The Chicago Cubs have been waiting for nearly a full year to get back to the National League Championship Series.

Last year, that exercise did not go well for Joe Maddon’s team, as they were swept in four games by the Mets and denied the opportunity to go to their first World Series since 1945.

Of course, it has been much longer than that since Chicago’s National League representative won the World Series. The 108-year wait for the Cubs has been tortured for many generations of fans, and they have good reason to believe that this is the year they can get to the World Series with an excellent chance of winning it.

By beating the San Francisco Giants in four games in the National League Division Series, the Cubs preserved their starting pitching rotation. They will be able to start left-handed ace Jon Lester in the opener and follow with Cy Young candidate Kyle Hendricks if Maddon chooses to go in that direction.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will fly into Chicago on a tremendous high themselves. They edged the Washington Nationals 4-3 in Game 5 of their NLDS, and that allowed them to advance to the National League Championship Series.

The Dodgers got gutsy relief performances from Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw, and that allowed Los Angeles to survive and advance.

The Cubs are favorites to represent the National League in the World Series. According to Odds Shark, the Cubs range from prohibitive minus-310 to to minus-160 favorites to win the NLCS. The Dodgers range from plus-450 to plus-530 underdogs to win the National League pennant.

Chicago was a dominating team during the regular season, winning the National League Central Division by 17 ½ games over the St. Louis Cardinals, and they were a remarkable 57-24 at Wrigley Field. That’s another problem for the Nationals, because the seventh game would be played in Chicago if the series goes that long.

The confidence in the Cubs’ well-appointed locker room is peaking. “This is exactly where I envisioned our team being when I was deciding who to sign with,’’ Cubs infielder-outfielder Ben Zobrist told Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. “My ultimate goal here is to win a championship. And that’s what everybody’s is. We’re close to that.’’



The Cubs were the best team in baseball during the regular season by winning 103 games, and then they faced a tough test in the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants.

After losing Game 3 that allowed the Giants to get back in the series, the Cubs trailed in Game 4 until the ninth inning. That’s when they rallied for four runs to take the lead. They secured the victory in the game and the series when Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth.

That showed the mettle the team has, and as Zobrist pointed out, the team is confident and ready to play. The Dodgers are a fine team that might have a good chance of advancing most years. However, this Cubs team is one for the ages.

Chicago wins the series in five games.



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