We grabbed a third straight winner last night with the Cubs and Dodgers tucking under the eight run total, barely, with the Dodgers all-but-fatal 6-1 win. L.A. now owns a commanding 3-0 series lead, and oh by the way, Clayton Kershaw is still waiting in the wings. Are the Champs really going to bow out so meekly? They’ve dug out of some holes in the past (see: Last Year’s World Series 3-1 hole), but as nearly all sports fans know, a 3-0 hole is a different animal.
It is POSSIBLE. We saw it happen with the iconic Red Sox vs. Yankees series in the year the Curse of the Bambino was finally snapped, but perhaps the Cubs extended all their curse slaying magic last year…
Tonight the Cubs will send Jake Arrieta to the bump with a simple, but daunting task; keep the season alive.
Will he? And perhaps more importantly, can he finally get some help from his mates in the batter’s box??
Today’s MLB Pick:
Los Angeles Dodgers +102 at Chicago Cubs -112 (Total: 8)
Rich Hill vs. Jake Arrieta
Some might push for Kershaw to get the ball again, but with Alex Wood needing a little tune-up action, and a 3-0 Dodgers lead, Alex Wood is no doubt the right call tonight. It is hard to argue with Dave Roberts six-game winning streak or his 104 regular season wins and the masterful way his steady hand guided the Dodgers through an uneventful and loss-less postseason.
Wood was brilliant in the regular season, posting a 16-3 record with a 2.77 ERA before an injury cut his season short. Tonight will be his first postseason start of his career – a chance to close out a series to advance to the World Series AND a chance to “tune up” with “little pressure” at the exact same time. That, my friends, is not an everyday situation. I expect Wood to fare well.
But I expect Arrieta to fare even better. Tonight is a MUST WIN, and I like Arrieta’s moxie in this situation. He was excellent in the second half of the season and tonight will be his ninth postseason start. He has been in big moments before and is the perfect guy to hand the ball to with the season on the line.
The biggest question will be the Cubs bats. Can they wake up in time to extend the season? So far in the NLCS they have tallied just four runs in the first three games of this series. Add in their bullpen woes, and this series has been an outright disaster, a la 2015 against the Mets.
But I think the veteran pride and Jake Arrieta can find a way to will the season to a Game Five. Win the series? Let’s not get carried away. But survive another day? I think they have a shot.
I like the value at near even money with Arrieta against a rusty Alex Wood making his first postseason start. I like the Cubs to get a run or two early and finally relax at the plate.
TODAY’S MLB PICK: CHICAGO CUBS TO WIN -112