The Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL West, they just took out the NL East Champion Washington Nationals, and they have one of the best starters in baseball in Clayton Kershaw, but they are a little bit overlooked going into the NLCS, with the Chicago Cubs getting most of the attention around the country, and deservedly so.
Dodgers’ skipper Dave Roberts said his team was fine with being overlooked.
“I think that there might be a little bit of that,” Roberts said. “I can kind of relate a little bit playing for the Red Sox in 2004, where it felt like the whole country was supporting us and was hoping for us to break the curse; and, obviously, the country's rallied around the Cubs. So, I don't think it affects us. We had a good feeling going into that last series and so we are here now and we're playing on prime time and our guys are looking forward to it.”
Cubs’ skipper Joe Maddon talked in his pre-NLCS press conference about his team dealing with pressure and expectations in Chicago.
“They're almost synonymous terms, aren't they?” Maddon asked rhetorically.
“They are synonyms I think today, and especially in this game. I think you can't have expectations without the word pressure being attached to, and vice versa.
“For me, my original initial message to the boys was that why would you ever want to be in a situation that doesn't require a little bit of pressure added to it or expectations. I would not want to go into a season having zero expectations and zero pressure applied to you because you're going to finish fourth or fifth in a division.
“I mean, that's a bad way to live. So, I wanted our guys to understand that those words are going to be applied to us on an annual basis and you need to embrace them. That was the embrace the target concept. Part of it. And so it's fuel, man. Why would you not? That's the baseball fossil fuel right there, is expectations and pressure. Why would you not want to be affiliated with that or associated with? I don't get it. I don't get it.”
How will each team deal with the pressure of the NLCS? We’ll find out tonight when the Dodgers and Cubs start the NLCS at 8:00 PM EDT in Wrigley.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game:
|LOS ANGELES DODGERS||CHICAGO CUBS|
|Howie Kendrick - LF||Dexter Fowler - CF|
|Justin Turner - 3B||Kris Bryant - 3B|
|Corey Seager - SS||Anthony Rizzo - 1B|
|Yasiel Puig - RF||Ben Zobrist - LF|
|Adrian Gonzalez - 1B||Addison Russell - SS|
|Carlos Ruiz - C||Jason Heyward - RF|
|Enrique Hernandez - 2B||Javier Baez - 2B|
|Joc Pederson - CF||David Ross - C|
|Kenta Maeda - RHP||Jon Lester - LHP|