The Chicago Cubs put the talk of goats and curses behind them, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 to clinch the NLCS in six games, winning their first NL pennant in 71 years, and setting themselves up with a World Series date against the Cleveland Indians, another franchise hungry for a championship.
The Cubs won their third straight game in the series. After falling behind 1-2 due to two scoreless games, they erupted, winning the next three to win the series by scoring 23 runs to 6. Anthony Rizzo came alive in these three games after a bad postseason before, Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant carried on with their consistent playoff performance, and the likes of Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks showed that their ability in the regular season wasn’t going to falter away.
In game 6, the Dodgers sent Clayton Kershaw to the mound. He already had one terrific game against the Cubs in this series, but his history in elimination games isn’t great to say the least, and he added fuel to the fire insisting that he might be a great regular season pitcher, but one that lacks whatever it is that makes pitchers great in the postseason. Kershaw unravelled very quickly, giving up all five Cubs runs in the first five innings, allowing 7 hits and giving up a couple of home runs, to finish his postseason with a 4.44 ERA mark, not what you expect from a Cy Young caliber player. Kenley Jansen came on for 3 innings in what might have been his final appearance for the Dodgers, doing a good job.
But who cares about Jansen’s irrelevant 3 innings, when what mattered was the Cubs first five. They took a two-run lead in the first with an RBI single by Kris Bryant and finally something from Ben Zobrist, hitting a sacrifice fly.
They scored again in the second inning when a Dexter Fowler single helped score Addison Russell, while Fowler himself overreached by going for a double and got throwing out.
The problems continues for the Dodgers in the 4th when Willson Contreras hit a homerun to make it a four-run game, and it ended in the fifth, as Rizzo clobbered his second home run of the series, completing an incredible turnaround, and all thanks to a bat from a teammate.
It wasn’t all hitting for the Cubs. Thanks to three double plays, the entire team performance was equivalent to a perfect game, facing only 27 batters. They allowed only 2 hits and one walk. Kyle Hendricks gave up the two hits while striking out 6 in 7.1 innings. Aroldis Chapman had himself a five-out closing session, striking out 1 and walking 1 to finish the job, as the Dodgers went completely numb offensively after game 3.
And so we have our World Series. The Indians, who lost two of them in the 1990’s and haven’t won the championship since 1948. And the Cubs. The team with the most famous championship-drought in sports, lasting since 1908, not because of curses, but because they were never good enough. Same reason they haven’t made the World Series since 1945. But it’s been long enough. And they’re good enough to get there now. Only four wins away, and one long title drought is going to end. We don’t know which one.