The Chicago Cubs need just one win on Tuesday to finally subdue the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of their best-of-five series in the National League Division Series (NLDS) in the Major League Baseball.
The Cubs will be starting Jason Hammel at 3:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday at the Wrigley Field following their 8-6 victory in Game 3 that will give them the opportunity at the National League Championship Series (NLCS) for the first time since 2003.
But all is not lost for the Cardinals in the NLDS St. Louis Cardinals vs Chicago Cubs series.
"I think he's proven it all season long,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said, referring to John Lackey. "He's the guy we got to in a big situation, and [Tuesday] is a big situation. He's ready to go on short rest. We were able to get him out [of Game 1 after 86 pitches]. He's had enough rest and is ready to go.''
Lackey scored a major victory for the Cardinals in their crucial win in Game 1 of the series. He will be coming back after three days' rest for Game 4 and hope to send his team for a possible Game 5.
The Cardinals have been into this situation before. St. Louis were trailing the Pirates 2-1 in the 2013 NLDS but came back to win the series, with Michael Wacha and Adam Wainright. The Cardinals did the same thing in 2011 against the Phillies, by winning a Game 4 started by Edwin Jackson and getting a dramatic 1-0 win in a Game 5 showdown between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay.
"I liked the way the guys competed, and I like the odds when our backs are against the wall,'' Matheny said after Game 3. "This is the type of team we've had all season long, regardless of what anybody else thinks, regardless of odds, regardless of who we're stacked up against. This team just continues to fight. That's not something you lose regardless of where you stand.''
Joe Maddon will take his chances given how the Cubs played in Game 3 when they set a record with six home runs. Three of those were by rookies, including the second of the series for Kyle Schwarber.
"We are definitely capable of that,'' Maddon said. "Coming into the postseason I thought our guys were rather fresh. The last couple of weeks of the season, we have so many good players we were sort of bouncing lineups back and forth. I think you're seeing a well-rested group right now.''
However, catcher Yadier Molina is not sure if he will play in Game 4 for the Cardinals on Tuesday. Monila injured his left thumb Monday, and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who left the game with a tight left hamstring, will be available for Game 4. Tony Cruz, the Cards' backup catcher, did catch Lackey a lot during the season. Javier Baez replaced Russell in Game 3. If he starts, he'll become the fifth rookie position player to start a game for the Cubs during the postseason.
Watch online: MLB.com (subscription required; $4.99 for all postseason minus World Series).
Radio: Cubs Radio Network, WBBM 780, ESPN Radio; CRN, KMOX 1120.
To watch TBS in Central New York:
Time Warner: Channel 104 (SD & HD) and channel 17 for non-digital customers
Verizon Fios: Channel 552 (HD) and 52 (SD)
DirectTV: Channel 247 (SD & HD)
Dish Network: Channel 139 (SD &HD)
New Visions: Channel 673 (HD) and 126 (SD)