The St. Louis Cardinals would love to be playing in the NLDS but alas…
The St. Louis Cardinals will be nowhere near the NLDS but in their stead some outstanding and out-performing National League teams will suit up for the push to the World Series.
The Dodgers with a 2017 record of 103-58 and first place of the NL-West will play host to the Diamondbacks when they advance past the Wild Card. The Dodgers hold home field advantage throughout the playoffs and will kick things off in Los Angeles.
In head-to-head contests, the Diamondbacks have taken more victories at 11 with the Dodgers taking only eight. And yet, the Dodgers defeated other teams at a rate that afforded them the best record in the NL and home field advantage.
The Dodgers are likely to send Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and AARP-member Rich Hill to the mound, while Arizona is likely to send Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, and Dan Harren to the mound to face the Dodgers. Just kidding. Just checking to see if you are still reading.
Joking aside (but imagine if that were the case and if those All-Star arms faced this year’s Dodgers team), the Diamondbacks are likely to send Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray, and Greinke (likely on short rest). Will the likes of Justin Taylor, Joc Pederson, and Yasmani Grandal spell the end of the Diamondbacks in 2017?
That is certainly my prediction.
In other NLDS competition, the Washington Nationals will play host to the World Series defending champs Chicago Cubs (boo! hiss!). In 2017, the Nationals finished with a record of 97-64 which was good enough to finish in first place in the NL-East. The Cubs finished 2017 with a record of 92-69 which was good enough for first place in the NL-Central.
Clearly, the St. Louis Cardinals of 2017 just couldn’t hold a candle to the powerhouses in the National League as is evidenced by the records above.
I look for the Nationals to send Max Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, and Stephen Strasburg to the mound to compete against Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, and Willson Contreras. On the other side, the Cubs should send Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, and Jake Arrieta to face Bryce Harper and company. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs use Kyle Hendricks as long relief should any of the three names listed run into problems.
I think the Cubs will run into problems with the Nationals. I just think the Nationals have a stronger pitching rotation and a stronger set of batters that the Cubs. Putting that aside, I’d much prefer that Joe Maddon and crew go home from the first round (something the Cardinals experienced).
Regardless of my personal feelings, this competition should be fun to watch since the Nationals defeated the Cubs four times to the Cubs winning three contests facing the team from Washington.