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NLCS Preview: What Chicago Wants Vs. What’s Going To Happen

As the weekend starts up again so does playoff baseball baby! Hopefully, the league championship series proves to be a much more entertaining round of playoff baseball than the divisional round cause let’s be honest, outside of the Red Sox vs Yankees series, the rest of the divisional series rounds were alright since most of them resulted in sweeps and the dodgers looked like they were well on their way to a series victory since game 1 even with the Braves’ valiant effort to push a game 4. Mark my words though, the Braves’ will be back to avenge that loss next year.

Even over a week after the loss in the Wild Card game, the sting of a disappointing season still hurts as now we get to see one of our division rivals advance to league championship series, and I hate to admit, but I think they have a solid chance of pulling off the upset here and advancing to the World Series….

Image: Giphy.com

I know what you’re thinking Chicago, “How dare I think these bastards who stole the division from us will also advance to the World Series! That should be us!” I wish it was us, but our offense failed us like it did through key moments throughout the year. We didn’t have the killer instinct, that drive to put games out of reach in key moments. I’m not saying we didn’t try, but that feeling that was there in 2016 was not there this year, and the Brewers, unfortunately, seem to have that feel to their team this post season.

However, playoff baseball is all about momentum, and both teams are going to be coming in with a lot of momentum dating back well into the last few weeks of the season so I am eager to see this series as it’s looking like it’s going to be a dog fight until the last out and that’s just great baseball.

To put into context how hot these two teams are, The Brewers have NOT lost a game since Sept. 22nd and The Dodgers have ONLY lost ONE game since Sept. 28th so this collision is going to result in someone’s season ending and hopefully both hot streaks ending (probably a good time to mention that I’m going for the Red Sox to win it all and The Red Sox vs Astros series is probably where the real champion of baseball will be crowned since both of these NL teams don’t stand much of a chance against either of the AL teams.)

Image: Giphy.com

But let’s get back to the more immediate matchup at hand and breakdown the major components of each team to see who has the bigger advantage…

For Game 1 of the series The Dodgers will be sending their periennal ace, Clayton Kershaw, to the mound. Most of us probably know of Kershaw’s decorated regular season career and how he has had multiple post season short comings throughout his career, but he is coming off one of his most dominant post season outings and, due to injuries throughout the year, should have a relatively fresh arm for the post season. Their game two – four starters will be as follows Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, and Rich Hill. All pitchers have been on a roll since Sept. 1st and thanks to dodgers.mlblogs.com, I can provide some numbers as to just how hot each pitcher has been. [For guidance the following line can been read as (batting average against/ on-base % against/ slugging % against)]

Buehler: .135/.224/.216

Hill: .183/.243/.357

Kershaw: .219/.260/.391

Ryu: .243/.259/.343

All this basically means that these starting pitchers haven’t really been letting people on base lately and when someone does get a hit off of them, it’s not going very far or with much authority.

The Brewers games 1 -3 starters will be as follows: Gio Gonzalez, Wade Miley, and Joulys Chacin. Now these three names definitely lack the star power of The Dodgers starting rotation and neither Brewer starter has been able to pitch 6 complete innings since the beginning of September. But with a bullpen like Milwaukee’s you don’t need the starter to go that deep and it has worked beautifully for The Brewers by allowing their “Opener” to go through a lineup once, at most twice. Also, Gio lines up for a decent start today pitching to a 2.13 ERA since being acquired by Milwaukee and a 1.89 career ERA against The Dodgers since 2012. However, the only issue I see with The Dodgers rotation this series is how will rookie Walker Buehler respond to a rocky divisional round outing last time out.

Advantage: Dodgers

Image result for los angeles dodgers pitching rotation

Image: nbcsports.com

Speaking of pitching the Brewers have easily one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball, if not the most dominant left in the playoffs. Since the beginning of September, the Brewers bullpen has pitched to a sub 2 ERA. With Kenley Jansen having a career worst season this year, and Josh Hader emerging as arguably the most dominant reliever in the game (who I think may be asked to cover up to 3 or more innings this round), it’s pretty clear who gets the advantage here.

Advantage: Milwaukeee

Image result for milwaukee brewers

Image: yahoosports.com

Now to the offense. This is a hard one to give an advantage to either team as both teams are loaded with star power (The Dodgers with a little more), but the Brewers are averaging 5.3 runs/game since the beginning of Sept and still have the hottest hitter on the planet in Christian Yelich, who absolutely rakes in his career against Kershaw with a lifetime batting average over .500 against Clayton Kershaw….

Very minuscule advantage: Brewers

Image result for milwaukee brewers

Image: reviewingthebrew.com

Lastly there is the defense and while both are solid defensively, the Brewers were second in the majors with 89 defensive runs saved in the second half whereas the Dodgers were eighth with only 31 so yeah I guess we can all see who gets the advantage here….

Advantage: Brewers

Image result for milwaukee brewers

Image: mlbdailydish.com

As a Cubs fan, I am hoping the Brewers lose this series, but the way they have been playing has me feeling that they might advance to the World Series. Even with the better record, this would definitely be an upset with The Dodgers post season experience and the fact that they are trying to make a return trip to avenge last years’ defeat.

Follow me on twitter @eadiaz57 and Instagram @edgar.a.adiaz.57 to get some live updates of the series and games as we inch closer to crowning a champion.

Make sure to follow Branded Sports on twitter as well to get all of our updates on everything important in the world of sports.

#ForTheBrand

Featured Image: gamblingsites.org

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