Free NLCS Series Prediction: Cubs vs Dodgers Odds
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2017 NLCS Free Series Picks & Odds
For the second straight season the Cubs will meet the Dodgers in the NLCS, except this year the Dodgers finished the regular season with more victories and will host the series beginning on Saturday night.
Los Angeles is well-rested as a team heading into this series after finishing off division inferior Arizona in three straight earlier this week. Chicago, meanwhile, dealt with a rainout and needed the full five games to advance past Washington. The Cubs’ pitching is in some disarray to begin the LCS.
2017 NLCS Free Series Prediction: Offense
We’ll start with the Cubs, whose offense finally broke out in Game 5 after struggling for much of the series against the Nationals.
Chicago was aided by control problems from both Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer, as well as a key Washington error, but the Cubs kept the pressure on and sustained rallies when it mattered the most.
Kris Bryant’s struggles is both good and bad news for Chicago. It’s hard to imagine the Cubs doing enough offensively to defeat Los Angeles in this series without KB being a major factor.
On the other hand, the Cubs managed to beat a good Washington team on the road without much production at all out of the 2016 NL MVP; he went 4-for-20 with one walk compared to 10 strikeouts.
The Dodgers got big offensive output from a number of players but especially four guys: Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes.
Barnes is the latest weapon to emerge for Dave Roberts. Yasmani Grandal hit 22 home runs in the regular season but is losing favor to the right-handed Barnes, who went 4-for-8 against Arizona and added a walk.
He looks like the starting catcher for the Dodgers, definitely when Jon Lester and Jose Quintana start and perhaps even against the right-handers.
Puig is playing with total confidence, which is exploitable if the Cubs’ pitching can get him to swing at stuff outside of the zone but that indisciplined plate approach looks to be a thing of the past for Puig, who went 5-for-11 in the NLDS with just one K.
Lastly, Cody Bellinger homered and played well all-around in Game 3 after a tough first two games. That performance to boost him up followed by some time off will likely be just what he needs to feel acclimated to the intensity of the LCS.
It truly will be a case of whoever gets hot first. The Dodgers have had the better season but the Cubs have the experience. I don’t feel comfortable giving either team the edge before the series starts. Game 1 will go a long way in determining this series.
2017 NLCS Free Series Prediction: Pitching
The Cubs used all four of their starters in Games 4 and 5. Jake Arrieta started the fourth in Chicago and Jon Lester relieved him. Kyle Hendricks started the next one with Jose Quintana coming on in relief.
Those guys had to throw so much because the bullpen was overused and ineffective. Carl Edwards Jr., Wade Davis and Mike Montgomery gave up 11 of the 18 earned runs the staff allowed. Edwards pitched in all five games and Davis four, including an eight out save in Game 5.
It al worked out for Joe Maddon but now his pitching is far from organized and ready heading into the next series, unlike the Dodgers, who have a full tank before the NLCS begins.
Kenley Jansen appeared in all three of the Dodgers’ wins in the LDS but he got plenty of time off between series’ to be ready to do it all again against the Cubs.
The starting rotation will start right at the top again with Clayton Kershaw in Game 1. Kershaw was good in Game 1 against Arizona, considering he gave up four home runs. They were all solo shots and two of them came in the seventh inning on back-to-back pitches with his team up 7–2 and then 7–3.
Alex Wood didn’t appear in the last series but will have to play a role in this one. Hopefully he has stayed ready to go and will be, despite not having appeared in a game since September 26.
Kenta Made looked fantastic in his new role as a setup man. He threw a perfect inning in both of his appearances against the Diamondbacks.
Edge: Los Angeles
By virtue of rest alone. The Dodgers have a ton of pitching; it’s been their strength all season and it has them in a great spot going into this LCS.
2017 NLCS Free Series Prediction: Cubs vs. Dodgers
The Nationals failed to break through and topple the Cubs in the first round. Now the Dodgers, once again, have a chance to exercise their own demons and reach a World Series after all these years of falling just short as a top contender.
The Cubs appear vulnerable but often that’s when a team is at it’s most dangerous. Joe Maddon has to figure out the pitching and stitch together some innings, even if it means going to Mike Montgomery or John Lackey for an extended appearance.
The good news that came from the LDS is that Quintana and Arrieta look good, Lester too.
Do not underestimate the Cubs proclivity to get it done any way they can. But the Dodgers are prepared and — don’t forget — better than last year. Dave Roberts’ comfort level is higher with another season under his belt in LA.
I think the Dodgers finally get it done in Game 7 after the Cubs’ pitching his the wall and get back to the World Series for the first time since 1988.
2017 ALCS Prediction: Dodgers in 7
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