LA Dodgers (0-0) at Chicago Cubs (0-0)
When: Saturday, October 15th 2016
Where: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: FOX Sports 1
After dramatic road victories to win their NLDS, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs will meet in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday night. The Cubs used a improbable four-run ninth inning after trailing 5-2 to eliminate the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, while the Dodgers held off the Nationals late Thursday night. Los Angeles scored four runs in the 1 hour and 6 minute 7th inning Thursday to take a 4-1 lead only to have the Nationals come right back to make it 4-3. Closer Kenley Jansen came on in the 7th inning and held Washington off the board before ace Clayton Kershaw come on in the 9th to get the final two outs. Los Angeles 3B Justin Turner batted .400 with a .591 on-base percentage and five RBIs against the Nationals. The Cubs got six RBIs from their pitchers in the NLDS as the rest of their lineup struggled a bit against San Francisco. One guy who did swing the bat well was Javier Baez who was 6-for-16 in the series. The Cubs, who lost to the New York Mets in the NLCS last season, have not reached the World Series since 1945 and have not won a championship since 1908.
Pitchers: Dodgers – Kenta Maeda (0-1, 12.00 ERA) | Cubs – Jon Lester (1-0, 0.00)
Since Kershaw started Game 4 and closed out Game 5 of the NLDS, the Dodgers will turn to Kenta Maeda in Game 1 of the NLCS. The Japanese native was hit for four runs on five hits and a pair of walks over three innings in his NLDS start against Washington and has lost three in a row while posting an 11.17 ERA going back to the regular season. Maeda will be facing the Cubs for the first time in his career, but went 9-6 with a 3.74 ERA in 17 road starts this year.
Jon Lester will get the nod in Game 1 just as he did in the opener of the NLDS against the Giants. In that game, Lester pitched eight scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Lester went 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA during the regular season and is now 7-6 with a 2.63 ERA in 17 career postseason games (15 starts). Lester faced the Dodgers twice in the regular season and allowed a total of one run while striking out 16 over 15 innings.
The Cubs are more rested than the Dodgers not only physically, but emotionally. Chicago is more than ready to to get back to the World Series and they should easily get to a struggling Maeda. The Dodgers are terrible against left-handed pitching and Lester is the only southpaw starter the Cubs have. Chicago takes Game 1 easily.
Pick: Cubs -1.5 -105