The Los Angeles Dodgers made a couple of roster changes from the NLDS team that barely snuck past the depleted Washington Nationals. Perhaps the most notable addition is Kiké Hernandez. He, of course had a terrible year by any standard of measure. But he did hit a home run off of Jon Lester earlier this season and that was the only run that the Dodgers scored off of Lester in 15 innings this year.
You would have to be about as dumb as a Donald Trump supporter at this point to be unaware of the Dodgers’ problems against left-handed pitching. The fact that this ballclub will be counting on a utility player who hit .189 vs left handed pitchers this season to hit against perhaps the best left handed pitcher in baseball this year, tells us that the Dodgers are probably doomed. This is before even considering that the Cubs were 12 games better than the Dodgers over 162 games. It is before considering the depleted Dodger rotation that must rely upon Alex Wood to pitch a game at some point. It is also before considering that Yasmani Grandal is quickly establishing himself as a playoff choker.
Las Vegas has the Dodgers as 2-1 underdogs in game one alone. The Cubs are just better than the Dodgers. There really isn’t anything the Dodgers can do about the fact that Chicago is simply better on paper. But, as the cliché goes, the games aren’t played on paper. Plus, stranger things have happened—especially to the Cubs.
Let us go back to 2008, when a 97-win Cubs team faced off against an 84-win Dodger club in the NLDS. Like the Cubs of today, the Cubs in 2008 were simply a better team than the Dodgers. But one fifth inning James Loney Grand Slam in game one crushed the Cubs’ will to fight and that was the series.
This year, the Cubs will probably not be as mentally weak as they were in 2008. If Chicago gets sucker punched in the face by the Dodgers early in the series, they will likely bounce back. While the Cubs may not melt down and essentially give up on the series after playing five innings, everybody knows that the weight of the world is on Chicago’s shoulders. Sure, the Dodgers carry the burden of 28 years of failure. But the Cubs are going on 108 years. If the Dodgers are to lose in the NLCS this year, nobody will think anything of it. It was supposed to happen. But if the Cubs lose, or get close to losing, they will be under a sort of pressure never before seen in baseball history. The Dodgers should, by all means, engage in psychological warfare against the Cubs. LA has nothing to lose.
If the Dodgers can push the Cubs back to Wrigley for games six and seven, expect the pressure to get to the Cubs. But don’t be surprised if the Dodgers get swept. We are playing with house money, after all. For updates during the NLCS, check back for more Dodger News and More!