The Dodgers won 18 more games than the Cubs this season, and they have plenty in their favor this October after four consecutive failures to reach the World Series with high-priced NL West championship teams. It was nine inning battle of starting pitchers, relief pitchers, and starting pitchers being used as relief pitchers. The Cubs sent Kyle Hendricks to the mound and the Nationals sent out Gio Gonzalez. Roberts revealed Friday that Rich Hill will pitch Game 2, and Yu Darvish will start Game 3 in Chicago. The Dodgers eliminated the Diamondbacks on Monday, which feels like a month ago now.
The Cubs, who ended their curse by winning the World Series last year, will meet the Dodgers for the second straight year with a berth in the World Series on the line.
Jiron said the crew flying the plane "timed out" and didn't have any more flying time left, so a second crew had to be brought in to take the flight to Los Angeles.
WSCR, the Cubs' flagship radio station, reported that the plane diverted due to a "non-player health issue" for someone on the plane - apparently a family member traveling with the team. They secured a win in Game 4 by pouring it on in the eighth inning. The Cubs closer threw 44 pitches in 2.1 innings to get the final seven outs to relieve a struggling pitching staff.
The Dodgers also have far more pressure on them than the Cubs, and they realize it. The Cubs went 24-11 the rest of the way, the best mark in the National League. Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager has been limited in recent days with a sore back, but is expected to play in Game 1. Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said after Thursday's game that Jose Quintana is on that short list, having thrown just 12 pitches in his Game 5 relief appearance.
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Starting Saturday, it is the Dodgers and their major league-best 104-58 record against the 92-70 Cubs, the reigning champs. But that doesn't make their choice for Game 2 any easier. John Lackey is in the mix, but no decision was made. The pitching was there the whole series, but the bats failed to wake up until game five when the pitching did not show up.
On the other side of this matchup, the Dodgers will be able to set up their pitching rotation exactly as they want to.
With a full week of rest heading into Game 1, the lefty and his Dodgers likely have their best chance yet.
Lackey, who was 7-3 with a 3.75 ERA in the second half, hasn't pitched since a one-inning relief appearance in the season finale - hasn't started since September 7 (six innings, one run allowed).
The Dodgers reached the high point of their season on August 25. The Cubs have been skipping around the country and blasting through time zones for almost a week, while the Dodgers have been resting comfortably in their homes since Tuesday.