The Dodgers are in the midst of a three-team race for the 2018 NL West division title. Let’s be honest though, the Dodgers are the best team in the West and come October they should have won the division by at least four to five games.
When the Dodgers capture their sixth straight NL West division title this fall, the Dodgers will once again be primed to represent the National League in the World Series once again. The problem for the Dodgers is that an old nemesis lies in the way in the form of the Chicago Cubs.
The Dodgers and Cubs have alternated ending each other’s season the past two years and unless there is a shocking October upset, the two clubs should meet for the third time in the past three years, most likely in the NLCS. The Cubs added a playoff-seasoned veteran and old Dodger foe to their rotation this week in Cole Hamels.
Cole Hamels was part of the Phillies teams that gave Dodger fans nightmares in the mid to late 2000’s. The addition of Hamels means that the Cubs would potentially throw three southpaw starters at the Dodgers if they once again face off in the playoffs. Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, and Jose Quintana will be three of the four potential playoff starters that the Cubs will use.
The Dodgers were known as a club that could not hit left-handed pitching a few seasons ago but that has changed. The addition of Manny Machado gives the Dodgers another added weapon against left-handed starting pitching and Machado will help the Dodgers try to knock out the Cubs once again later on this year.
Breakout star Max Muncy is another interesting hitter who matches up well with the Cubs’ new look rotation. Despite being a left-handed hitter, Muncy’s OPS is higher against lefties as it sits at 1.004 compared to a .955 OPS against righties. Muncy also has six home runs against lefties with counts for exactly a third of his home runs this season but he has also faced a lefty in a third of his plate appearances.
More from LA Dodgers News
- Kevin Kiermaier being ‘top target’ to replace Cody Bellinger is bad sign for Dodgers
- Giants laughably sign pitcher that Dodgers absolutely own
- Dave Roberts’ quote about Padres in NLDS should motivate Dodgers
- Former Astro seemingly takes uncalled for shot at Cody Bellinger after Cubs deal
- Dodgers’ 2023 lineup without Trea Turner isn’t as impressive as it should be
Besides Muncy and Machado, the Dodgers also have Kiké Hernandez who mashes lefties. The Cubs need no introduction to Kiké after his three home run game against the Cubs in game five of the NLCS last season. Kiké for his career has a .494 slugging percentage against lefties which is over 100 points higher than his slugging percentage to righties. Kiké Hernandez should once again play a big role in another potential Cubs-Dodgers playoff matchup.
The Dodgers still have two other hitters you might have heard about before in Justin Turner and Matt Kemp. Kemp is having a resurgent season and has always fared well against southpaw pitchers. Turner is recovering from his wrist and leg ailments, but like Kemp, JT will do plenty of damage against lefties.
The two holes the Dodgers will have in their lineup against the Cubs’ new look rotation are at catcher and potentially right field. Yasmani Grandal is a far better hitter left-handed and while Austin Barnes has a record of success against lefties, he is having a hard time hitting this season. Yasiel Puig is the other hole against lefties as he has hit just .235 against lefties over his past three seasons.
The Dodgers could choose to sit Puig against lefties once everyone is healthy but that is a move that certainly wouldn’t be popular. Even with those two weak spots in the lineup against left-handed starting pitchers, the majority of the Dodgers lineup hits better against southpaw pitchers. Come October the Dodgers will be armed and ready if they face the Cubs new three-headed monster of left-handed starters.