For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs will battle it out for the National League Championship Series. We all know how this went last year, with the Cubs winning the series, controlling the MLB Odds, and eventually taking the World Series, ending their historical drought. This year, the Cubs are aiming to do what many deem impossible, and take the World Series again. Of course, the Dodgers have other plans, and they’ll be hoping to come out of the NLCS on top, putting an end to the Cubs’ campaign.
This is the most exciting time of the season for baseball fans, and there are still plenty of games left to decide the series. Here is all the latest news and betting predictions.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 17, 2017
The Cubs Are Already on the Back Foot
Moving into Tuesday, and with two games to play (potentially seven depending on how things go), the Dodgers are already in the lead. The Cubs lost 2 – 5 on October 14, and 1 – 4 on October 15. This means that if the Dodgers can take the lead in the next two games, then we won’t see the NLCS going to seven games. The Cubs need a win either this Tuesday or Wednesday, otherwise they’re going to see their World Series hopes come crashing down. The good news for the Cubs is that the next two games will be played at Wrigley Field, giving the team more than a fighting chance to make a comeback.
If we break everything down to advantages and disadvantages, even the home field advantage might not be enough to help the Cubs break even in the next two games. In fact, there are a number of analysts who are predicting that the Dodgers will beat the clubs with a clean sweep.
The offense really needs to pick up if the Cubs are going to have any chance of winning the NLCS. David Haugh from the Chicago Tribune put it bluntly when he said that “The Cubs stopped hitting in October”. From a fan’s and an analyst’s perspective, this looks to be true. The big hitters in the team have had opportunities in the first two games of the NLCS, but failed to do anything meaningful.
They gave away home runs that were possible, and there have been some miscalculations on Joe Maddon’s part. There’s still a chance to improve this, but Maddon will need to shake up the hitting lineup. He has made questionable decisions, such as putting underperformer Jason Heyward into the mix, and then there are players like Anthony Rizzo who have gone for four games in a row without a single hit. The stats are low, and when broken down, the Cubs are completing less than two runs per game (on average) in this 2017 post season.
There was talk earlier this year that defense will win a world series, but this is only true if the offense is doing enough to keep the team competitive. AS the cubs look right now, they aren’t competitive, and that will be a worry for fans and bettors. As it stands on Tuesday morning the Dodgers are the clear favorites for the NLCS.
What Has Kept the Dodgers So Competitive?
Los Angeles has a dangerous bullpen that is both highly confident and capable. In the first two games of the NLCS, Los Angeles Dodgers have retired 24 of 25 Cubs hitters. The team now only needs two wins to get to the World Series for the first time since 1988. Scouting, communication, and rotation selection, has all been designed to create the optimal pitching situation in this world series. Closer Kenley Jansen has been particularly impressive, and it’s difficult at this stage to see the Cubs having any kind of meaningful response, even when they play at home.
Jansen is definitely the star of the bullpen and he has been referred to by some analysts as the world’s best reliever. There’s other talent in there as well, including trades Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, and new signing Brandon Morrow. Kenta Maeda is also worth mentioning, particularly as he was responsible for three outs in the first game against the Cubs in the NLCS.
Brandon Morrow has had a career riddled with injuries, but he’s a talented performer who can rival a player like Clayton Kershaw. Morrow beat Kershaw in the 2006 draft picks, and this year he has been showing that the faith put in him was not misplaced. He’s a strong starter and a closer, although he sometimes needs to be managed closely to avoid injuries. Keep in mind that Morrow went through a period from 2013 to 2016, where he only appeared in 46 games. Thankfully, he looks strong this post season, and has already notched two outs in the first game of the NLCS, and finished six of the Cubs’ hitters in game 2.
What’s Going to Happen in Game 3 and Game 4?
Chicago Cubs are hoping that Kyle Hendricks will take his pitching to another level and help to overcome the 2-0 lead that the Dodgers currently have. In the last games of the regular season, Hendricks recorded a 2.19 ERA, and although he faltered against the Nationals in the early stages of the playoffs, there’s still confidence that he can get the job done.
Although nothing is ever certain at the highest level of any professional sport, the Cubs do have a chance to turn things around. They even have the right talent, but it depends on who the team decides to play, and whether or not they can bring out their best performance on the day. As it looks right now, the Dodgers could blitz the NLCS as long as they keep doing what they’re doing.
Tuesday Morning Updated MLB NLCS Odds
- Odds for Game 3: Los Angeles Dodgers +105, Chicago Cubs -115
- Odds for the Series: Los Angeles Dodgers -600, Chicago Cubs +450
- Series Outcome Los Angeles Dodgers Win 4 – 0: +250
- Series Outcome Cubs Win 4 – 2: +1200