Cubs vs. Dodgers: NLCS Series Preview – Oct 15-23; Game/TV Info, Pitching Match-ups, Keys to Series

Well, my friends, here we go. The Chicago Cubs (103-58) will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers (91-71) starting today for the right to play in the 2016 World Series. For any Cubs’ fan, writing, saying or thinking ‘World Series’ is a sacred matter that carries with it the hopes and dreams of generations. This is the stuff we all dream about and today is an exciting day to be certain.

The Cubs got here by defeating the San Francisco Giants in a dramatic four-game series where they outscored the Giants 17-13. The Cubs won in come-from-behind fashion by scoring four runs in the top of the ninth inning of game four, avoiding what seemed to be an inevitable trip back to Wrigley Field for a game five that would’ve featured Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto battling it out. Avoiding stressful situations in the playoffs is not something the Cubs are historically known for, so it was extraordinarily great to avoid that situation with such an incredible come back.

For the Dodgers, they just managed to get past the Washington Nationals in a five-game, tightly contested battle. They outscored…..I mean, got outscored by the Nationals 19-24. The three games the Dodgers won were by one run each and they were handily defeated in the two games they lost. Clayton Kershaw was used three times in the series and threw a total of 218 pitches. Of course, the Dodgers won all three games that Kershaw pitched in, just what you’d expect from one of the best – in not the best – pitchers in the games.

Game times and broadcast info

  • Saturday, October 15 at 7:08 PM CT on FS1
  • Sunday, October 16 at 7:08 PM CT on FS1
  • Tuesday, October 18 at 7:08 PM CT on FS1
  • Wednesday, October 19 at 7:08 PM CT on FS1
  • Thursday, October 20 at TBD on FS1 (if necessary)
  • Saturday, October 22 at TBD on FS1 (if necessary)
  • Sunday, October 23 at TBD on FS1 (if necessary)

Starting pitchers (probable)

Date Pitcher Age T ERA W/L K/BB
10/15 Jon Lester 32 L 2.44 19-5 3.79
Kenta Maeda 28 R 3.48 16-11 3.58
10/16 Kyle Hendricks 26 R 2.13 16-8 3.86
Clayton Kershaw 28 L 1.69 12-4 15.64
10/18 Jake Arrieta 30 R 3.10 18-8 2.50
Rich Hill 36 L 2.12 12-5 3.91
10/19 John Lackey 37 R 3.35 11-8 3.40
Julio Urias 20 L 3.39 5-2 2.71
10/20 Jon Lester*
Kenta Maeda*
10/22 Kyle Hendricks*
Clayton Kershaw*
10/23 Jake Arrieta*
Rich Hill*

*TBD but these are the likely starters assuming the Dodgers rotation lines up as expected

Keys to the series

  • The Cubs were 4-3 in the season series against the Dodgers and outscored them 19-16. The Cubs won 3-of-4 at Wrigley and 1-of-3 in Los Angeles late in the year. Unlike the Cubs’ last opponent, the Giants, these match-ups weren’t quite as close. Yes, three of the games were decided by one run – two of those were won by the Dodgers – but the other four games were a bit more lopsided, with the Cubs winning three of them.
  • Out of the four Dodgers starting pitchers that are expected to play in this series, the Cubs have only faced Julio Urias, so a bit of unknown on that end as we head into this series for the Cubs. Of course, the Dodgers throw out three lefties against a strong Cubs’ right-handed batting line-up. The Cubs were 7th in batting average in MLB against lefties with a .267/.357/.449 slash line. So look for the Cubs to do damage against the Dodgers starters, with perhaps the exception of Clayton Kershaw.
  • Speaking of starting pitching, the Dodgers staff got taxed big-time in the NLDS against the Nationals. I think this is going to play a big role in this series, mainly because Kershaw hasn’t been 100% for long – he came off the DL on September 9 – and Rich Hill has been dealing with blister issues all season, not to mention taking a ball off his left arm in game five of the NLDS. The Cubs should have a clear advantage with their well-rested starting pitchers.
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