Dwyer’s Prediction for NLDS Game 1, San Francisco Giants at Chicago Cubs
The opening duel between The Cubs and The Giants should be a low scoring affair, with both the Giants Johnny Cueto and Cubs Jon Lester no strangers to big games in cool weather.
While the Cubs have the stronger rotation, this game is the sole reason the Cubs acquired Lester away from Boston. Post-season pitching is a different animal, and Lester has 2 World Series wins under his belt. Expect his control to be spot on, and that he'll pitch a quick game.
If post season experience is valuable, then Cueto is like the chains he wears--solid gold. He is coming off a World Series win of his own just last year for the Royals (A complete game). Both of these guys have come on strong as of late, and each has had fairly good success against the other teams' hitters (the one exception being Kris Bryant--who hits everybody--is batting over .500 vs. Cueto)
So if both pitchers are holding their own, how does this game favor the Cubs? Watch for the unsung heroics of Joe Madden, who will keep Lester in and let him get himself out of trouble as the order comes around a second time. Lester will take a lead into the 7th, and by then the atmosphere and pressure will get to the Giants. It's what home-field is all about. And Madden's "just another game" attitude has been fully bought and paid for by the Cubs, which will come in handy in this tight game with loose players scoring 1-or-2 more than the Giants.