Two NLDS games, one conclusion. The Chicago Cubs are in the NLCS after beating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4, taking the series 3-1. The Los Angeles Dodgers survive, tying their series with the New York Mets at 2-2 following their 3-1 on the road, with Clayton Kershaw finally giving them what they’ve been looking for.
Chicago Cubs beat St. Louis Cardinals 6-4, Cubs win Series 3-1
A little (or big) slice of history was made in game 4, as the Chicago Cubs didn’t just win their second playoff series since 1908 (first since 2003), but also did it for the first time in Wrigley Field. The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead off of a Stephen Piscotty home run, but the Cubs got back to huge hits and balls getting crushed. But besides the trendy home run hitters taking all the glory, the true secret to the Cubs’ success in this series has been the bullpen.
Jason Hammel who started didn’t play more than three innings. The Cubs then used up seven relievers, including Hector Rondon for the final save (after Trevor Cahill blew it, and still picked up the win), to keep the Cardinals in check. In the sixth inning St. Louis managed to even things at 4-4, but then the Cubs got back to big hits. Hammel himself got the first RBI of the game followed by Javier Baez hitting a three run homer.
After the Cardinals tied things up, came Anthony Rizzo with a home run to bring back the lead (his second of the postseason), and the finale belong to Nick Schwarber with a 438 feet home run, also his second of the postseason. The Cardinals were the best team in baseball during the regular season with 100 wins, but the Cubs were right behind with 96 wins, and four wins of margin means nothing in the long run, especially in a postseason that has nothing to do with home field advantage.
Los Angeles Dodgers beat New York Mets 3-1, Series tied 2-2
Not a lot of scoring like in the Cubs-Cardinals series, but more than anything, it was finally Clayton Kershaw providing a stellar playoff performance. He put up quite a performance, allowing just three hits and one run through seven innings with 8 strikeouts. As if he suddenly remembered that he’s the best pitcher in baseball, and that the weight of the pressure of the playoffs no longer burden him. If that’s truly a thing of the past, anyone meeting the Dodgers in this postseason (assuming they win this series) is going to have a hard time getting anything off of Kershaw.
Of course, it wasn’t just him. Chris Hatcher and Kenley Jansen were fantastic in relief. The Mets got three hits the entire game and even with very good starting pitching, it’s impossible to win in the playoffs without any kind of run support, which was the problem for the Mets during the first half of this season. Adrian Gonzalez with an RBI and Justin Turner with two RBIs right after that keep the scoring going for the Dodgers. The Mets have their hands full for the next game, even if they have an excellent pitcher on the mound for the next game.