The Cubs were able to eliminate the Nationals from the NLDS in the fifth and final game of the series. Their 9-8 game five victory could best be described as completely insane. Included in the madness was a top of the 5th inning that featured a hit batter, a batter reaching on a dropped third strike, an intentional walk, and a catcher’s interference. That particular set of events that has never happened in the same half inning in baseball history.
Now Chicago moves on to a rematch of last year’s National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers looked as if they might challenge the all-time single-season win record before a late-season slump, but a record of 104-58 is nothing to sneeze at.
LA’s best player is dominant left-handed starter Clayton Kershaw, who again led the National League in ERA (2.31) despite missing a month or so with a back injury. The Dodgers also acquired Yu Darvish from the Rangers to give them a solid second starter for the playoffs. Closer Kenley Jansen had a ridiculous 41-save season with a 1.31 ERA (1.32 FIP so no luck involved) helping to create the fourth best pen in baseball.
The offense was the weaker part of the attack for the boys from Chavez Ravine. Los Angeles ranked 12th in baseball in runs scored and 11th in home runs. Justin Turner (.322/.415/.530), Corey Seager (.295/.375/.479), and Cody Bellinger (.267/..352/.581) formed a very formidable middle of the order, but Seager is not on the playoff roster at this point. Yasiel Puig also had a rebound year, hitting 28 home runs in 2017.
The Cubs offense mainly ground to a halt in the first four games of the NLDS. They are going to need to kick it into gear against a strong Dodgers team, but one that is not significantly better than the Nationals. Anything is possible in the the playoffs and the Northsiders won this matchup last October. Let’s see if the madness can continue in SoCal.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Game One (LA): Saturday, October 14 at 7:00 CDT on TBS and 670 the Score
- Game Two (LA): Sunday, October 15 at 6:30 CDT on TBS and 670 the Score
- Game Three (CHI): Tuesday, October 17 at 8:00 CDT on TBS and 670 the Score
- Game Four (CHI): Wednesday, October 18 at 8:00 CDT on TBS and 670 the Score
- Game Five (CHI) if necessary: Thursday October 19 at 7:00 CDT on TBS and 670 the Score
- Game Six (LA) if necessary: Saturday October 21 at 3:00 CDT on TBS and 670 the Score
- Game Seven (LA) if necessary: Sunday October 22 at 6:30 CDT on TBS and 670 the Score
*Only Quintana and Lester have been formally announced
What To Watch For
- Albert Almora Jr. will likely get a lot of playing time against the three left-handed Dodger starters. He had two hits in six at-bats in the NLDS against the Nationals.
- Javy Baez went 0-for-14 with five strikeouts in the Washington series, but hopefully he will get hot in the NLCS.
- Logan Forsythe had four hits in nine at-bats in the NLDS against Arizona, so he is another bat to watch.
- Jon Lester allowed only two runs on three hits in 9.2 innings pitched against the Nationals.