While Game 6 of the 2016 National League Championship Series ended in a route at Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers played a competitive series that swung on notable moments. The Cubs went on to celebrate their first World Series since 1908, while the Dodgers’ drought tacked on another year.
Both teams entered this season among the favorites to win the World Series. They each skidded out of the gate, and as the Dodgers found their footing, the Cubs continued to stumble. They went into the All-Star break two games under .500 and trailing the Milwaukee Brewers by 5.5 games for first place in the NL Central.
The second half has amounted to a different story, however, as the Cubs enter play Thursday leading the division by 3.5 games.
When asked about the Dodgers’ torrid pace, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he’d been keeping an eye on Los Angeles is ‘very confident’ in his team should there be another matchup in the playoffs.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t take any issue with Maddon’s comments and said he’s hopeful to face the reigning champions, per David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio:
Roberts response to Maddon "Joe should be confident in his ball club. They are the defending champs. I hope we get that opportunity." https://t.co/YwRT9Sr9d6
— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) August 30, 2017
Roberts has voiced similar confidence in the Dodgers, both when comparing them to the Cubs and others in the NL West. In May, he championed the Dodgers as the superior team to Maddon’s Cubs.
The comments came during a three-game series at Dodger Stadium that Los Angeles swept. Then in June, when the Dodgers were still trailing the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies in the NL West standings, albeit by a slim margin, Roberts unequivocally called his team the best in the division.
Los Angeles finished 3-2 in the season series against Chicago. Should the current playoff picture become officially set, the teams won’t possibly meet until the NLCS. That would require the Dodgers to advance past the Wild Card winner, and the Cubs to eliminate the Washington Nationals in the first round.