Considering how classic an L.A. Dodgers/Chicago Cubs playoff matchup sounds, it’s surprising how few times it’s happened. Well, surprising until five seconds later, when you think about the Cubs history. But after last year’s World Series win, the idea of the Cubs as Loveable Losers truly is history, except for the loveable part. The Dodgers, on the other hand, are less loveable, despite their own now rather long run of playoff and World Series futility. This is mostly because their big stars are unknown, aloof or obnoxious, and their Manager (who is not one of their stars) has Media Issues. But they played most of the year at a pace that would have shattered the record for most wins in a season and after a late month long dip regained that form in the NLDS easily beating a very good Arizona team. It’s a great set up, and there will be a lot of eyes on this series.
Los Angeles Dodges Vs. Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles: Right now there is almost no bad news for the Dodgers. They easily handled Arizona, who was possibly the second best team in the N.L. (behind L.A.) by playoff time. They are rested and mostly healthy. Ace Clayton Kershaw looked solid against the Diamondbacks, which is vital given his history of seriously underperforming in the post-season. They rest of the starters are so reliable they might go four deep into the rotation, a true playoff rarity, and the relief pitching has been great. The line-up is clicking on offense, and is at least as deep as their pitching. It’s so deep that they can bat Yasiel Puig, who had a major bounce back year, eighth. In fact, things are going so well for L.A. overall that they can bat Puig eighth and not even get any grief from him about it. If you’re a Dodger fan, you need no other sign that this is your year.
Chicago: Last year’s Feel Great story has suffered from Sequel-itis in 2017. It’s hardly that the Cubs were bad this year, but they underperformed most of the season and then after turning it on to make the playoffs they still needed the combined Loserdom powers of Dusty Baker’s managing and the Washington Nationals, well, existence, just to squeak into this round. Their top heavy starting pitching is out of whack, their middle relief looks very shaky, and their closer comes in ragged after a long and hard stint in their last game. Meanwhile, the offense was non-existent the first four games against the Nats, and then had a lot of help from wild pitches and defensive blunders and needed it all in hanging on to a wild 9-8 win in game five. On the plus side, they’re healthy and basically the same team that’s been here three years in a row and won, they have the best manager in the game right now in Joe Madden, and in a seven game series, they could still get three wins just from their top two starters, Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arietta.
Prediction: Dodgers in 5. They are at least as good on paper as the Cubs and had a much better season, and they also have home field advantage and more momentum coming into the series. The Cubs only path is another Kershaw playoff implosion, a team wide Dodger slump, and/or games close enough to where the significant difference in Managers becomes the deciding factor.
Lead image wikicommons media, Adam_sk