NLCS Preview Cubs vs Dodgers (Round 2)

cubbies.jpgChicago Cubs Vs Los Angeles Dodgers

kershaw.jpeg

A Rematch of the 2016 NLCS, The Chicago Cubs and The Los Angeles Dodgers collide again. How did we get here? The Dodgers rolled through round one by sweeping The Arizona Diamondbacks in rather convincing fashion. Los Angeles showed everyone exactly why they are the top seeded NL team. Meanwhile, Chicago escaped a 5 game battle with Washington, winning Game 5, 9-8. The Cubs had all hands on deck in that elimination game, it’ll be interesting to see how their pitchers will come back after getting a lot of work.

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers will win if they can match Chicago’s composure and confidence. As displayed in The Division Series, no matter the game or time, Chicago never seems worried. They have a certain swagger to them, and they know how to win, as shown last year. So far this postseason Los Angeles hasn’t faced much adversity. When times start getting tough in this round, it’ll be how they respond that will be crucial. There is no doubt that Los Angeles will be the favorite in this series, will they be able to handle the pressure and take that next step? Another key for The Dodgers will be starting pitching depth. We only saw three starts in the NLDS, one each from Kershaw, Hill and Darvish. Can Kershaw get it done in the big game? Will these guys be able to follow with solid outings? Will another starter be needed? If Los Angeles can set the tone with quality starting pitching I think it will keep the team calm and confident enabling the offense to take over and provide run support. My last key for The Dodgers is the young bats not being altered by the bigger stage. Bellinger, Taylor, and even Seager are still very young but they are the backbone of this lineup. It’ll be interesting to see who is able to step up and make a big difference.

 

The Chicago Cubs will win if they can chip away on Los Angeles’ starting pitching and play with a lead. The Los Angeles bullpen has been a real strength of their team, it is something Chicago is not going to want to have to try and come back on. This means chip away at the starting pitching, wait for some pitches to hit, and see these pitchers a couple times through the order while making adjustments at the plate. Another key will be to get their own bullpen depth going. Wade Davis was awesome in Game 5 getting a 7 out save, but that was the highlight of Chicago’s bullpen work. Davis had previously given up a Grand Slam in game 4, and another name of someone who has been getting knocked around is Carl Edwards Jr. It is not a matter of if, but when the bullpen comes into play, can they be counted on? Lastly and arguably the biggest key is to use their experience. Chicago knows what it takes to get it done, and they know not to get too high during the good times nor too low during the bad. What makes Chicago so good is their ability to make a few big plays when it matters the most in a game. The Dodgers haven’t been through The NLCS in years, and Chicago knows that. I expect Chicago to come out playing loose, while being all business at the same time.

The Pick:

This is a tough one, I can see either team winning this one. I nailed The Cubs in 5 in round 1, but whiffed on The Dodgers as I thought the pressure would start to get to them. Although Los Angeles didn’t deal with much adversity last series, they appear ready to go and seem like there is something different about this team this year. I’m hopping on The Dodger train and taking them to win in 7, having home field will prove to be important.

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