Three down, eight to go. The Los Angeles Dodgers swept the Arizona Diamondbacks three games to none Monday night to advance to the NLCS.
In such an odd occurrence, the Los Angeles Dodgers headed into the MLB Postseason as underdogs, despite owning the best record in baseball. Certain outlets, USA Today, in particular, stacked the cards against the Dodgers to not even make it out of the first round.
Yes, the team lost 11 straight games in early September. Yes, six of those were to the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Los Angeles won the three most important games between both sides all year, not in the month of September, but in October. The brooms were out, and the Dodgers advance to the NLCS.
Quite frankly, this was nothing short of a dominant performance from the Dodgers. With the first two games being offensive onslaughts, the team turned the ball over to Yu Darvish to start a pitching gem in game three. Los Angeles held Arizona to one run on three hits.
Yet, the past is in the past. As sweet as it is to sweep the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks and their annoying “Beat LA” chants, it is time to move on. In the NLCS, the Dodgers will face a team they played in last year’s playoffs. They could either play the Washington Nationals, who they beat in the NLDS in five games or the Cubs, who they lost to in the NLCS in six games.
Regardless, the tides have turned this time around. It is apparent, this added depth in the Dodgers pitching staff is only making the team that much better. With a series sweep in the NLDS, the Dodgers will have the odds in their favor in the NLCS.
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Los Angeles is getting a four-day rest until the start of the NLCS, which begins on Saturday, October 14th. At this time, Clayton Kershaw will have seven days of rest, Rich Hill Six and Yu Darvish four. Alex Wood hasn’t even pitched in the postseason yet, so that is another factor to take into consideration.
If the Cubs-Nationals series goes five games, which is hopefully should, the pitching staffs will be tired. The two teams have been going at each other this series, with the Cubs only having a +1 run differential.
If the series extends to five games, both teams will be calling on their ace to get a victory. For Dodger fans, the Washington Nationals are a more viable option to face. However, both rotations are top heavy and both teams lack a dominating bullpen.
We saw what the Dodgers did to taxed arms in the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team worked both Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke until their arms fell off after both men pitched last Wednesday.
While the sweep is sweet now, there are much bigger implications on the line in the NLCS. For the first time in the team’s five-year postseason run, they will not be entering in with a fatigued pitching staff. Luckily for the Dodgers, they have a plethora of different ways to manage the starting rotation in the NLCS; a luxury they often do not have.