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Short starts, ineffective bullpen derail Cubs

Chicago pitchers have walked 18 over 25 2/3 innings
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- The Dodgers' pitchers, especially their relievers, have starred in the National League Championship Series. The Cubs' pitchers have not, and they find themselves down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.

On Tuesday night, the Cubs lost, 6-1, to the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLCS presented by Camping World. In the three games, none of the Cubs' starters has gone past the fifth inning. That has meant early calls to the bullpen, which has struggled.

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CHICAGO -- The Dodgers' pitchers, especially their relievers, have starred in the National League Championship Series. The Cubs' pitchers have not, and they find themselves down 3-0 in the best-of-seven series.

On Tuesday night, the Cubs lost, 6-1, to the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLCS presented by Camping World. In the three games, none of the Cubs' starters has gone past the fifth inning. That has meant early calls to the bullpen, which has struggled.

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:: NLCS schedule and coverage ::

"We've not been a real command-oriented bullpen, there's no question," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "They battle, but it's just who we are and you have to manage it somehow."

Maddon called on Carl Edwards Jr. with two on and nobody out in the sixth on Tuesday, and the right-hander got one out -- but then walked Austin Barnes to load the bases, and one out later, walked pitcher Yu Darvish to force in a run. Mike Montgomery started the eighth and walked the first batter he faced.

"It's just one of those things that you might not be able to explain," Montgomery said of the command issues. "Me and C.J. and whoever, you have to have confidence every time you go out there. We're not lacking that, we're lacking the executing part now.

"It's frustrating. I'm not going to lie, it's very frustrating. You want to go out and perform. [Edwards] has been in big spots this year, I've been in big spots and we've done it, and we haven't been able to do it in these first three games. Nothing is going to come easy."

Dress for NLCS: Get Cubs postseason gear

Chicago pitchers have combined to walk 18 over 25 2/3 innings. Edwards, who has walked six over 4 2/3 innings in seven postseason games, including two on Tuesday, said he's not frustrated.

"It's called making pitches," Edwards said. "I didn't. It's just the day."

Starter Kyle Hendricks was charged with three earned runs over five-plus innings, serving up two solo homers. He's been impressed by the Dodgers, who have a combined 1.33 ERA in the three games so far. Los Angeles' pitchers have only walked four over 27 innings.

Video: NLCS Gm3: Hendricks K's Puig to end top of the 1st

"They're playing really good baseball and they're executing, they're doing what needs to be done, and we're not," Hendricks said. "We're making mistakes, making bad pitches. Tonight, I made three bad pitches and I just didn't get away with them. That's baseball. That's how you win and lose ballgames.

"It comes down to execution. We haven't executed and they have. Tomorrow is a new day. Hopefully, something clicks for us. Something has to click for us."

Tonight, Jake Arrieta will try to extend the Cubs' postseason with his start in Game 4.

"I've got the little wristband on -- 'We never quit,'" Maddon said. "It's something we've talked about the last three years. Not easy, obviously. It's been done before. [Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein] saw it [last year and in 2004 ALCS with the Red Sox]. So we have to figure out a way.

"A lot of it is contingent upon Jake tomorrow. Jake being able to pitch more deeply into the game is going to be very important for us tomorrow, I believe. Grabbing a lead and just hitting their pitchers finally. They've pretty much stifled us."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Kyle Hendricks