Major League Baseball playoffs 2017 predictions: Experts make NLCS predictions for Cubs-Dodgers

Doug Mendoza
October 16, 2017

Being down a game to the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series is nothing new to the Cubs, who trailed 2-1 when the teams squared off in 2016 with a trip to the World Series on the line.

The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series with a 2-1 win over the Yankees in Houston on Saturday.

Jon Lester will start Game 2 of the NLCS for Chicago at Dodger Stadium on Sunday night. The Dodgers counter with left-hander Rich Hill, a former Cub.

"I'm not anxious about it", said Lester, who threw 51 pitches in Game 4 against Washington. "Just to see like the energy, you know, flow within the dugout was just - I get chills just talking about it". "But at the end, with the lefties that they have got potentially going against us and having Charlie being able to catch the baseball at short and [we] like him against a left-handed pitcher, it just made sense for us to not have Corey on the roster". One moment, you're a sympathetic figure, the next you're the one who is making people feel bad.

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Beyond Maddon's bullpen management, the bigger problem for the Cubs was, yet again, their non-existent offense. Excluding their nine-run outburst in Game 5 of the NLDS, the Cubs have averaged just 2.0 runs in their other five playoff games.

"You have to try and hold back momentum the best you can", Lester said. You have to limit long at-bats, foul balls, stuff like that.

The Cubs had to find a way to extend that game, and using Lackey on back-to-back days - something the 38-year-old starter has never done in his 15-year career - was not the right decision. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admits to not really caring who the team faced in the NLCS, but he doesn't exactly mind it's the Cubs either. Even better, they'd be down 2-1 with the next two games at home, whereas they were down 2-1 and on the road in Los Angeles past year. I think we were down previous year when we came in here.

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