SPORTS TALK: Injuries and Playoffs

Aaron Rodgers after Sunday’s injury.

It has been a brutal couple of weeks in the NFL as the league loses superstar after superstar to season-ending injuries. This past weekend, it was Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers who joined the list of fallen stars when he broke his collar bone after being tackled by Detroit Lion Anthony Barr. Rodgers’ injury followed the broken ankle suffered by New York Giant Odell Beckham a week earlier. It was during that same week that Houston Texan J.J. Watt broke his leg and was also lost for the year. In summary, the NFL lost its best quarterback, best wide receiver and best defensive player in the span of eight days.

Quite the blow, right? Of course, the league will survive. Plenty of other great players have been lost in past seasons and things always continue, more or less the same. Still, I can’t help but cringe at this huge loss of star power as the NFL fights a public relations battle on a completely different front (that we’re not getting into here.) It is not going to be easy to get past the loss of so many recognizable faces. But I am sure someone will step up. Someone always does.

Sadly, no one has stepped up for the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. Thus far, the Los Angeles Dodgers have dominated the NLCS and are just one win away from the World Series as I pen this column. Through the first four games, the Cubs have scored just four runs. Their pitching has been okay, but certainly not good enough to win any games when the offense is putting up less than a run a game.

I said from the beginning I liked the Dodgers in the National League and nothing has changed about that. It was tough to see them lose Corey Seager for the series, but they seem to be getting along well enough without him. Los Angeles has the best pitching of any team left in the playoffs and it will be exciting for me, personally, to see Clayton Kershaw pitch on the biggest stage in baseball. Getting the final win against Chicago will not be easy. In fact, I would not be surprised to see this one go back to Los Angeles before the Dodgers wrap it up. But I think it’s coming, and I believe the Dodgers will finally get back to the Fall Classic.

But who will they face? After the first two games it seemed pretty clear it would be the Astros, but the Yankees had other ideas once they got back home. This series is harder for me to call. Both teams have mighty offenses, but their pitching staffs are flawed. My money is still on Houston, but how great would it be to see another Yankees-Dodgers World Series? The Dodgers have been to the World Series 18 times and they faced New York in 11 of those trips. They have only prevailed three times in the 11 meetings, but maybe this is the year for number four?

As far as World Series matchups go, the Dodgers playing the Yankees is just about as storied as it gets, and I am guessing the people at Fox are absolutely salivating about the idea. It just doesn’t get any better than New York and Los Angeles fighting for a sports championship. Just don’t tell the people of Houston and Chicago. I’m pretty sure they still have other ideas.