NLCS Bracket 2020: TV Schedule, Early Odds and Predictions

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 9, 2020

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers against the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning in Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

The National League Championship Series is set as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves will battle to determine the NL's representative in the World Series.

Both teams are 5-0 thus far in postseason play. The Dodgers swept the Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 in the NL Wild Card Series before taking down their NL West rival San Diego Padres in three straight games in the NL Division Series.

The Braves didn't allow the Cincinnati Reds to score a run in the Wild Card Series before taking down their NL East foe in the Miami Marlins in three NL Division Series games.

Atlanta and L.A. will square off at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas for their best-of-seven series, which begins on Monday.

Here's a look at the information we know about the series as of 2 a.m. ET Friday. You can also find some predictions below.

Exact times and television homes were not yet known as of that time. Odds will be located on DraftKings Sportsbook when they are available.

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TV Schedule           

Monday, Oct. 12

NLCS Game 1, Arlington, Fox or FS1

              

Tuesday, Oct. 13

NLCS Game 2, Arlington, Fox or FS1

       

Wednesday, Oct. 14

NLCS Game 3, Fox or FS1

               

Thursday, Oct. 15

NLCS Game 4, Arlington, Fox or FS1

              

Friday, Oct. 16

NLCS Game 5, Arlington, Fox or FS1 (if necessary)

               

Saturday, Oct. 17

NLCS Game 6, Arlington, Fox or FS1 (if necessary)

                 

Sunday, Oct. 18

NLCS Game 7, Arlington, Fox or FS1 (if necessary)

     

Predictions

Don't expect much scoring if earlier postseason results are any indication.

Both pitching staffs have been lights out. The Dodgers have allowed just 2.2 runs per game, while the Braves have shut out their opponents in four of five contests. The lone exception was in a 9-5 win against the Marlins in Game 1 of the NLDS.

The Dodgers can throw out two bona fide aces in Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, the latter tossing eight shutout innings of three-hit ball while striking out 13 in Game 2 against the Brewers.

A reputation as a poor playoff performer has followed Kershaw for much of his Dodger tenure, but he's shut that noise down this year with one amazing performance and a six-inning, three-run quality start against the tough Padres offense.

As it stands, the Braves have encountered a lot of trouble against Kershaw. Atlanta's top three hitters in Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna have combined to go just 9-for-43 against him lifetime with just two home runs and 18 strikeouts.

Kershaw will start against Atlanta twice at most, and L.A. should be strong favorites in both games.

L.A. also has a weapon in left-handed pitcher Julio Urias, who has arguably been the Dodgers' best asset this entire postseason. Dodger Insider provided some noteworthy stats:

Urias was phenomenal on Thursday, getting the Dodgers out of a second-inning jam out of the bullpen and pitching into the seventh inning without allowing an earned run in a 12-3 victory. He'll be called upon to eat innings whenever needed.

As for the Braves, their pitching staff has been nothing short of phenomenal. Outside of a shaky Max Fried start in which he allowed four earned runs to the Miami Marlins, the Braves have given up just one run period against their playoff foes.

Plus, Fried is the team's ace. The Dodgers could get to him as Miami did, but the left-hander was dominant with a 7-0 record, 2.25 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 56 innings this year. The bet here is he bounces back in the NLCS.

Fried, strikeout artist Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright, who just shut down Miami en route to a 7-0 Game 3 win, form the core of a starting rotation that has passed all tests thus far.

Both teams' pitching staffs are stellar, and they could get the better of star-studded lineups.

The Dodgers feature a pair of MVPs in Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger. The Braves have the likely 2020 MVP in Freeman and Acuna, who should add MVP hardware to his mantle before his career ends. It won't be easy for pitchers to navigate past those players, but right now, Dodger and Brave arms have held a strong upper hand.

In the end, the difference may come down to the depth of each team's lineup to pull through in the late innings against bullpens. If that's the case, then the Dodgers win out.

Shortstop Corey Seager hit .307 with 15 home runs this year. Third baseman Justin Turner just set a franchise record for most career playoff hits. Max Muncy hit just .192 but launched 12 homers this year. Catcher Will Smith just had a playoff franchise record five hits in a single game when his team beat the Padres 12-3 on Thursday. AJ Pollock tied Betts for the team lead with 16 home runs, and 10 players hit five or more bombs in the team's 60-game season.

The Braves sport depth, too. Of note, catcher Travis d'Arnaud hit .321, and Adam Duvall was second on the team with 16 home runs. Shortstop Dansby Swanson also provides some great pop for a middle infielder with 10 homers this year.

Ultimately, the Dodgers get the edge here. They finished first in runs, first in homers and first in slugging. On the mound, they took first in team ERA, helping the team earn a league-best 43-17 mark.

Look for L.A. to win, but Atlanta won't make it easy.

Pick: Dodgers in seven