Cubs, Dodgers Are Similar, Dangerous Once Again

The Cubs and Dodgers could be standing in each other's way in 2019.

Bruce Levine
April 23, 2019 - 9:38 pm
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras

Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

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CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- The Cubs must find a way to win a series against the National League's best team this week. Making their way back over .500 for the first time since opening day was the present goal.

Getting past the Dodgers has been the only road for the Cubs -- or any other National League team -- since 2016 to reach a World Series. Los Angeles has won back-to-back pennants, last accomplished by the Atlanta Braves in 1995 and 1996, and has been to three straight NLCS series. The Dodgers have been to the playoffs six consecutive seasons.

Since 2015, the Dodgers and Cubs have been the gold standard for excellence in the league. Coming into this series on Tuesday evening, the Cubs had won 397 games to the Dodgers' 394 wins. The teams also compare equally in the most important pitching stat. The Dodgers' ERA is 3.50 since April 2015 while the Cubs have the second-lowest ERA at 3.55.

The two organization's philosophies have been similar in pursuing starting pitching. During this dominant era, power arms are most coveted by most organizations. The Cubs and Dodgers seem to look at pitchers who get hitters out with stuff and pinpoint command. They prefer a game plan that is followed by an intelligent pitcher to a flame thrower who is gassed after 4 plus innings.

Related: Watch: Cubs' Javier Baez Jukes His Way To First Base

The top two baseball executives of these clubs seem to have much in common as well. Both the Dodgers' Andrew Friedman and Cubs' Theo Epstein are presidents of baseball operations with a total hands-on approach to their organizations. 

Projecting long-term payrolls and windows of opportunity for playoff-bound teams seems indigenous in the DNA of these two successful bosses.

"They are just really brilliant people," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who has worked for both Friedman and Epstein. "The idea they can dissect situations and reduce them very quickly is incredible. On player movement, they see things in advance and articulate it very well. When I got here, the methods and process to get things done was very familiar to me from Tampa. I feel I have been very lucky to work for both of these guys."

Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish played for the Dodgers the last two months of the 2017 season and pitched in the World Series for Los Angeles.

"I feel the two teams are very similar," Darvish said on Tuesday. "The have great clubhouse people. They both play the game like kids with a lot of fun. They both have energy and passion. Justin Turner and Jansen are leaders in LA. In Chicago, we have maybe eight leaders here. Both ways work great. The organizations are first class."

The Dodgers had the best record in the league coming into this series. The likelihood they will be waiting for the Cubs in October is once again most probable.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine​.