RECORDS: Dodgers 4-3 Cubs 4-2
GAMETIMES: 7:05 Monday, 7:05 Wednesday, 1:20 Thursday
TV: ESPN Monday, ABC7 Wednesday, CSN Thursday
TAKIN’ A LOOK AROUND TO SEE WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOW: True Blue LA
“We’re destined to do this forever.”
You get that feeling between the Cubs and Dodgers, who at least look quite poised to redo their NLCS matchup again in October. There’s a lot of hurdles and puddles and obstacles between now and then of course, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone to tell you these aren’t the two best teams in the National League. Again.
The Dodgers reinforced from last year’s fall at the second-to-last hurdle by trading for Logan Forsythe, who will certainly be an improvement on rotting corpse Chase Utley at second. Though you wonder if the Dodgers didn’t trade for the beginning of his decline, as he’s freshly in his 30s. Forsythe’s big year was in 2015, and last year saw an uptick in his strikeouts which hurt his on-base skills. Still, he had a touch of back luck as his line-drive rate and hard-contact rate all jumped last year.
Elsewhere around the diamond Andrew Toles will take over in left, they seem to finally be leaving Joc Pederson alone to do his mini-Adam Dunn thing with a great glove in center. They’re hopeful to finally get a rebound year from Yasiel Puig, and after one week that’s looking good. But it’s one week, and you can’t be too sure that his teammates won’t start hating him again.
The rotation… well, it’s still Kershaw and everyone else, just as it’s been. And there’s no real sure thing behind him. McCarthy and Ryu are always ready to have something go “TWANG!”, and Rich Hill already did. One of the things I’m looking forward to most is the revelation of Hill as a total fraud after he got paid, and he’s already on the DL with blister problems. Maeda is a very solid two though, and if anything goes terribly wrong there’s always Julio Urias marinating in Triple-A. They have options, even if none of them other than Kershaw is a sure thing. And Kershaw coming off back problems isn’t a sure thing either, though when healthy he is most certainly a “sure thing,” if “sure thing” means rubbing your team’s ass in the moonshine.
The Dodgers still have questions in the pen. Sure, I don’t know how anyone ever hits Kenley Jansen, and he’s back for more. But before him? For some reason they brought Sergio Romo and his eminently hittable frisbee of a slider from San Francisco. Grant Drayton, Chris Hatcher, Pedro Baez, Luis Avilan… these are not names that make you quake in your blue suede shoes.
Still, with Cory Seager looking like a genuine MVP candidate, Pederson good for 30 homers, Turner, Grandal, and even a declining Gonzalez, they’re going to hit. And they’ll pitch just enough to outlast a NL West that isn’t quite as good as it was billed to be.
Of course, the focus won’t be totally on baseball, at least not what’s being played on the field fully. The Cubs will raise the banner tonight, and then hand out rings on Wednesday. There’s going to be a fair amount of nostalgia and looking back, and considering how long we waited and how much it means, that’s just fine. Should be a special couple of days at The Corner. Let’s all enjoy it. Don’t know when we’ll get another one (aside from next April).