Chicago Cubs (97 ‚Äì 64) vs LA Dodgers (84 ‚Äì 78)
Game 1 Starter ‚Äì Ryan Dempster (17 ‚Äì 6)
Game 2 Starter ‚Äì Carlos Zambrono (13 ‚Äì 6)
Game 3 Starter ‚Äì Rich Harden (10 ‚Äì 2)
Game 4 TBD Starter ‚Äì Ted Lilly (17 ‚Äì 9)
Game 1 Starter ‚Äì Derek Lowe (14 ‚Äì 11)
Game 2 Starter ‚Äì Chad Billingsley (16 ‚Äì 10)
Game 3 Starter ‚Äì Hiroki Kuroda (9- 10)
Hitting ‚Äì Edge Chicago Cubs
Pitching ‚Äì Edge Chicago Cubs
Bullpen ‚Äì Edge LA Dodgers
The Dodgers come into this series heavy underdogs against the Cubs but don‚Äôt overlook the Manny Ramirez factor. Ramirez has changed the who complexion of this team. Mid-season acquisition Casey Blake has helped the Dodgers shore up their lineup but the key to Dodgers success in August and September has been the play of Ramirez and Andre Ethier. The strength of the Dodgers is their bullpen. They are among the league‚Äôs best. The front end of the Dodgers pitching staff is okay. Derek Lowe is a proven winner in the post season but going up against Ryan Dempster in game 1 is going to be a tough task for the Dodgers and Lowe. The key will be Chad Billingsley. Billingsley has the ability to steal game 2. Carlos Zambrono is dealing with some injuries and I like Billingsley and Dodgers to take game 2. The rest of the Dodgers rotation is suspect. They don‚Äôt match up well with the Cubs three and four starters at all. Ted Lilly a 17 game winner is the Cubs 4th starter. That just says enough about how deep the Cubs rotation is.
Player to watch
Matt Kemp ‚Äì Kemp is a dynamic player that has the ability to turn a game around with one swing of the bat but he is inconsistent at times.
Without a doubt the Cubs are the best team in the National league. The only thing that can bring this team down in this series will be the health of their pitching staff. Carlos Zambrono and Rich Harden have been bothered by injuries but the Cubs still have 17 game winner Ted Lilly to move into the #2 or 3 spot. They could survive against the Dodgers but it will hurt their chances to advance to world series if Zambrano and Harden aren‚Äôt 100%. Offensively the Cubs have the one of the most talented lineup‚Äôs in all of baseball. They ranked #1 in runs scored and the Cubs lineup will take advantage of the Dodgers third and fourth starters. The Cubs bullpen is solid but they don‚Äôt compare to the Dodgers
Player to watch
Kosuke Fukudome ‚Äì Fukudome got off to great start this season but has struggled since the All-Star break. Playing on the big stage it will be interesting to see if he can perform at the level he did in April and May
Cursed or not, the Cubs should win this series. The Dodgers will need a great performance from their #3 and #4 starters. I just don‚Äôt see it happening. The Cubs pitching staff is too strong. I expect a competitive series with Ramirez carrying the Dodgers offensively but I like the Cubs in four
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