Will the Dodgers be bringing out the brooms as they complete the sweep of the reigning World Series champion Cubs or will the Cubs begin their uphill battle towards keeping their season alive?
With a 3-0 lead in the series and only one win away from the World Series, the Dodgers are going the conservative route by sending Alex Wood out to the mound for Game 4. Wood has had a solid season posting a 2.72 ERA while winning 16 games and striking out 151. He is more than capable of starting Game 4 of the NLCS and putting up a solid outing. While Game 5 is not announced yet, it is expected that if a Game 5 is needed, then Kershaw would get take the ball.
For the Cubs, with everything on the line, they are sending out Jake Arrieta in Game 4. The biggest issue for the Cubs in the NLCS is their inability to shut down the Dodgers offense late in the game. The Dodgers have scored 9 of their 15 runs during the NLCS in the 6th inning or later. This poses an issue for the Cubs as Jake Arrieta has not pitched 7+ innings since August 2nd and has not completed 6 innings in his final 3 regular season games and only went 4 innings in his only postseason start this season. Arrieta will need to go deep for the Cubs to have a chance.
Alex Wood is going to start this game off shaky with hits and walks early on. He will give up an early run to the Cubs before getting into his groove. Arrieta will also look good through the first 3 innings before the Dodgers offense strikes. He will be removed from the game before the 7th inning and will hand it off to the bullpen who once again will prove to be their biggest weakness as they allow the additional runs needed for the Dodgers to secure the win and sweep. If we are wrong and there is a Game 5 then expect Kershaw to be on point as he cruises through the first 6 innings of this game. The Dodgers will take the win and be the first team to punch their ticket to the World Series in 2017.