The MLB postseason is, perhaps, the best playoff series in all of sports. Long series allow both teams to get their best players in a groove while limiting the likelihood of luck playing a real factor, like in the NFL. Now, 2017’s playoff series this year has been exciting as all get out and the team at the center of the excitement is last year’s championship squad, the Chicago Cubs. Chicago recently defeated the Washington Nationals in order to move on in the postseason to the NLCS where they are just 4 wins shy of another World Series berth. However, questions are rising around the league: do the Cubs have enough fuel left to beat the impressive Los Angeles Dodgers?
Chicago comes into the NLCS as the hefty underdogs and for a variety of different reasons. Chicago went five long games against the Washington Nationals and they used up their entire bullpen and starting rotation to make it through. Chicago also only got two days of rest between their series while Los Angeles has been laying in wait for a long time, having put down the Arizona Diamondbacks in short order. Chicago is tired, they are banged up, and they have a Herculean task ahead of them.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said to the press, “Right now, we’re playing with the same kind of mental acumen and edge that I’ve seen the last two years.” In his mind, at least, Chicago has enough left in the tank to bring the heat to Los Angeles and win this series. But does his confidence make up for the fact that the Cubs are very wearied and very undermanned in comparison to Los Angeles? After all, the Dodgers swept Arizona and have been waiting for their next series to get started. In comparison, Chicago won their series on Thursday, partied through the morning on Friday, saw their plane diverted to New Mexico, and arrived in LA early in the A.M. — just 29 hours before first pitch.
The storyline that will be surrounding Chicago’s series against Los Angeles will all come down to their rotation. Los Angeles has a trio of elite pitchers to lean on including the best arm in the league, Clayton Kershaw. In comparison, Chicago’s entire rotation is fatigued. Newcomer Jose Quintana will get to start Game 1 and Jon Lester might potentially get a chance to take on Game 2 but even that is not a certain thing.