The Cubs staved off elimination last night but it wasn’t without some tension and drama. The cushion came on some early solo homeruns, but the sustained offense still hasn’t appeared in this series. Tonight, they try to once again avoid the end of the season, and they will attempt to do so in pretty dire circumstances; facing Clayton Kershaw.
I know Kershaw has had his struggles, but with an already scuffling Cubs offense taking the field, the odds seem stacked against them. Vegas agrees, installing the Dodgers as a -155 favorite to close out the proceedings tonight at Wrigley. But the odds aren’t nearly as long as one would expect in a normal Kershaw start. Is it respect for the Cubs and their growing mystique for resiliency? Respect for Quintana? Or merely some skepticism around Kershaw?
Either way, tonight should be thrilling stuff. Let’s see if we can remain perfect and notch a fifth straight winner in the series.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Los Angeles Dodgers -158 at Chicago Cubs +149 (Total: 7)
Clayton Kershaw vs. Jose Quintana
Quintana was brought in for a reason; win in the postseason. I’m not sure the Cubs envisioned him needing to a win a home game to extend the season so early in the series however. Once again, he draws the Dodgers ace head to head. Quintana was fine in the opener, allowing just two runs in five innings and allowing just two hits. He will likely need to be even better tonight against Kershaw.
For all his postseason perceptions, Kershaw is still the best pitcher in baseball. He went 18-4 this season with a 2.31 ERA. He “struggled” in the opener (oh, how perception colors our vantage point) allowing two runs in five innings on four hits. Similar line to Quintana.
I feel like it is a reach to say the Cubs have an edge over the Dodgers with Kershaw on the mound. He hasn’t been as dominant, and has had a few tough starts, in his postseason career. But he is still Clayton Freaking Kershaw, and he is on full rest and eager to send the Dodgers to their first World Series in nearly three decades.
I don’t dislike the UNDER tonight, though I’d like it better at 7.5. And there is the temptation to try and be cute; fade Kershaw and ride his postseason demons to a healthy underdog daring play, but why be cute? Best team in baseball with the best pitcher in baseball eventually handing the ball to the best bullpen and closer in baseball. What’s not to like tonight?
Today’s MLB Pick: LOS ANGELES DODGERS TO WIN -158