Last Updated: 2017-10-14
Game 1 of the NLCS takes place on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, as the Chicago Cubs visit the Los Angeles Dodgers on TBS. It is the first LCS rematch since the Phillies beat the Dodgers in 2008 and 2009. The Cubs are the defending World Series champs but they come into this series as decided underdogs against the Dodgers. The Cubs starting pitching staff is a mess, as all four of their starters pitched in the last two games against the Nationals. The Dodgers, on the other hand, are rested and ready with Clayton Kershaw set to get the start in Game 1. Let’s look at Saturday’s matchup and MLB picks.
The Chicago Cubs visit the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, October 14 in Game 1 of the NLCS, with a start time of 8:08 pm Eastern on TBS.
Cubs vs. Dodgers
The Cubs haven’t even announced who will start Game 1. It could be Jose Quintana, as he didn’t throw many pitches on Thursday. It could also be John Lackey who is the Cubs’ fifth starter. Manager Joe Maddon used everyone in the series win over the Nationals, so you have to wonder how Chicago gets through this series. And it wasn’t like Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana were that good anyway. And closer Wade Davis pitched on Wednesday and Thursday, so he is unlikely to be available on Saturday. The rest of the bullpen is also a mess.
The Cubs also had some travel problems heading to Los Angeles, as a member of the traveling party fell ill on the flight and the team was diverted to Albuquerque so the passenger could get medical attention. The team eventually made it, but it was an eventful trip.
On the other side, the Dodgers have Kershaw rested and waiting. He should go his six innings and turn things over to the bullpen. He shouldn’t go past the sixth because he has struggled in the seventh inning in the playoffs.
Kershaw started Game 1 against the Nationals and got the win even though he allowed four solo home runs in 6.1 innings. In his playoff career, Kershaw has allowed 17 runs in the seventh inning in 10 games.
Kershaw went 18-4 in the regular season with a 2.31 ERA. He allowed four runs in 4.1 innings in his only start against the Cubs this season.
The Cubs have a potent lineup but the Dodgers have the pitching to shutdown Bryant, Rizzo and company. On the other side, the Cubs simply don’t have the pitching to contain Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and others. Turner was 7-for-13 with a home run and five RBIs against Arizona, and he’s hit .377 in 21 postseason games. And don’t forget about Yasiel Puig, who went 5-for-11 with a double, triple and four RBIs against Arizona.
This will be the third NLCS for the Dodgers in the last five years but the first one in which they get to use Kershaw on normal rest for Game 1. The Cubs won last year’s series thanks to Lester and Hendricks who had a 1.05 ERA. Neither pitcher is likely to duplicate their success this time around.
The Cubs are 2-6 in the last 8 meetings in Los Angeles. The Cubs are 5-1 in their last 6 playoff road games. The Cubs are 9-4 in their last 13 Saturday games. The Cubs are 7-15 in their last 22 vs. the National League West. The Cubs are 1-7 in their last 8 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
The Dodgers are 22-7 in their last 29 vs. the National League Central. The Dodgers are 49-18 in their last 67 home games. The Dodgers are 35-17 in their last 52 Saturday games. The Dodgers are 47-10 in Kershaw’s last 57 home starts. The Dodgers are 5-1 in Kershaw’s last 6 home starts vs. the Cubs.
The Over is 4-1 in the Cubs last 5 playoff road games. The Over is 5-0 in the Dodgers last 5 home games. The Under is 5-1 in Kershaw’s last 6 home starts vs. the Cubs. The Under is 20-6 in the last 26 meetings in this series.
The price will be high, but the Dodgers have almost all of the edges for Game 1, especially in terms of pitching, plus Kershaw has owned the Cubs at home of late, with Los Angeles winning five of his last six starts. I will take Los Angeles in Game 1.
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