Playoff Prospectus: NLCS Preview—Dodgers vs. Cubs

The piece previewed here, written by Baseball Prospectus’s Editor-in-Chief Aaron Gleeman, forms part of the main site’s comprehensive coverage of the playoffs, “Playoff Prospectus”. Additional series coverage, exclusive to BP Wrigleyville, can be found here, under the name “Second City October”.

Dave Roberts and the Dodgers pulled out all the stops in Game 5 of the NLDS, riding Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw to knock out the Nationals. Their reward? A seven-game date with the 103-win Cubs, whose furious Game 4 comeback against the Giants brought them one step closer to the World Series everyone in Chicago has been thinking ahead to for months.

Chicago is deep, talented, confident, rested, and ready. Los Angeles is … well, as Dusty Baker said shortly after his Nationals were eliminated by the Dodgers: “I’d be interested to see—they won the war—but the effects of Jansen and Kershaw when they get to Chicago.”

Only one way to find out!

Lineups (AVG/OBP/SLG/TAv)

Cubs Dodgers
CF-S Dexter Fowler(.276/.393/.447/.312) 2B-L Chase Utley(.252/.319/.396/.273)
3B-R Kris Bryant(.292/.385/.554/.350) SS-L Corey Seager(.308/.365/.512/.320)
1B-L Anthony Rizzo(.292/.385/.544/.334) 3B-R Justin Turner(.275/.339/.493/.309)
LF-S Ben Zobrist(.272/.386/.446/.306) 1B-L Adrian Gonzalez(.285/.349/.435/.293)
SS-R Addison Russell(.238/.321/.417/.275) RF-L Josh Reddick(.281/.345/.405/.277)
RF-L Jason Heyward(.230/.306/.325/.237) CF-L Joc Pederson(.246/.352/.495/.310)
2B-R Javier Baez(.273/.314/.423/.275) C-S Yasmani Grandal(.228/.339/.477/.299)
C-R David Ross(.229/.338/.446/.292) LF-L Andrew Toles(.314/.365/.505/.303)

During the regular season David Ross primarily served as Jon Lester’s personal catcher, starting 50 of 161 games while often sitting third on the depth chart behind Miguel Montero and Willson Contreras. However, he started two of four NLDS games and, with Lester set to pitch at least twice in this series and the Dodgers’ rotation three-fourths left-handers, the 39-year-old impending retiree looks slated for a much bigger NLCS role. Chicago’s catching depth is absurd.

To read the rest of this article, please head on over to the main site.

Lead photo courtesy Jon Durr–USA Today Sports.

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