The Los Angeles Dodgers square off against the Chicago Cubs in their second straight NLCS matchup. Game one is Clayton Kershaw vs. Jose Quintana.
In a case of Deja Vu, the Chicago Cubs stand between the Los Angeles Dodgers and their first World Series appearance since 1988. Last year, the 103-win Cubs were heavy favorites to win the World Series, which they did, ending their 107-year drought. This season, the 104-win Dodgers look to be the favorites to win the World Series and end their 28-year drought.
While 28 does not measure up to 107 – 24 of the 30 MLB teams have at least made it to the World Series since the Dodgers last did. Only the Baltimore Orioles (1983), Milwaukee Brewers (1982), Pittsburgh Pirates (1979), Seattle Mariners (Never) and Washington Nationals (Never) are below LA.
That is what makes this series so critical for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even in the team’s four consecutive playoffs appearances prior they never seemed to be locked down favorites. Even when the Dodgers won a series it would take a serious toll on the pitching staff.
This time it is different. Los Angeles handled the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks in three games, giving them plenty of rest against the Chicago Cubs. Chicago put together all the stops to win the NLDS, and quite frankly, won an overall sloppy series.
Los Angeles enjoyed two offensive showcases before Yu Darvish and the bullpen threw a gem in Chase Field. The Cubs pitching staff is on short rest, as Jose Quintana just made a relief appearance on Thursday. While it was not a big workload, this is the same situation Robbie Ray was in during the NLDS.
If the Dodgers want to jump out to a 1-0 lead, they will have to attack Quintana like they did Ray. To do so, Logan Forsythe must have a big night.
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Forsythe headed into the postseason with a lot of question marks around him. Forsythe limped across the finish line to end the season, only hitting .197 in his last 27 games played. The power numbers took a big dip, as Foryshte’s home runs fell from 20 to six. The only real thing going for Forsythe is that he hit .290 against left-handers.
He proved exactly why the Dodgers went out and traded for him last offseason. In game two, Forsythe had a 3-5 performance at the plate with one RBI and three runs plated.
These same rallies were cut short when the Dodgers struggled in early September. Los Angeles needed one extra bat to keep things going and that is exactly what Forsythe provided in game two of the NLDS. Lifetime, Forsythe hits .455 against Quintana, so his production is pivotal.
Dave Roberts should not tweak the lineup he ran in game two; if he did, the only move should be moving Enrique Hernandez to the eight spot and sliding everyone up one. Hitting Forsythe above run producers like Barnes and Puig at the bottom of the order gives LA a lineup top-to-bottom full of production.
The Dodgers can definitely win game one without Logan Forsythe having a big day. However, a strong performance from Forsythe will guarantee a 1-0 series lead for LA.