NLDS Preview: Cubs-Nationals, Dodgers-Diamondbacks Schedule, Predictions

The National League Division Series matchups feature four teams that all can score runs in bunches.

The defending champion Chicago Cubs open their World Series defense against the NL East champion Washington Nationals. The other series is a NL West matchup, as the division champion Los Angeles Dodgers take on the wild card-winning Arizona Diamondbacks.

Here’s what you need to know for the NLDS matchups.

Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:31 p.m. ET in Washington: Kyle Kendricks (CHI) vs. TBA
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 5:38 p.m. in Washington: Jon Lester (CHI) vs. TBA
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 9 at TBA in Chicago: TBA vs. TBA
Game 4*: Tuesday, Oct. 10 at TBA in Chicago: TBA vs. TBA
Game 5*: Thursday, Oct. 12 at TBA in Washington: TBA vs. TBA
*if necessary 

The Cubs had to fight to win the NL Central, but they finished strong with a 49-25 record after the All-Star break. The Nationals have made four postseason appearances since moving to Washington in 2004, and all of those runs ended in the NLDS. This team just hasn’t been able to win when it matters most in October, and until they do that, it’s hard to pick them to eliminate a superior opponent that also happens to be the defending champ.

Prediction: Cubs win the series 3-1

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Game 1: Friday, Oct. 6 at 10:30 p.m. ET in Los Angeles: TBA vs. Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
Game 2: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. in Los Angeles: TBA vs. Rich Hill (TBD)
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 9 at TBA in Arizona: Yu Darvish (LAD) vs. TBA
Game 4*: Tuesday, Oct. 10 at TBA in Arizona: TBA vs. TBA
Game 5*: Thursday, Oct. 12 at TBA in Los Angeles: TBA vs. TBA
*if necessary 

The Dodgers were a mess after the All-Star break. Since the Midsummer’s Classic, L.A. ranked 11th in the NL in runs scored, 14th in batting average and ninth in on-base percentage. However, the Dodgers’ pitching staff posted a 3.30 ERA during that span, which ranked second in the NL. Los Angeles also has the homefield advantage and more postseason experience than Arizona. We’ll give the Dodgers a slight edge, but these are two pretty even teams.

Prediction: Dodgers win the series 3-2

Click for our Red Sox-Astros, Yankees-Indians ALDS preview >>

Thumbnail photo via Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports Images

TMZ logo

© 2018 NESN

Partner of USATODAY Sports Digital Properties