Cubs, Brewers attempt to keep seasons alive

Updated: October 3, 2008

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Rich Harden has the task of keeping the Cubs from being swept out of the postseason.

CUBS GOOD ON ROAD, BUT DODGERS GOOD AT HOME

A look ahead to Saturday's games:

Cubs at Dodgers

The Cubs, the best team in the National League during the regular season, are in danger of being dismissed from the postseason after only three games. The Dodgers, up 2-0 in this best-of-five series, are the squad that has gotten hot at the right time, dominating the first two games of the NLDS, both on the mound and at the plate. Now, with home-field advantage, the Dodgers are faced with the challenge of shutting down a club with impressive road numbers. The Cubs will need a significantly improved effort to extend this series for one more day.

Dodgers at home, Cubs on road (2008)
Dodgers at home Cubs on road
W-L 48-33 42-38
Runs per game 4.3 5.0
BA .266 .266
ERA 3.01* 3.97
*-denotes best in NL

Phillies at Brewers

The Brewers have struggled significantly in the first two games of their NLDS with the Phillies and hope their fortunes change back home against the Phillies. They'll have to hit Jamie Moyer's slow stuff, something they couldn't do in Game 1, when they were baffled by Cole Hamels' changeup. Moyer is in position to close out a series, and his experience having previously done so may come in handy. Moyer was 3-0 during the 2001 postseason with the Mariners and beat the Indians in Game 5 of their ALDS.

Jamie Moyer, career in postseason
W-L 3-1
ERA 2.43
BA against .208
Starts 5
Quality starts 4

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: Oct. 2 | Oct. 1 l Sept. 28 | Sept. 25 | Sept. 24 | Sept. 23


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BBTN ON THE AIR: SATURDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
10:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analyst: Tim Kurkjian, Eduardo Perez
1:30 a.m. ET
ESPN
Host: Berthiaume
Analyst: Tim Kurkjian, Eduardo Perez

BBTN MINUTE: LOOKING AT SATURDAY'S MATCHUPS

PRESSURE ON BREWERS

With Game 3 going back to Milwaukee there is obviously added pressure on the Brewers. It's now do-or-die for them. Their offense has been non-existent so far this series, partly because of poor at-bats, but also because of quality pitching from the Phillies. The Brewers have their work cut out for them with 45-year-old Jamie Moyer on the mound. The Brewers are a good fastball hitting team, but they are not going to see many fastballs from Moyer. He has an exceptional changeup that he'll use to keep the Brewers off-balance.

Moyer is an unbelievable story. There was a time many years ago when it looked like his career might be over. But he figured out who he was as a pitcher and how he had to approach hitters. He continues to dazzle opponents with an 81-83 mph fastball. He is living proof that changing speeds and keeping hitters off-balance is far more important than any radar gun readings. He's been so good this year that it makes you think he might be able to pitch until he's 50. He's the Julio Franco of pitchers.

It's going to be critical for Milwaukee to score early to keep their fans in the game. If Philadelphia gets out in front and takes the fans out of it, the series could be over in three. The Brewers' fans are anxious for their team to get back home. They want to celebrate the fact that they're playing October baseball for the first time since 1982. I expect the crowd to be electric, trying to rally them back into the series.

The Brewers are going with Dave Bush as their starter. He's going to have to be at his best because despite only scoring five runs in Game 2, the Phillies left a ton of men on base and were just a hit away from breaking the game open.

One of the risks the Brewers faced in this series was to overcome the feeling that they already "won" just by getting to the postseason. Sometimes teams that haven't been there in a while are just happy to be there and just getting to the playoffs is their World Series.

STAT OF THE DAY

Inside EdgeAccording to Inside Edge's scouting data, the ball-strike count that induces the most chased pitches is 3-2. Here are the five hitters from teams playing in October who are most likely to chase a pitch out of the zone on 3-2 counts:

3-2 count chase percentage (regular season) min. 20 out-of-zone pitches
Hitter Team Pitches out of zone No. Chased Chase Pct
Reed Johnson Cubs 23 18 78.3
Juan
Uribe
White Sox 22 15 68.2
Jayson Werth Phillies 53 34 64.2
Mike Lowell Red Sox 30 19 63.3
Matt Stairs Phillies 38 24 63.2