We remained perfect in the postseason thank to Miguel Montero’s immortalizing two-out, bottom-of-the-eighth grand slam that took a tense game and busted it wide open. The Cubs were able to spare Chapman a second inning of work (making him available for tonight, if needed) and got the much-needed Game One win, especially with Clayton Kershaw slated to start tonight.
My postseason record is now 7-0-1 ATS and we will look to keep it going in Game Two of tonight’s NLCS.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Dodgers -124 at Chicago Cubs +120 (Total: 6.5)
Clayton Kershaw vs. Kyle Hendricks
On the surface, Kershaw vs. Hendricks sounds like a massive advantage for the Dodgers. But before we limit our analysis right there, let’s dig a little deeper in their respective 2016 campaigns, as well as the postseason ledger.
All the “Kershaw can’t deliver in the postseason” talk seems to have been wiped clean by his heroic save in Game Five of the NLDS. However, in his most important start in Game Four, he was touched up for five runs in just six-plus innings. He also allowed three runs and five hits in just five innings in the series opener. To think, especially after the extreme workload, that he will come in and blank the Cubs for seven innings tonight feels pretty optimistic to me.
Meanwhile, Kyle Hendricks led the NL with a 2.13 ERA this season and in his last three months of the season, the highest ERA he had in any individual month was September’s 1.38. He was simply lights-out from the All Star Game forward and he should be confident tonight with the Cubs owning a one game lead and flashing a ridiculous amount of leather last night. What pitcher wouldn’t feel confident with Dexter Fowler out in center, sharing right field with the excellent Jason Hayward, along with Rizzo, Baez, Russell and Bryant in the infield. This might be the best defensive team EVER, and there is a reason why all these pitchers have such spectacular ERA’s this season.
Fortunately, Vegas is not exactly in line with my analysis. I thought we might catch nice value tonight given the “Kershaw” name, and we did. I’d have laid juice on the Cubs tonight, but don’t have to. I think it is worth noting how EXHAUSTED the Dodgers bullpen is, which could lead to some nice late Chicago runs to blow this thing open tonight. And even if it is tight, the Cubs were able to save Chapman from a second inning thanks to Maddon/Roberts shadowboxing in the eighth inning and the eventual Montero grandslam. I think the Cubs take FIRM control of the series tonight with Hendricks getting the best of Kershaw and the tired Dodgers.