Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and just think: The Dodgers are closer to the World Series now than any time since 1988.
Breaking down Game 3
--From his assortment of curveballs to his odd follow-through, it's fun to watch Rich Hill pitch.
--There's a different star each night for the Dodgers, another thing they have in common with the 1988 team.
--The two guys who were in the midst of long postseason slumps, Yasmani Grandal (homer, three RBIs) and Yasiel Puig (two hits, run scored), were in the middle of a lot of the action.
--Poor Josh Reddick can't catch a break. His steals of second and third were instrumental to Grandal's homer, because it appeared that Jake Arrieta raised his pitches a bit to prevent a wild pitch. That helped Grandal get the barrel of the bat on the ball and lift it over the fence. However, for the rest of the night, John Smoltz kept saying that it wasAndrew Toles who was on base when Grandal homered.
--If you just look at batting average, you aren't seeing the whole picture. Grandal is hitting only .167, but he has a .444 on-base percentage and leads the team with a .667 slugging percentage. I know, small sample size. But Grandal's batting average is deceptive during the season too (.228/.339/.477).
--I like listening to Smoltz when he talks about pitching.
--Were the FS1 producers on a mission to have their camera operators show every Cubs fan in the stadium?
--I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure Joc Pederson is hooked up to a caffeine IV before the game. I thought he was going to injure Dave Roberts after Grandal's homer.
--If Kenley Jansen has to pitch again tonight for the Dodgers, it would be a good sign for the team, but I'm pretty sure Jansen's arm will sue Roberts for abuse.
--Fun game to play with your kids while watching Dodger home games on TV: "What is Larry King eating?" He goes through a wide variety of foods while sitting behind home plate during the game.
--It was nice to see Joe Blanton rebound with a solid inning, just like he did almost all season.
--Now we have to focus on getting Chase Utley to break out of his slump.
--I'm becoming a big fan of Andrew Toles.
--Tonight, John Lackey pitches for the Cubs against Julio Urias for the Dodgers. Remember when Lackey won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Angels? Urias was 6 years old.
--I know it's fun for the national media to knock Dodgers fans, but those fans made more noise last night than Cubs fans did in Games 1 and 2.
--You know that Lincoln commercial with Matthew McConaughey where they equate driving their car with falling backward into a swimming pool while fully clothed? How is that supposed to get me to want to buy their product? "Lincoln. Feel like you're drowning."
--A key to tonight's game will be whether the umpires call Urias for a balk. Cubs Manager Joe Maddon has been saying Urias' pickoff move to first is a balk. The umpires haven't been calling it that way, but will they start calling it? And even if they don't, you can expect the Cubs bench to complain, hoping to unnerve Urias.
--None of my Twitter followers predicted the Game 3 final score. Follow me on Twitter (@latimeshouston) and try and predict the Game 4 score to win fabulous prizes! (Note: When I say "fabulous," I mean get your name published in the next newsletter.) And don't forget to follow our live coverage throughout the game on our website.
The NLCS schedule
Game 4: Today, Cubs (Lackey) at Dodgers (Urias), 5 p.m. PT. TV: FS1
Game 5: Thursday, Cubs at Dodgers (Maeda), 5 p.m. PT. TV: FS1
Game 6: Saturday, Dodgers (Kershaw) at Cubs, TBA. TV: FS1 (if necessary)
Game 7: Sunday, Dodgers at Cubs, TBA. TV: FS1 (if necessary)
In case you missed it
What our great crew of Los Angeles Times reporters is saying about the Dodgers:
What others are saying
Yasmani Grandal hits a two-run homer in Game 3. Watch it here.