Friday, 20 July, 2018


LEADING OFF: Altuve's October, Dodgers get tired Cubs

Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier reacts after hitting LEADING OFF: Altuve's October, Dodgers get tired Cubs
Noah Ferguson | 14 October, 2017, 11:32

WASHINGTON-This is nothing new for the Washington Nationals: enjoy the euphoria of an NL East title, then the disappointment of a Division Series exit-usually with a narrow Game 5 loss, usually at home.

"We haven't decided yet", Maddon said of his Game 1 starting pitcher.

"That's what you live for: Go out there and battle your tail off against a great Cubs team and do all the things you could to put your heart and soul into a game", Harper said.

Then, the Yankees stormed back to beat the Tribe three games in a row, eventually clipping likely Cy Young victor Corey Kluber in the decisive Game 5. They blew a late-inning game five lead to lose the 2012 NLDS, lost again in four games in 2014 to the San Francisco Giants, then blew another late-inning game five lead in the 2016 NLDS last season against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers eliminated the Diamondbacks on Monday, which feels like a month ago now.

Oh, and the Dodgers are well-rested and have home-field advantage. When he returned to the mound again in Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS, he appeared exhausted and vulnerable as the Cubs pounced.

"This is the most fun I've had playing in a baseball game", said Cubs shortstop Addison Russell, who drove in four runs, including a two-run double during the Cubs' big fifth-inning comeback.

The Cubs open the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.

There are times, however, when desperation takes over.

"It's very disappointing, not to be going to L.A., not go home and see my family and play in Dodgers Stadium and go to the next step", said Baker, a former Dodgers star who grew up in California. Reliever Brian Duensing has been heavily used, and so has Carl Edwards Jr. - and Edwards has been knocked around in two straight appearances.

Kershaw wasn't a sure bet pitching in that situation, and neither was Verlander in relief against Boston this year. Between the celebration, that situation and needing some sleep - not to mention how hard a decision it is - it's easy to see why manager Joe Maddon hasn't set in stone his Game 1 starting pitcher.

The Capitals have had the best record in the National Hockey League the past two seasons. The Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers are 3-8 against the Yankees, with the Yankees winning 37 games to the Dodgers' 29 in those 11 matchups. But that doesn't make their choice for Game 2 any easier. They are, not surprisingly, going with the exact same order in the NLCS, so it's Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Alex Wood in that order. I'm just not seeing Lester in Game 2 while Hendricks and Arrieta are out for the first L.A. leg of the series. Despite posting a 0.902 WHIP during the regular season, he allowed four Cubs batters to reach base on an intentional walk, a passed-ball strikeout, catcher's interference, and a hit-by-pitch in consecutive at bats.

To recap: the Cubs rotation is is a logistical mess with few ideal options, while the Dodgers can set theirs up perfectly.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the favorites in the Major League Baseball playoffs, according to the latest World Series 2017 betting odds. The Cubs have been skipping around the country and blasting through time zones for almost a week, while the Dodgers have been resting comfortably in their homes since Tuesday.

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