There’s something special about a repeat matchup in a championship setting. Clemson vs. Alabama, Cavs vs. Warriors, Lakers vs. Celtics all have a ring of excitement to them that Browns vs. Jaguars just can’t quite match. Tonight begins a repeat of last year’s NLCS as the Cubs and Dodgers square off to earn a ticket to the World Series, but don’t expect it to be like last year.
The Dodgers have been a machine since the beginning of the regular season, and their place at the top of the National League West division was never truly in doubt. Their three game sweep of Arizona in the NLDS, coupled with the Cubs’ struggles that took their series with Washington to five games, means the Dodgers come in with nearly a full week of rest. The Cubs come limping into the series on two games rest after putting all they had into the Nationals.
Apart from short rest, the biggest problem for the Cubs is on the mound. Jon Lester and Jose Quintana made relief appearances in Games 4 and 5, respectively, and Quintana is slated to start Game 1. Also, John Lackey still does not appear to have the ability to breathe through his nose, an important skill in life both on and off the diamond.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, come to play with Clayton Kershaw and Yu Darvish both plenty rested and ready to go, and with a squad more than ready to reverse the fate of last year’s NLCS and continue performing in the postseason. Perhaps the only weak point for the Dodgers is the absence of Corey Seager, who was left off the NLCS roster with a back injury.
Even without Seager, who hit .292 against Chicago in the regular season, the Dodgers have plenty of firepower to overwhelm the tired Cubs arms. With home field advantage, an exhausted opponent, and plenty of fans rolling their eyes and saying: “Well in California, we have the beach AND the mountains, sooooo….”, the Dodgers are looking more than ready to take this one in a hurry.