MLB Picks Today: Cubs at Dodgers NLCS Game 1
Dodgers Wary Of Last Year's NLCS Loss
The 2017 NLCS opens on Saturday night and this series will undoubtably be one for the ages as the NL Central winners and defending World Series Champions take on the NL West champs and holders of the best record in the Majors. This is a rematch of the 2016 NLCS and we all know how that turned out, but the Cubs have regressed a bit, while Los Angeles has surged to even greater heights.
Our last National League game, seen here, went against the grain. Most people believed the Under was a no-brainer, but we took the Nationals on the RL, and they pulled that out in dramatic fashion, losing by one. With that win, plus Friday's winner, our record stands at 12-4.
The Dodgers opened here as big favorites, at around the two dollar mark. They've been bet down heavily though, to around the -230 mark.
The main theme of this game is that these are two teams going in different directions. This is a rematch of the 2016 NLCS, but even if Los Angeles had home field in that series, the Cubs would still have won. This year's team is a different story.
The Cubs had a good second half, but with a weakened bullpen, inconsistency in the lineup, and arguably less drive, it's just a matter of time before they show their true colors.
The Dodgers are the complete opposite. They didn't have a great second half, but with their new hitters like Bellinger and fully rested Kershaw, this series could go a different direction.
In fact, it could get ugly. Are those brooms we hear?
Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers (-230) at Sports Interaction
Cubs vs Dodgers NLCS Game 1
The Chicago Cubs took last year's NLCS from the Dodgers, went on to become World Series champs after defeating the Indians in seven, but they know they can't look ahead here in this spot. Los Angeles holds home field this time. The NL Central champs did have a lackluster first half, but since the All-Star break have scored the most runs in the NL.
This will be the Cubs' third straight NLCS appearance.
After deliberating which starting pitcher to use, manager Joe Maddon has decided to go with Jose Quintana (0-0, 0.00) on Saturday. The lefty can deal with some of Los Angeles' left handed hitters. Righty John Lackey might have had some trouble, and Game 1 isn't somewhere you want to give up hits.
Since joining the Cubs from cross-town rivals the White Sox, Quintana is 7-3 with a 3.74 ERA. He made two appearances in the NLDS, one of which was a start, and only allowed an unearned run and three hits in the 6.1 total innings.
The Cubs are a perfect 7-0 in Quintana's last 7 starts as well.
The Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves in a similar situation to the Cubs last season. They are starved for a championship, the last of which was in 1988 against the Athletics, and hold home field in the NLCS. Maybe the complete role reversal will give them a series win here. They certainly were the better team throughout the 2017 season.
Coming off a monster regular season, they've also dominated in the postseason as much as they could, with a 3-0 sweep of the Diamondbacks. Against the Cubs this season, they've gone 4-2, outscoring them 21-11.
Despite their long rest, Corey Seager will not be in the lineup on Saturday due to a sore back.
Clayton Kershaw (1-0, 5.68 ERA) looks to atone for last year's notorious Game 6 against the Cubs. The lefty went 1-1 in that series with a 3.00 ERA, but his team was eliminated. He's well rested now, so we should expect him at his best.
The 29-year-old didn't look too convincing in his start against the D-Backs in the NLDS, allowing four home runs in 6.1 innings. It mimics his mediocre career postseason record of 5-7 with a 4.63 ERA in 19 appearances, 15 of which were starts.
Luckily for him, the Cubs are 1-5 in their last 6 against Kershaw at Dodger Stadium.
Do you agree with our pick? Or will Kershaw live up to his not so great postseason record? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, and be sure to share and follow us for more MLB postseason picks!
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