The starting rotations:
Los Angeles Dodgers:
The Los Angeles Dodgers boast a solid four-man rotation heading into the NLCS, should the team run with the same four as the NLDS. Those four, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Yu Darvish and Rich Hill are extremely rested and each is dangerous on the rubber. For the first time in the last five seasons, LA has a deep rotation in October.
In the NLDS, the starting rotation did not have great numbers. The staff threw 9.1 innings to the tone of a 6.75 ERA. However, in games one and two the Dodgers enjoyed the benefit of big offensive leads. In game three, when that lead wasn’t a luxury, Yu Darvish threw five innings, only allowing two hits and one run off of a solo shot. He looked absolutely incredible.
Only Kershaw and Wood faced the Cubs this season. Kershaw held an 8.31 ERA in 4.1 innings and Wood a 1.04 ERA in 8.2 innings.
The Chicago Cubs also boast a great four-man rotation of Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta and Jose Quintana. Quintana was a huge piece for the Cubs, as they traded for him during the trade deadline. While the Cubs can match the Dodgers’ arms, they run into the same problem LA had last season, they are fatigued.
The starting rotation did fairly well in the NLDS, owning a 2.39 ERA against the heavy bats of the Washington Nationals. However, Chicago threw all four of their starting pitchers in the last two games of the series on Wednesday and Thursday. Although Lester and Quintana came out of the pen, it will affect their starts in some manner.
We saw it with Zack Greinke and Robby Ray in the NLDS, they began to flame out. Los Angeles, recognizing this, will likely get each of these guys in pitch count trouble early. With Lester likely starting game one and Quintana game two, the Dodgers must capitalize on fatigue.
While the Dodgers rotation had a better regular season, the Cubs have had a postseason. However, because of the fatigue in play, this becomes a draw.