MLB Playoffs 2017: Predicting the NL Playoff picture
The Dodgers have had a historic regular season, first because they couldn’t lose, and then went through the odd phase of not being able to win.
Figure that one out.
How they got here
First, they had the best 50-game stretch in MLB since the 1912 New York Giants, compiling an astounding 43-7 record. Throughout the season the Dodgers were dubbed as potentially the greatest team in baseball history — Gotta win the World Series first — and it made you raise your eyebrows anytime they did lose.
The 1906 Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners own the regular season record for wins (116), and the Dodgers conjured memories of the 1998 New York Yankees (114-48, 11-2 playoffs).
They built up such as huge lead, that even their longest losing slump in 73 years, in which they lost 11 straight, and 16 of 17 still wasn’t enough to dismantle their healthy lead in the NL West or the games’ best record.
Although that lead has certainty dwindled, the Cleveland Indians winning 27 of 28 recently kind of has a lot to do with that as well.
Though the Dodgers don’t currently appear as the same team that rode a magical winning trend through the summer, and while their playoff prospects may not feel all that rosy, they will be there as the No. 1 seed against the Wild Card.
I mean, they’re not going to ultimately dwindle their cushion over the Nationals in this upcoming last week, are they?
Clayton Kershaw (17-4, 2.26 ERA) is the undisputed Game 1 starter. Then Alex Wood (14-3, 2.81 ERA), Yu Darvish (3-3, 3.80 as a Dodger), Kenta Maeda (12-6, 4.35 ERA)?
That will be Dave Roberts’ task to solve following Kershaw.
Offensively, they are led by upcoming Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger (38 HR, 91 RBI)
Chasing another kind of history
It’s amazing how this team won what felt like every game at one point, and equally as intriguing, fascinating, and every other superlative when this same team suddenly couldn’t win. At all.
L.A. will try to be reminiscent of the 2000 Yankees, who survived a 13-17 September, and seven consecutive losses to end the season, but won the World Series.
How they did
The Chicago Cubs opened up the home portion of the regular season schedule with the trophy and a win against the Dodgers en route to taking two of three.
The Dodgers swept Chicago in Los Angeles right around the Memorial Day holiday. Chicago could not muster anything against Alex Wood in the first game, losing 4-0 and only collecting two hits. The second game was not any better against Brandon McCarthy, who extended the Cubs’ scoring slump, as the team was shut out again. This time only getting three hits.
The finale of that series featured a marquee pitching matchup between Jon Lester and Clayton Kershaw, so naturally, neither made it through five innings.