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Dodgers Still Heavy Underdogs To Win NLCS

Turner and Puig

The Dodgers are looking to win their first National League pennant since 1988. They’ll return to Dodger Stadium tonight to play game 3 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs at 5PM PST. The series is tied at 1-1 after their 1-0 win in game 2 at Wrigley Field on Sunday evening. That was the Dodger’s first NLCS road win since game 5 of the 1988 NLCS. The Dodgers are still heavy underdogs to the favorite Cubs. Can The Dodgers win the pennant with just Clayton Kershaw and a bullpen?

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Clayton Kershaw was dominant in the Dodger’s game 2 win tossing seven shutout innings allowing just two hits and striking out 6. Kenley Jansen recorded a six-out save to preserve the win in front of a packed house at Wrigley Field. Adrian Gonzalez’s second inning solo home run provided the Dodgers all the offense they would need. Left hander Rich Hill will get the start tonight for the Dodgers as the Cubs will counter with right hander Jake Arrieta.

Just like in 1988 the odds are stacked against them. According to our friends over at the Dodgers have just a 37.25% chance to win the series at all. The Cubs have a 62.75% chance of winning the series. You can check out the rest of the odds below. I wonder if these odds take into account that the Cubs are a cursed baseball team. Where are the odds that the billy goat will surface?

National League Championship Series

Los Angeles Dodgers against Chicago Cubs: Series tied, 1-1.

Scenario Odds
Los Angeles Dodgers win in 5 9.14%
Los Angeles Dodgers win in 6 13.66%
Los Angeles Dodgers win in 7 14.45%
Los Angeles Dodgers win series 37.25%
Chicago Cubs win in 5 16.08%
Chicago Cubs win in 6 24.2%
Chicago Cubs win in 7 22.47%
Chicago Cubs win series 62.75%

Hopefully the Dodgers can defy these odds because this 28-year World Series drought is nasty and needs to be broken. (We don’t care about the Cubs 108-year drought)

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

49 thoughts on “Dodgers Still Heavy Underdogs To Win NLCS


    22% according to Silver’s team.

    They’ve already beat some of the odds. Most didn’t have them getting by the Nats. I find the game today 50% rather peculiar. Hill against Arrietta? Maybe the nerds know something about bears in October- early hibernation? Whatever. Hopefully their bats stay asleep.

    Well, my April Jays pick looks to be in danger. But, I don’t recall anyone here picking Cleveland. Come to think of it, I don’t recall anyone here picking anybody – except the Dodgers of course.

    1. Gee, I thought was all knowing and got every prediction right! Most of them were wrong on NLDS Dodgers/Nats? I think I’d stop putting my money on their picks and quoting them as an authority to impress people…

      1. You think that’s why I do it? To impress people? I’m surprised by that Wonder. I thought you knew me better than that.

        538 was started by the guy who invented PECOTA. It’s here for all the FAZophiles to ponder, and then scratch their heads when they realize “deadly accurate” is not only not likely, it’s not possible. ALL projection systems are subject to considerable uncertainty.

        1. I recommend the book “The Signal and the Noise” if you like that sort of stuff. I like the blog for two specific reasons: their graphs, their articles have links to more research oriented sites.

        2. I’m sorry, I was just thinking while I was eating breakfast that the way I posted that might seem confrontational to you, and I did not mean that at all. I have, I guess you would say, an antipathy towards people or groups who set themselves up at experts in a field and try to use their knowledge and expertise, real or assumed, to influence people or profit from them. Don Quixote thought he had a mountain to climb!!!

          1. No sweat Wonder. Knowing you I figured there must be a logical ‘splanation.

            Pecota- .249 career average as I recall artie. Wish I could say that about my ML career.

  2. Biggest start of Hill’s career. I think the Dodgers will need two wins from Hill and two from Kershaw to prevail. I don’t trust Maeda at this point and Urias is still only a rookie; neither pitch deep into games. If Cubs lose, I would expect Lester to start Game 4. That’s why Maddon pulled him early Saturday night IMO. If Dodgers lose I think Kershaw is likely to pitch Game 5 as he only threw 87 pitches Sunday.

    The odds–don’t matter at this point unless you’re a bookmaker.

    1. Personally, I think Maeda and Urias have as much chance to win as Hill. And I don’t want Kershaw pitching Thursday no matter what the situation is. The rest of his career is more important than any one game, even this one. If we are supposed to win, then we will win, no matter who pitches. Even Anderson, believe it or not!

      1. Wondering

        I saw that you noticed that having Barnes on this roster, was more important, then having I would rather see Chooch up to bat, in key situations.

        And Chooch would be getting more chances to bat, if Barnes is on the roster.

        I like Chooch in those important situations, because he has made a big difference when he was given a chance, and because he is a very patient hitter, when he is up to bat.

        And our team needs more hitters like Chooch in the line up.

        1. Sorry for that first paragraph, I had trouble correcting myself, with those lines, and the other site, coming on our site.

    2. Snider

      If I was the Dodgers, I would love another chance at Lester, especially in Dodger stadium!

      I know he wasn’t pitching his best, but the Dodgers hit a lot of hard balls against Lester, that were not falling because they were hit right to the defense in some cases, and some were caught with very good defensive plays.

      And at least they would have more confidence, hitting against Lester, this time around.

    1. My choices:

      1. Roster expansion to 27 or 28
      2. Pitch clock
      3. Limit # of times you can throw to 1B
      4. In an intentional walk – 5 seconds between pitches.
      5. Electronic balls and strikes (sorry Yasmani, your stock will go down)
      6. Two DH’s (like a LH and RH), each who does not start a game (the DH position is eliminated), but who can each hit 2 or 3 times in a game without taking the person they are hitting for out of the game (yes, it will make scoring in your scorebook harder).
      7. 154 Game Season
      8. Best of 3 in Wild Card
      9. Everything else is best of 7.

      1. Wow. Agreement on everything. I think I would be ok with just sending the intentional walk to first base. Saves a minute of our valuable time. But, I also know it’s possible something ridiculous can happen on those 4 pitches.

      2. Excuse me for chiming in out of nowhere but I simply had to respond to these suggestions:

        1. Roster expansion to 27 or 28.
        Sure, why not?
        2. Pitch clock.
        Sure, but within reason. I wouldn’t want to see this implemented in a way that gives hitters the advantage.
        3. Limit # of times you can throw to 1B
        Never ever. Why give the runner an unnecessary advantage?
        4. In an intentional walk – 5 seconds between pitches.
        I’m fine with this.
        5. Electronic balls and strikes (sorry Yasmani, your stock will go down)
        An idea whose time has definitely come. This one needs to be done yesterday. Bring on the robo-umps!
        6. Two DH’s (like a LH and RH), each who does not start a game (the DH position is eliminated), but who can each hit 2 or 3 times in a game without taking the person they are hitting for out of the game (yes, it will make scoring in your scorebook harder).
        How about this alternative: NO DH’s, in either league, never ever ever. Make those AL wimp pitchers pick up a bat again. I can’t stand the DH.
        7. 154 Game Season
        No reason to do this. The season is supposed to be a long, difficult grind. These guys make enough money, let them earn it.
        8. Best of 3 in Wild Card
        How about getting RID of the Wild Card completely? I hate it. What is this, the NHL, where almost every team makes the playoffs? Baseball is supposed to be a ballbuster – 162 games and then you go home if you lose. Soooorrrry, have a nice winter.
        9. Everything else is best of 7.
        No strong feeling here but I’m satisfied with the way it is not (except for that infernal wild card).
        10. Bring back double-headers on the weekends. Mandatory. Also would shorten the season. Make these guys earn their money for a change. If it was good enough for Ernie Banks, it’s good enough for modern baseball.
        11. And while we’re at it, why not take some of those MLB profits and invest them into little league baseball all over the country as well as a BIG marketing push to make baseball more popular again? This is a huge failure on the part of MLB in my opinion.

        By the way, I love your posts. Always thought-provoking.

        1. Without trying to get anyone upset, does complete offensive and defensive lineups sound unreasonable? Think of all our sports and histories of same. Over the years rules have changed to make the sports completely different from original conception. If Dr. Naismith saw an NBA “basketball” game, he wouldn’t know what it was! I used to watch NBA but it sickens me now.

        2. Thanks for chiming in. You make and excellent point on #3

          I kind of like #10….I don’t know that fans would sit through two in a row, but you can sell tickets separately as completely separate games….maybe even a morning game and and evening game.

          I don’t like a wildcard setup where the Giants this year have a chance to go to the World Series. They squandered multiple chances during the second half..they don’t get another. And the idea than an entire 162 game season is decided by one game seems kind of silly. Just skip it and go to the old wildcard format.

          I like #11. Reinvest money into lower income communities, too. Make it a truly integrated game again.

      3. I don’t understand why a lot of people think we can’t win this series, with mostly Kershaw and Kenley pitching?

        Didn’t the Giants win a World Series, with mostly Bungarner pitching?

        And I am not advocating to have Kershaw pitching in every game, or Kenley.

        But with Kershaw and Kenley pitching a lot in this series, it is still possible that we could win this series.

        It has happened before with the Giants, and the Indians are using there bullpen a lot in there series too.

        The Indians lost there number two and three starter, just right before the end of September.

        And that is why the Indian’s manager started using Andrew Miller a lot in there series.

        I do think Urias will give us a good game.

        He pitched very well, against the Nats, and he should be sharper in his next start.

        Once again, this is Hill’s biggest start of the year tonight, and hopefully, he will be sharper this time, and have an answer if the Cubs try to run on him, to take advantage of Hill throwing so many curves.

        Hill has almost always seemed to start out well, but he has been a different pitcher, when runners are on base.

        He needs to be mentally strong, and not let the Cubs, get him off his game tonight!

        There is nothing new with this team, with not getting enough innings thrown from there starters.

        Our bullpen has carried this team, most of the time.

        And I kind of think like Wondering, if we are fated to win it all, most of the things are team does, will work out fine.

        And so far, so good!

      4. I’d say there’d have to be a limit to a leadoff if throwing to 1B was limited. And if it’s intentional, just award 1B. Two more expansion teams and then the wild card can simply be eliminated. Remove batting gloves if batters continue tightening them as an excuse as they’d also use that against pitch clock, though I’m certain there would be all kinds of ways discovered to divert a pitcher from a timely throw. But all in all I’m usually not bored with the game how it is.

        1. Do you remember Nomar’s batting routine? I longed for the good old days when some annoyed pitcher would give him some chin music. ( chin music, I like that. I think I’ll change my sign in name…)

      5. Nope…nope …nope

        Didn’t we just see why not having a DH in the NL made the managerial decisions much more interesting?

        Electronic balls and strikes is overkill. I think it would slow the game down, actually. If the ump, who’s now just paid to stand there and listen to instructions, has to wait for the call over his ear buds and THEN announce a ball and a strike, it’s an extra second where’s there’s no action. I don’t really mind a borderline call going either way every once in a while, just get rid of the bad umps. With Pitch FX data, we have the ability to determine with absolute certainty the plate umps who suck and who are excellent. Just get rid of the ones who suck and keep promoting the ones who are excellent.

        Baseball is like the Constitution. It’s pretty good when people don’t try to constantly change it around and mess with it. If you moved the pitcher’s rubber 6 inches closer to home plate, you’ve just completely changed the game. ..same with the distance between bases.

        That’s my opinion, and anyone who disagrees is a felony stupid moron and I could give a rat’s ass what you think.

        1. You tell ’em patch.

          Dump all those annoying amendments. This country was built on slavery so bring it back and Make America Great Again. And what in the world were we thinking to give blacks AND THEN WOMEN the right to vote. That ef’d everything up.

          The Constitution, written by our slave owning founding fathers was perfect as written.

          1. Prohibition came to mind, it showed up alone, no access to details in the memory banks. Had to google it.

            It’s long title – An Act to prohibit intoxicating beverages, and to regulate the manufacture, production, use, and sale of high-proof spirits for other than beverage purposes, and to ensure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye, and other lawful industries.

            In favor of it? Regulating production is probably a good idea, but would not doubt piss off producers. National Prohibition Act? Bad branding. Prohibiting anything makes it more interesting to the masses. The idea of prohibiting addictions is conceptually flawed. A short title it carried was The War Prohibition Act. Better branding. Even I can get behind that one…….

            what was the question?

      6. 1. Roster expansion to 27 or 28
        2. Pitch clock
        Baez makes this a mandatory rule
        3. Limit # of times you can throw to 1B
        I am against that
        4. In an intentional walk – 5 seconds between pitches.
        Just point to first, don’t make pitches, not an entertaining part of the game.
        5. Electronic balls and strikes (sorry Yasmani, your stock will go down)
        Yes, Yes, Yes !!!!!
        6. Two DH’s (like a LH and RH), each who does not start a game (the DH position is eliminated), but who can each hit 2 or 3 times in a game without taking the person they are hitting for out of the game (yes, it will make scoring in your scorebook harder).
        Just give me a DH so I don’t have to see what I can’t un-see.
        7. 154 Game Season
        8. Best of 3 in Wild Card
        I am happy with a one game playoff there. Keep 3 Divisions have to keep wildcard.
        9. Everything else is best of 7.
        I would go the other way and make everything else best of 5. Season is too long.

        1. 154 game season good–get the WS done by Halloween. 16 division games, 9 vs other divisions, no interleague. Get rid of the second wild card, it’s just stupid. No to the DH.

  3. With Jansen’s post season success thus far in the playoffs, do any of you venture a guess what his new contract will cost???

    1. Before the season I predicted a $100 mil deal for him. Then he blow 6 saves and I though it might be $60. If he keeps this up, someone might pay him the $100.

      And for the record, I predicted 92 to 95 wins… not 95 wins.

  4. On yesterday’s post: Nothing wrong with having 2 capable catchers. Maybe not the best ever, but certainly adequate. Offensive production is a plus, and with Grandal, the production was there. Long term is questionable, though. If Kyle Farmer has a good spring, he could slip into #2. I think Ruiz won’t be back. A catcher’s main job is to handle pitchers, and it seems that Grandal can handle all the pitching switches going on as well as most. He said recently that the just lets Kershaw do what he wants. Smart. There are more weaknesses on this team than Grandal, and I think he will be around for awhile. Can the team use Jansen like this an entire season? I doubt it. If they plan to, give him the bank and keep him. I heard his slider is Rivera-like. I don’t believe it. I think our team believes it can beat the Cubs, and the Cubs believe it too. No offense to Mark, but I don’t want a midwest World Series.

    1. I have often thought a team would be better served with two catchers splitting duty instead of one who gets used too much and another who plays once a week.

      1. Grandal, first string catcher, caught 109 games. That’s not a lot for a switch hitting catcher. Of the list of top catchers in baseball, I believe only McCann played less – and maybe Sanchez had something to do with that.

        For a catcher in his prime, with 5 years in the bigs, he hasn’t caught that many games – 365.

      2. Wondering

        That might work, and it might not work.

        Most hitters need consistent at bats, to make the day to day adjustments to stay up with the pitchers.

        Sometimes I think when they have two players, that are sharing or platooning, a position, you never really get the best out of each player.

        Because they are not getting enough playing time, and Major League Baseball, is hard enough as it is, for players, that do play everyday.

        But since they do have to rest catchers at least once a week, I don’t really see that being a problem.

        As long as they have two catchers with much the same abilities, I don’t see why your idea wouldn’t be a benefit, especially with the where and tear, that catchers have, playing in that position.

  5. Although I think I heard MLB tried it before, I would again offer to provide wood bats to college level baseball or earlier…
    Bunting, an almost extinct practice could return in all it’s glory…Now let me see you shift all the time. I remember players like Brett and Carew, if they saw that 3B playing too deep, they would lay down soft as Mother’s love…

    1. Metal bats coefficient of restitution can be manipulated. You can make a metal bat that is less responsive. It’s as soft as lead but as light as balsa. The metal called Markonium and its mined in Indiana.

      Ok, I’m gonna hear about that one.

      I think sending some money downhill is a great idea. There’s a lot of things MLB could do to help keep kids playing baseball. Tell me more.

      And you can make metal bats that react like wood. Are you familiar with minus numbers on metal bats? It’s a regulation of length and weight. You can also have restricted flight balls if they help make the game easier on kids. Metal bats can last a long time. My Bombat lasted 20 years. Heck, I gave it away after 20 years, it might still be in bat bag somewhere.

      1. Metal bats should be the thing if for no other reason than safety. The poor quality wooden bats they’re using these days explode several times more often than when I was a kid.

      1. Wondering

        I think I wrote that after the second inning, when he became obsessed with Rizzo at first.

        And Hill was lucky that no runs scored in that inning, and the runs that would have scored, would have been from walks.

        When our pitchers walk somebody, it always seems like they score.

        But Hill did settle down later, after Corey hit in the first run.

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