The Los Angeles Dodgers called back to history on Sunday night. Twenty Nine years ago, exactly, the Dodgers leaned on magic to win game one of the World Series. On Sunday, Justin Turner helped them take game two of the NLCS and possibly inch closer to winning another world title.
With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 9th, star third baseman Justin Turner stepped up to the plate and launched a three-run shot that handed the Dodgers a thrilling walk-off win, as well as a commanding 2-0 lead in the NLCS.
The Chicago Cubs have been the team built on narratives. They waltzed into last year’s World Series, both as a team that hadn’t won a title in 100 years and also the favorite. They nearly choked, down 3-1, but exit with one of the greatest World Series comebacks ever.
The Cubs proved to be clutch again in their NLDS takedown of the Washington Nationals, but as we approach game three, it seems like the magic could be gone.
MLB bettors have to wonder if the Cubs are done going into Tuesday night’s tilt, or if this really is the year of the Dodgers. It all starts with a crucial game three at Wrigley Field, where the Cubs can’t afford to take another loss.
Chicago is set to turn to Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA) in game three, as the NLCS shifts to Wrigley Field. Hendricks has held strong in two playoff starts so far this year (1-0, 3.27 ERA) and will look to deliver again as the Cubs hope to avoid a 3-0 hole.
On paper, this is a tough spot for Hendricks. The 27-year old righty tends to thrive on the road and gave up 11 of his 17 home runs this year at home. He still sported a respectable 3.28 ERA at Wrigley, but the struggles with the long ball won’t go unnoticed.
That’s especially true when you’re facing a lethal Dodgers lineup. Los Angeles tends to wreck lefties better, but they’re still stacked with power.
This game three isn’t all about L.A.’s offense, though. The Cubs will be asked to deliver in a high-pressure situation against a tough arm in Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA). Darvish’s season numbers don’t pop off the page, but he delivered in his lone postseason appearance (one run in 5 innings) and has been mostly sharp (4-3, 3.44 ERA) since joining the Dodgers via trade.
It’s Chicago we need to be worried about, though. The Cubs – much like the Dodgers – rake southpaws and they’ll be facing a very tough righty on Tuesday night. Darvish has been an elite hurler (6-4, 2.44 ERA) on the road in 2017 and will get a Chicago lineup that ranked just 17th in batting average when facing right-handed pitchers in 2017.
On paper, the pitching matchup goes to Darvish and it might not be that close. Then we look at both offenses and at best it’s a toss-up. It’s difficult to say the Dodgers are runaway winners here, seeing as this game is at Wrigley, the series has been close and the Cubs have dug themselves out of jams in the past.
But the value is with Los Angeles. GT Bets is just one of many MLB betting sites that are handing out a nice line (+107) by making the Dodgers the road underdogs. L.A. jumping out to a 3-0 lead will be a surprise, but they’ve been the favored team all along.
The Dodgers are supposed to win this series and inevitably the World Series. Why should we go against them now, especially when the Cubs don’t even have an elite arm on the mound that realistically should be able to stifle them?
The Cubs can win this game. They’re at home and they have everything to play for. This is playoff baseball, though. The Dodgers could be in their heads and they have the more reliable arm. We’re riding the superior pitching and the value in this one and rolling with the Dodgers.