The Cleveland Indians are just one win away from the World Series after a dramatic victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 3 of the ALCS Monday night, while the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers are deadlocked in a tightly contested NLCS.

Cleveland’s advantage is far from insurmountable, especially after it was forced to lean heavily on its bullpen in Game 3, while Chicago still seemingly has the upper hand in the NLCS despite panic potentially starting to set in among fans due to Clayton Kershaw‘s sparkling performance for L.A. in Game 2.

As both series trend toward producing the two teams that will battle it out in the World Series, here is a look at the remaining league championship series schedule, the results thus far and predictions for how the series will play out.


LCS Schedule


ALCS Results and Predictions

The Tribe entered the ALCS down a pair of ace pitchers in Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, and things seemingly got even worse on the pitching front when Trevor Bauer severely cut his finger while repairing a drone ahead of his scheduled Game 2 start.

Josh Tomlin was moved up in the rotation, and Bauer was slated for Game 3, but the 25-year-old was forced to exit in the first inning Monday when the bleeding from his finger was too heavy to control.

That prompted manager Terry Francona to use seven pitchers, including Cody Allen and Andrew Miller sharing the final three innings in a 4-2 victory spurred by timely home runs from Mike Napoli and the previously slumping Jason Kipnis.

After sweeping through the ALDS and taking a 3-0 ALCS lead, the Indians are in some elite company over the course of MLB playoff history, according to ESPN:

Many have contributed to Cleveland’s remarkable run, but it is difficult to argue against the notion that Miller has been the team’s MVP.

Miller has allowed just four hits and two walks in nine postseason innings thus far to go along with a ridiculous 20 strikeouts.

Per SportsCenter, no pitcher in MLB history has racked up that many strikeouts in his first nine innings of a single postseason:

Miller has been so dominant, in fact, that Dodgers pitcher Brandon McCarthy questioned why Blue Jays hitters are even making an effort when they step to the plate against him:

For as great as Miller has been whenever called upon, it is unclear how much he’ll be able to give the Indians Tuesday in Game 4 if needed.

Cleveland will start Corey Kluber in Game 4 on just three days of rest after he went 6.1 innings on Friday, allowing six hits, two walks and no runs in a Game 1 victory over Toronto.

It is unclear how much length Kluber will be able to give the Indians in Game 4, but legendary pitcher and TBS analyst Pedro Martinez believes he is in ideal position to potentially shut the door on the series:

The Blue Jays are capable of going on a big-time hot streak when their top hitters are in rhythm, and although that hasn’t happened yet in the ALCS, one big performance and one win could go a long way toward mounting a comeback.

Kluber is the only constant and certainty in the Indians rotation, though, and there is no better option to put on the mound in a potential series-clincher.

Because of that, look for Kluber to come through with another big outing to complete the sweep and send Cleveland to its first World Series since 1997.


NLCS Results and Predictions

Kershaw has long been criticized for a lack of dominance in the playoffs in comparison to his regular-season production, but he came through in a big way when needed in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs.

With the Dodgers trailing 1-0 in the series, Kershaw gave them seven innings of two-hit, shutout ball in a 1-0 victory to even the series at 1-1.

The most remarkable aspect of his performance was that he racked up so many innings in the NLDS against the Washington Nationals as well, as pointed out by Jon Morosi of MLB Network:

Although Kershaw seems superhuman at times, he can’t pitch in every game for the Dodgers, and that means the Cubbies have the advantage any time he doesn’t.

Chicago has a strong staff with four starters who can toss a gem on any given day, and Jake Arrieta is chief among them.

Arrieta will pitch for the Cubs in Game 3 against the struggling Rich Hill, and he has given the Dodgers fits over the past couple of seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

Los Angeles has yet to finalize its NLCS rotation, but the Cubs will counter with veteran John Lackey in Game 4 and Game 1 starter Jon Lester once again in Game 5.

One can only assume Kershaw will get the ball in Game 5 if the Dodgers go down 3-1 in the series, but even if he manages to shut the Cubs down once again, that would leave L.A. at a major disadvantage in potential Game 6 and Game 7 clashes.

In addition to having the better all-around rotation, the Cubs also boast a better lineup from top to bottom, and they’ll be especially dangerous if Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell can shake off slumps and join Kris Bryant and Javier Baez in tearing the cover off the ball.

It was no accident that Chicago was far and away Major League Baseball’s best team during the regular season, and it will prove that in the NLCS by advancing to the World Series in six games.


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