Los Angeles Dodgers: Enrique Hernandez will be the hero of game two

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 09: Enrique Hernandez (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 09: Enrique Hernandez (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers head into game two of the NLCS up 1-0 for the first time since 1985. In game two, an unlikely hero will step to the plate.

The stage is set. The Los Angeles Dodgers host the Chicago Cubs with a chance to go up two games to zero in the National League Championship Series. In game one, the Dodgers won their first game one in the NLCS since 1985; now, the team looks to bolster their chances to advance to their first World Series since 1988.

In game one, the tale of the tape was a situational offense, that again, came up clutch when it mattered most. Albert Almora Jr. blasted a full-count pitch from Clayton Kershaw to take a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. The demons of Dodgers’ past., especially against the Cubs in last year’s NLCS, came rushing back to Dodger fans.

However, the offense prevailed. Yasiel Puig continued his hot play and blasted a one-run double off of the base of the wall in fifth. Corey Seager‘s replacement, Charlie Culberson, followed with a two-strike golf drive to drive in a run on a sacrifice fly.

Two home runs, from Chris Taylor and Puig, a controversial play at the plate and a dominant bullpen later, the Dodgers walked away with the 5-3 victory.

In game two, the Dodgers turn to Rich Hill – who shut the championship Cubs out in six innings of work at Dodger Stadium in last year’s NLCS.  The narrative seems to be set that it will be a pitching duel between Hill and Jon Lester – who has a 1.86 ERA this postseason in 9.2 innings of work.

To a certain extent, it may be. However, Lester is coming off of three days rest and Hill allowed three hits, three walks and two runs in just four innings of work against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. In what may be a slow start at first, this game could open up offensively, especially when the Cubs’ bullpen enters the game.

The hero that will cause that to happen? Dodgers’ super utility Enrique Hernandez. Hernandez has received the starting nod against left-handers this postseason and is 1-6 with a double.

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Lifetime against Lester, however, Hernandez is batting .286 with two home runs in 14 at-bats. Not the most dominant line, but the power numbers are there. Hernandez does not contribute often, but when he does, it comes in big spurts. Tonight will be a big spurt.

Expect the Dodgers to battle in counts and raise Lester’s pitch count, much like they did with Jose Quintana last night. The formula to win is to get the Chicago bullpen; so a slow start should not concern the fans. Hernandez will likely get his second at-bat against Lester in the fourth inning; when sparks will fly.

It may be bold, but I am calling a Hernandez home run in the bottom of the fourth. To that point, Lester’s pitch count will likely be in the sixties after grinding for every out. After some scattered base hits and some walks, Hernandez will get a shot to deliver.

And deliver Hernandez will do. While the home run may be bold, it definitely is not bold to expect fireworks. Every single bat in the Dodgers’ lineup has come up big at some point this series. Game two is Hernandez’ chance.

Next: October no longer relies on Clayton Kershaw

Overall, the Dodgers proved that they can still beat the Cubs with Corey Seager out of the lineup. With a big night from Enrique Hernandez, the team will continue its winning ways.