Chicago- The Dodgers won the all important game one of the Division Series on Wednesday night, upsetting the Chicago Cubs by a score of 7-2. The Dodgers, heavy underdogs to win the series with the NL's best team, was spearheaded by another stellar start by veteran Derek Lowe, who even helped by walking....TWICE. James Loney hit a grand slam in the 5th inning, and it was all Dodgers from there. Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin also hit solo homeruns as the Dodgers cruised to their 2nd post season victory in twenty years (Yikes)!
If the Cubs play this evening was any indication of how the series is going to go, the Dodgers will be in the NLCS before Sunday. Ryan Dempster was just plain erratic, and threw over 50 pitches in the first 2 1/3 innings, and aside from the 2nd inning two-run homer by Mark Derosa, the Cubs offense was largely impotent against Lowe, who held them to seven hits in six innings, striking out six. The Dodger bullpen lived up to its lights out reputation as well and allowed only two hits in three innings and allowed no runs.
It's still early in the series, but these Dodgers seem to be playing with a chip on their shoulder. Rejuvinated by Ramirez and skipper Joe Torre, who are obviously no stranger to these situations. In fact, one might think that Manny and Torre would under even less pressure here, seeing as this National League division series is nothing compared to what they've gone through in New York and Boston.
The point is that the almighty Cubs don't seem so almighty after tonights loss. No one wants to play dark horses in the playoffs, and the Dodgers certainly are that, seeing as they, at least on paper, don't deserve to be in the playoffs. The next game will be interesting to watch. The younger Chad Billingsley versus the long time Veteran Carlos Zambrano. Both have reputations of being wild at times, although Zambrano takes the "can't control his emotions" award. Even though he threw a no-hitter this year, his starts since then have been horrendous. Zambrano has allowed 13 earned runs in 6.2 innings since his no hitter, and his immaturity and inconsistency have given Cubs management much to worry about with him going in the crucial game two. Billingsley on the other hand has been the most consistent starter for the Dodgers since the break, and he ranked high in the league in strikeouts and ERA.
Goats and Curses aside, the Cubs could just blow the best chance they've had to win a world series in a long time. They could potentially be knocked out by the least likely team in the NL playoffs if they're not careful tomorrow night. Look out Cubs, the Dodgers are coming out swinging.
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