game 4 Preview; Will the Cubs’ bats wake up?

Wrigley Field. Oct. 18, 2017. (Kevin Powell/WGN Radio)

By Kevin Powell

WRIGLEY FIELD – The Cubs are batting .172 this postseason—the worst batting average in team postseason history. They’ve struck out over 30 percent of the time and they’ve plated only 21 runs, 9 of those coming in Game 5 of the NLDS.

“Of course we expected more,” Joe Maddon said after their Game 3 loss. “The Dodgers have pitched well. Surprised, it’s somewhat surprising. I don’t want to use the word disappointing. Our guys are working really hard. They’ve pitched well.”

Yes, the Dodgers have pitched well. But the Cubs approach at the plate hasn’t exactly been encouraging. They’ve struck out 84 times this postseason, compared to the Dodgers’ 47 K’s.

“We need to string along a couple hits,” Addison Russell said. “We need to move guys to the next base. We need to do the small things to come out with some wins.”

The Cubs are 3-1 when not hitting a homer in a postsason game, and 0-4 when going deep at least once. They’re relying too much on the long ball, and that’s been evident with their approach at the plate.

It’s going to take a minor miracle for the Cubs to come back and win this series. It all starts in Game 4 when they face lefty Alex Wood, who’s making his first career postseason start. Jake Arrieta goes in what could be his final start with the Cubs. The 2015 Cy Young winner is set for free agency after this season.

THE LINEUP

Considering how well Almora hits lefties, it’s no surprise he’s in the lineup. Kyle Schwarber gets a second straight start in left, despite his poor defense. Joe Maddon has Javy Baez, who doens’t have a hit this postseason, back at second.

CF Almora

LF Schwarber

3B Bryant

1B Rizzo

C Contreras

SS Russell

2B Baez

RF Jay

P Arrieta

BROADCAST

First pitch is at 8:01 pm CT on TBS. After the game we’ll have our Cubs postgame show, True Blue Playoff Plus, 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