Way-too-early playoff preview: How do Dodgers match up with Cubs?

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CHICAGO -- The Cubs have talked about it from time to time. You can do everything under your control to put yourself in the best possible position to win in the postseason. Then you run into a buzz saw catching fire at the right time, and it's over just like that.

It happened to the Cubs in last year's National League Championship Series against the Mets. Chicago couldn't get Daniel Murphy out. The Mets' hard-throwing starters were painting the black over and over again. Four games later, and it was on to the offseason.

This year, the Cubs hope to be the buzz saw -- even in the random universe of playoff baseball. But if there's one team lurking out there acting like this year's version of the Mets, it just might be the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers don't have a hitter currently on a streak like Murphy, but what they do have is a starting rotation that will enter the playoffs smoldering hot. It begins with Clayton Kershaw, who is always hot, and is now healthy. His ERA in four outings since his return from the disabled list is 0.86. Only the Cubs' Jon Lester has done better this month.