The Los Angeles Dodgers will open the National League Championship Series Saturday at Dodger Stadium, seeking the first of four victories over the Chicago Cubs needed to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1988.
The Dodgers will be without starting shortstop Corey Seager, who was left off the 25-player roster for the series released Saturday because of a back injury. Kike Hernandez, who played 24 games at shortstop, will likely start in Seager’s place.
Seager was second on the Dodgers with a .295 batting average and 77 RBIs and tied for third in home runs with 22. Hernandez batted .215 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs.
Reliever Pedro Baez was the other player on the National League Division Series roster left off the roster for the NCLS. Seager and Baez were replaced by outfielder Joc Pederson and infielder Charlie Culberson.
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw will pitch for the Dodgers. Kershaw last pitched Oct. 6, allowing four runs (all earned) and five hits in 6 1/3 innings in the Dodgers’ 9-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of their National League Division Series.
Kershaw had a no decision in his only appearance against Chicago during the regular season, allowing four runs (all earned) and 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings in a 9-4 Dodgers’ victory May 28 at Dodger Stadium.
Left-hander Jose Quintana will start for the Cubs. He last pitched on Thursday, allowing one hit and walking a batter in two-thirds of an inning in the Cubs’ 9-8 victory over the Washington Nationals in the decisive fifth game of their National League Division Series.
Quintana was acquired in a July 13 trade with the Chicago White Sox. He last faced the Dodgers on June 2, 2014, allowing five runs (none earned) and six hits in six innings and was charged with the loss in a 5-2 loss at Dodger Stadium while pitching for the White Sox.
The Cubs were forced to land their plane in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Friday because someone had become ill, manager Joe Maddon said.
“I was really, really proud of the guys,” Maddon said. “They rallied around the person that was ill. There was a lot of support going on.”
Replacement pilots then had to be found because the pilots could no longer fly under Federal Aviation Administration rules, according to Maddon.
“In spite of the inconvenience … and in today’s world, with all the events that are thundering down upon us, I thought it was kind of a bunt, so I thought we handled it well,” Maddon said.
The Dodgers were 4-2 against Chicago in the regular season, losing two of three at Wrigley Field on April 10-13 and sweeping a three-game series at Dodger Stadium on May 26-28.
The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Tommy Davis, the only Dodgers player to win the National League batting championship since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
The national anthem will be sung by gospel recording artist Keith Williams Jr.
The food specials for the series are:
— “Al Pastor” fries, crispy fries topped with al pastor pork, pico de gallo and avocado crema;
— fish and chips, beer-battered cod on garlic fries with tartar sauce;
— buffalo waffle fries, fried chicken tossed in house-made buffalo sauce served with crispy waffle fries, bleu cheese crumbles and a tangy bleu cheese sauce;
— Korean barbecue dog, a braised short rib on a one-third pound all- beef hot dog with shredded carrots, sliced green onion, jalapenos and house- made Korean barbecue sauce;
— a footlong Italian sausage, with roasted peppers an onions, topped with marinara and creamy garlic sauce;
— poke salad, Ahi tuna served over mix greens with edamame, shredded carrots, diced cucumber, seaweed salad and ponzu sauce; and
— the churro sundae, a cinnamon sugar churro compliments soft-serve ice cream topped with whipped cream, chocolate syrup and blue sprinkles in a helmet.
Auto gates will open at 2:10 p.m., pregame ceremonies will begin at 4:30 p.m. with the first pitch set for 5:08 p.m.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early, purchase parking in advance, carpool, use a ride-sharing service or public transportation.
Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Sunday at Dodger Stadium.
All potential National League Championship Series games at Dodger Stadium are sold out.
—City News Service