Dodgers: Breaking down the Cubs vs. Dodgers match up in the NLCS

Aubrey Yates
October 14, 2017

The Cubs advance to play the Dodgers on Saturday in Los Angeles in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series. Or how about CC Sabathia, once an ace starter, coming through with four excellent innings when the Yankees needed them most? "I like the way we match against them - a lot, not a little bit".

"It didn't look great", Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth said, according to Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post.

"Nothing would make me happier than that", Maddon said then of a potential playoff rematch. "I don't know the specifics of all of that. That's awesome. I'm sure they need to think that, so that's great".

However, the past is in the past and the 2017 Dodgers look to do what the 2016 Dodgers couldn't: defeat the Chicago Cubs. "Once I gave up the homer and just kind of got out of that inning and then was able to go in the dugout and sit down, and I just treated that like I had just pitched the first inning and we were behind by a run, and OK, just shut the door and give our guys a chance to come back".

The game featured plenty of twists and turns from there, and despite lackluster pitching, the Nationals stayed within striking distance.

The Nationals have won the National League East four times in the past six seasons - each time in pretty impressive fashion - but haven't won a playoff series. By the time they came to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning, the score was 9-7, but a pair of leadoff walks and a timely single from outfielder Michael Taylor got them to eight runs, just one off the lead. The Cubs, whose cross-country flight Friday took 10 hours instead of five because of an unscheduled stop in Albuquerque, figure to be a step behind the Dodgers, who have had four days off going into the series opener. "We just want a really fun atmosphere for our customers, and we want to see us going on to the NLCS for the third year in a row", said Patrick Curth, manager of Murphy's Bleachers. "That's what you have to try to figure out".

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Maddon's plea wasn't lost on Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, though. Here we are in Game 5, play our hearts out, everybody lays it on the line, everybody's fighting doing everything they can. But primarily the pitching got better and all of that really came together. That's what we went with. Then eventually the guys start showing up.

Scherzer's one-inning disaster of a relief appearance in Game 5 notwithstanding, he is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball and is under contract for four more years. He mentioned left-hander Jose Quintana and right-hander John Lackey as possible options. In last year's NLCS against Chicago, Kershaw went seven innings in a 1-0 Game 2 victory but struggled in a decisive Game 6 loss, allowing five runs in five innings to the World Series champions.

The Nationals entered the frame with a 4-3 lead, and brought two-time Cy Young victor Max Scherzer on in relief.

Quintana hasn't faced the Dodgers since June 2014, when he was pitching for the Chicago White Sox. And through the first several innings of Thursday's game, it seemed to be making a difference.

The Redskins, who were one of the best teams in the National Football League during the 1980s, haven't even won a playoff game since 2005.

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