The Reds look like they are going to lock up the other wild card and will probably have to win the play-in game with Pittsburgh to advance to the divisional series.
Cincinnati is 4-3 against L.A. this year, with the Reds pulling off a three-game sweep of the Dodgers earlier this month. All of those games got to the bullpens and were decided late, which could take the starting pitchers out of the equation.
The biggest weapon the Reds have is Billy Hamilton, especially in late-inning situations. As we saw in the Sept. 7 game when Hamilton was pinch-running in the bottom of the 10th, his speed can help him score on a single from second, even with an arm like Yasiel Puig's in right field.
Hamilton showed off his speed then and has continued to do so, racking up nine stolen bases in eight games. That includes four steals in one game against the Astros, in which he twice stole on pitch-outs. Simply put, Hamilton's speed is a game-changer.
The Reds also have Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce in the middle of their lineup. The trio has combined for 71 home runs and 274 RBI. Throw in Shin-Soo Choo's 21 home runs at the top of the lineup, and you have a lot of power.
Pitching-wise, the Reds would likely send Mat Latos (14-6, 3.14 ERA) in Game 1 to face Kershaw, while the rest of the rotation would be up in the air. Homer Bailey (11-10, 3.40 ERA), Bronson Arroyo (13-11, 3.56 ERA) and Mike Leake (14-6, 3.21 ERA) have been equal for most of the year. So, Dusty Baker's decision there could come in based on matchups.
Any way you look at it, this series would be an exciting one that would catch a lot of people's attention. In the end, I have to go with the better starting staff to get the job done.
Prediction: Dodgers in five