2017 National League Championship Series

From BR Bullpen

2017 National League Championship Series
Los Angeles Dodgers logo
2017 National League Championship Series logo
Chicago Cubs logo
Los Angeles Dodgers
104 - 58 in the NL
4 - 1
Series Summary
Chicago Cubs
92 - 70 in the NL

Overview[edit]

The 2017 National League Championship Series was a repeat of the 2016 NLCS, matching the Chicago Cubs against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The two teams had very similar rosters than during the last encounter, but this time, the Dodgers were the favorites after putting together a 100-game season, They were on a mission to return to the World Series for the first time since 1988, while the Cubs were perhaps not as hungry, having satiated their historic World Series drought with a win over the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 Fall Classic.

The Dodgers dominated the series, winning four games to one. Their starting pitchers were all good, but their bullpen was exceptional, not giving up a run all series, and their batters wore the Cubs down as manager Dave Roberts worked around what could have been a big blow - the absence of SS Corey Seager - by shuffling his personnel around and getting contributions from just about everyone on the roster. For their part, the Cubs were unable to generate any offense except for some homers, all but one of which were hit with the bases empty. Their defeat ensured that the streak of having a different World Champion each year, begun with the Arizona Diamondbacks' win in the 2001 World Series, would endure at least another year.

The Teams[edit]

Cubs

Dodgers

Umpires[edit]

Cooper was a replay official at MLB Headquarters in New York for the first two games of the series, after which he switched roles with Barksdale. Mike Muchlinski was the other replay official.

Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Pitchers Time (ET)
1 Chicago Cubs 2 Los Angeles Dodgers 5 October 14 Jose Quintana (0-0) Clayton Kershaw (0-0) 8:00 pm
2 Chicago Cubs 1 Los Angeles Dodgers 4 October 15 Jon Lester (0-0) Rich Hill (0-0) 7:30 pm
3 Los Angeles Dodgers 6 Chicago Cubs 1 October 17 Yu Darvish (1-0) Kyle Hendricks (0-1) 9:00 pm
4 Los Angeles Dodgers 2 Chicago Cubs 3 October 18 Alex Wood (0-1) Jake Arrieta (1-0) 9:00 pm
5 Los Angeles Dodgers 11 Chicago Cubs 1 October 19 Clayton Kershaw (1-0) Jose Quintana (0-1) 8:00 pm

Results[edit]

Game 1 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cubs 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 0
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 0 x 5 8 0
WP: Kenta Maeda (1-0); LP: Hector Rondon (0-1); SV: Kenley Jansen (1)
Home Runs: CHI - Albert Almora (1); LA - Chris Taylor (1), Yasiel Puig (1)
  • Attendance: 54,289

The Dodgers won Game 1 behind a very good combined performance by six pitchers, who limited the Cubs to 4 hits, and a pair of timely homers against Chicago's bullpen. A very well-rested Clayton Kershaw started the game for Los Angeles, facing Jose Quintana, who had pitched briefly in relief in Game 5 of the NLDS only two days earlier. Given his other three potential starting pitchers had worked even longer in the final two games of the series, Joe Maddon had little choice but to turn to the Colombian left-hander. It had been a particularly eventful two days for Quintana, as his wife had fallen ill on the Cubs team flight out of Washington, DC, forcing an unscheduled stop in New Mexico, where both got off. He rejoined the team shortly afterwards, along with his wife, after she had been checked out by doctors and cleared.

The Cubs quickly had Kershaw in the ropes, as after one out in the 1st, Kris Bryant singled and Anthony Rizzo drew a walk. However, the Dodgers' ace managed to strike out Willson Contreras and get Albert Almora to ground out to keep the Cubs from scoring. For his part, Quintana started off very strong, facing the minimum 9 batters through the first three innings, thanks to Austin Barnes grounding into a double play to end the 2nd, negating a single by Logan Forsythe. Kershaw also settled down, although Quintana ripped a solid single to right to lead off the 3rd. Jon Jay followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt, but Quintana could not advance past second as the next two batters flew out. The Cubs then opened the scoring in the 4th, as Contreras singled and Almora followed with a homer to the bleachers in left center for a 2-0 lead. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, Almora's homer would be the last Cubs hit of the evening, however.

After another perfect inning in the 4th, Quintana encountered his first trouble in the 5th when he walked Forsythe and Barnes back-to-back with one out. Up next was Yasiel Puig, brimming with confidence after a strong performance in the Division Series, and he crushed a pitch to right field. He flipped his bat as if he had homered, but the ball just reached the wall on the fly. Forsythe scored easily, but perhaps fooled by Puig's reaction, Barnes stopped at third. Next up was Charlie Culberson, starting at shortstop in place of the injured Corey Seager. Quintana got two strikes on him, but Culberson managed to lift the next pitch, a low breaking ball, to left field, allowing Barnes to score the tying run on a sacrifice fly. Kershaw was then due up, but Dave Roberts decided to remove him from the game, sending Kyle Farmer to pinch-hit. Farmer grounded out to third to end the inning.

With Kershaw out, Tony Cingrani came out to start the 6th, but he was there for only one batter, retiring fellow lefty Rizzo on a grounder. Kenta Maeda then came out and made quick work of the next two batters, needing just four pitches to get Contreras and Almora. Maddon also made a pitching change, bringing in Hector Rondon, just activated from the disabled list after missing the first round of the postseason. On his second pitch, Chris Taylor drove the ball beyond the fence in right-center for a solo homer, and Los Angeles had the lead for the first time, 3-2. Rondon struck out Justin Turner, then Maddon made a double switch, bringing in Ben Zobrist to play RF with Almora coming out, and Mike Montgomery to pitch. He immediately gave up a single to Cody Bellinger, but then retired Enrique Hernandez. Bellinger then stole second on a close play and Forsythe drew a walk, but the inning ended with Barnes flying out to Zobrist in right field. Maeda then got one more out in the top of the 7th before giving way to Brandon Morrow, who retired the next two batters.

Montgomery had been shaky after taking over for Rondon in the 6th, but he returned for the 7th, a move that Maddon would soon regret as a cocky Puig blasted a lead-off homer off him immediately after a brushback pitch, the ball just clearing the fence in left field. Culberson then followed with a double to left. Roberts decided to let Morrow bat for himself, and he laid a nice bunt down the third base line, which only Rizzo, running over from first base, could field. Rizzo still managed to throw out the slow-running pitcher, and, strangely, Culberson did not advance. Taylor followed with an infield single to shortstop, but again Culberson remained on second. Maddon now made another double switch, bringing in Ian Happ to play second in place of Javier Baez, and veteran starter John Lackey to pitch. Turner hit a single to right, and LF Kyle Schwarber made a bullet throw home to nab Culberson. However, a video review clearly indicated that C Contreras had blocked the plate before catching Schwarber's throw and the run was granted on appeal. An incensed Maddon came out to protest and was quickly ejected, although he continued to argue for a while in an attempt to rouse his troops. Lackey managed to retire the next two batters, Bellinger and pinch-hiter Curtis Granderson, batting for Hernandez, and the inning ended, but the Dodgers now had a comfortable 5-2 lead. Even though Morrow had batted in the 7th, he was removed in another double switch before the 8th started, with Tony Watson getting the first two outs before Roberts called on his closer, Kenley Jansen to face Bryant. Jansen struck him out, then struck out the side in the 9th as well and the Dodgers had won the first game.

Game 2 @ Dodger Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cubs 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
Dodgers 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 4 5 0
WP: Kenley Jansen (1-0); LP: Brian Duensing (0-1)
Home Runs: CHI - Addison Russell (1); LA - Justin Turner (1)
  • Attendance: 54,479

The Dodgers' pitchers once again dominated in Game 2, this time limiting the Cubs to just three hits and a single run. However, for a change, the Cubs' bullpen, which had been erratic since the start of the postseason, held its own - at least until the bottom of the 9th, when the game ended in a dramatic fashion on a walk-off homer by Justin Turner, who drove in all four of the Dodgers' runs. On the mound, the Dodgers just wanted five solid innings out of Rich Hill, which is exactly what they got, while the Cubs were hoping that Jon Lester would be able to go deep into the game, in order to spare their overworked bullpen. He only gave up one run, but had some struggles with his control, walking five batters while needing over 100 pitches to work 4 2/3 innings, prompting Joe Maddon to once again deploy an early hook.

For the Dodgers, Hill made only one mistake in five masterful innings, as he gave up just 3 hits and a walk while striking out 8 batters, mixing his curveball and fastball extremely well and keeping Chicago's batters unable to guess what pitch was coming next. His only mistake was a fastball that got too much of the plate against Addison Russell to lead off the 5th inning; Russell pulled it into the stands for a solo homer and a 1-0 lead. The only other threat by the Cubs had come in the 3rd, when Javier Baez drew a lead-off walk, then after Lester failed to lay down a sacrifice bunt, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. However, Jon Jay grounded out straight to 1B Cody Bellinger, while Kris Bryant struck out swinging to leave Baez stranded. In Lester's case, he walked a couple of batters in the 2nd without incurring any damage, then gave up a walk to Turner and a double to Bellinger with two outs in the 3rd, but got Enrique Hernandez to fly out to right to end the inning. In the 4th, Yasiel Puig walked but was caught stealing to end the inning. But after the Cubs had taken a lead in the top of the 5th, the Dodgers replied immediately. Charlie Culberson was a key man again, doubling to lead off the frame, prompting manager Dave Roberts to call on Curtis Granderson to pinch-hit for Hill. He popped out to third, then Chris Taylor grounded to short, but Culberson advanced to third base. Next up was Turner, who lined a single into right field to tie the score. After Lester walked Bellinger, Maddon reluctantly had to make another early call to the bullpen, asking Carl Edwards to get out of the jam. Edwards had struggled badly with his control during the postseason thus far, but tonight, he was the strikeout machine he had been in the regular season, getting pinch-hitter Chase Utley to look silly as he struck out on four pitches.

It was now a battle of the bullpens again, with Los Angeles very confident given how things had worked out for them in that department since the start of the postseason. Brandon Morrow was the first pitcher summoned by Roberts, and he set the tone with two perfect innings. Meanwhile, Edwards followed with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 6th, notching two more strikeouts, then in the 7th, Pedro Strop gave up a two-out walk to Taylor, but nothing else. In the 8th, Roberts asked Josh Fields to face one batter, Javier Baez, who flied out to center, then Tony Watson needed just four pitches to get the final two outs. It was now ten straight batters retired by the Dodgers since a 5th-inning two-out single by Lester. In the bottom of the 8th, Brian Duensing replaced Strop. It was a little more complicated, as he gave up a lead-off single to Bellinger when he dropped a perfect relay throw from 1B Anthony Rizzo on a play that could just as easily have been scored an error. Bellinger then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Joc Pederson. Maddon elected to issue an intentional walk to Logan Forsythe, a strategy which worked perfectly as Austin Barnes followed by grounding into a tailor-made double play.

So, it was still 1-1 as the 9th inning started, with the Cubs' bats in a deep funk. Closer Kenley Jansen came out to pitch, not something that would normally contribute to offensive fireworks. He struck out Bryant but hit Rizzo with a pitch to put the winning run on board, but then struck out Willson Contreras and got Albert Almora to ground out to short. Until Jansen plunked Rizzo, the Dodgers' relievers had retired all 22 men they had faced in the series! In the bottom of the inning, Maddon let Duensing continue to pitch, and he put himself into immediate trouble by walking Puig, who belied his reputation as a free-swinger by drawing three walks in the game. Culberson executed the sacrifice bunt perfectly, moving Puig over to second, but Kyle Farmer, pinch-hitting for Jansen, struck out for the second out. Maddon then made a double switch, bringing in John Lackey to pitch with some right-handed batters coming up. It was an unfamiliar situation for the veteran Lackey, who was pitching not only in relief, but for the second straight day as well. He walked Taylor to put a second runner on, then with a 1-0 count, hung a fastball against Turner, who took him deep to center field to end the game with a 4-1 score. It was only the second postseason walk-off homer in Dodgers history, the first having come on that same day in 1988, the legendary blast by Kirk Gibson off Dennis Eckersley that had ended Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. The two teams were now headed to Wrigley Field with the Dodgers holding a two games to none lead.

Game 3 @ Wrigley Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 2 0 6 9 0
Cubs 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 2
WP: Yu Darvish (1-0); LP: Kyle Hendricks (0-1)
Home Runs: CHI - Kyle Schwarber (1); LA - Andre Ethier (1), Chris Taylor (2)
  • Attendance: 41,871

Los Angeles took a three games to none lead in the series with a 6-1 victory in Game 3, played at Wrigley Field. Both teams made changes to their line-ups, with Kyle Schwarber back in left field for the Cubs, and Ben Zobrist taking over for the slumping Javier Baez at second base, and for the Dodgers, LF Andre Ethier, CF Joc Pederson and 2B Chase Utley all getting their first start, with Chris Taylor sliding over from CF to SS in place of Charlie Culberson, in spite of the latter's excellent work in the first two games. The moves worked in that the new additions provided the bulk of the offence in the game. On the mound, Yu Darvish was facing off against Kyle Hendricks.

The Cubs got on the scoreboard first, as with one out in the bottom of the 1st, Schwarber took Darvish deep for a solo homer. It was a good start for the Cubs, but it turned out to be their only run of the evening. Darvish was a bit shaky in the rest of the inning, giving up singles to Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras, but he escaped without allowing another run and was very solid after those initial hiccups. The Cubs' lead barely lasted however, as Ethier led off the top of the 2nd by pulling a ball into the right field bleachers to tie the score. In the 3rd, Hendricks started off the inning by striking out Darvish, but Taylor then got to him with his second homer of the series. The Dodgers had a 2-1 lead, and would never look back after that. There wasn't much offence in the next couple of innings, although Chicago did put two men on base with two out in the 4th, but Hendricks was the next batter, and he struck out on three pitches. In the 5th, however, Pederson led off with a double to right. Darvish tried to bunt him over, but failed, as he hit the ball too hard to 1B Anthony Rizzo, who retired him at first without Pederson having a chance to advance. That did not matter in any case as the next batter, Taylor, pulled a ball just fair down the third base line and into the left field corner, for a triple that scored Pederson without a throw. It was now 3-1, Dodgers, and the fans at Wrigley were starting to realize that things were not going at all their way. In a small positive development, Taylor decided to take off for home on Cody Bellinger's grounder to first base with the infield playing in, and he was cut down easily, but it was only a temporary reprieve, even if Los Angeles had wasted a good chance to add a fourth run.

With Darvish continuing to pitch well, Yasiel Puig led off the 6th by reaching on an error by 3B Bryant, then Ethier followed with a single, spelling the end of Hendricks' night of work. Carl Edwards came in to pitch, and he got Utley to hit a comebacker to the mound, but it had the effect of a sacrifice bunt as both runners advanced. Austin Barnes then drew a walk to load the bases, but Pederson flied out for out number two. Darvish was due up next and Dave Roberts let him hit for himself, which turned out to be a wise decision as Edwards suddenly lost the plate, walking him on four pitches to force in run number 4. Edwards then struck out Taylor to end the inning, but the situation was now dire for Chicago. Darvish gave the Dodgers another solid inning in the bottom of the 6th, getting Jon Jay to ground into a double play to negate a lead-off single by Rizzo. More trouble brewed for the Cubs in the 7th, as a new pitcher, Pedro Strop, opened the inning by allowing Bellinger to reach second on an error by new CF Ian Happ, then walked Justin Turner. However, he got out of trouble by getting Puig to ground into a double play and Ethier to ground out as well. In the bottom of the inning, Roberts removed Darvish after he started the inning by striking out Addison Russell for the first out; Tony Watson then retired the next two batters, and the Cubs had just six more outs left to close a three-run deficit.

That deficit got steeper in the top of the 8th with more bullpen largesse by the Cubs, this time Mike Montgomery starting off the inning by allowing the first two men to reach on a walk and a single. A wild pitch and a passed ball by Contreras led to one run, and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer to another, and it was now 6-1, a pretty much insurmountable lead. Brandon Morrow pitched a scoreless 8th around a walk to Schwarber and in the 9th, Roberts could ask seldom-used Ross Stripling to take a turn on the mound. He failed in his mission to spare the bullpen further work by giving up a single to Alex Avila, who had come in earlier as a defensive substitute at catcher, and a double to Albert Almora on a ball that got stuck in the ivy, costing the Cubs a likely run. Not taking any more chances, Roberts immediately called on his closer, Kenley Jansen, to nail down the win, and he did so with a pop-up and a pair of strikeouts, stranding both runners in scoring position. The Dodgers were now within one game of reaching the World Series for the first time since 1988.

Game 4 @ Wrigley Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 4 0
Cubs 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 3 5 0
WP: Jake Arrieta (1-0); LP: Alex Wood (0-1); SV: Wade Davis (1)
Home Runs: CHI - Willson Contreras (1), Javier Baez 2 (2); LA - Clay Bellinger (1), Justin Turner (2)
  • Attendance: 42,195

The Cubs avoided elimination by winning Game 4, 3-2, at Wrigley Field, with all five runs being scored on solo homers; this was nothing new for the Cubs, as all four of their runs in the first three games had come via the long ball. Both teams had their fourth different starting pitcher on the mound for the game, but the difference was that Alex Wood had not pitched in almost three weeks and while he had had an excellent season, still had not earned the full confidence of his manager; in contrast, Jake Arrieta had been considered one his team's top starters ever since a break-out season in 2014, and it was only the vagaries of pitcher usage in the Division Series that had relegated him to the fourth slot in this series. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts continued to give some of his back-ups a chance to play, leaving Andre Ethier and Chase Utley in the starting line-up, but also giving the call for the first time in the series to Curtis Granderson in centerfield and to Yasmani Grandal, the starter for most of the season, behind the plate.

Arrieta had a shaky 1st inning, as a number of his pitches missed the plate by a wide margin, and he walked Justin Turner with two outs and allowed a single to Yasiel Puig immediately afterwards. However, he ended the inning without any damage by striking out Ethier. For his part, Wood started strong by retiring the Cubs in order. In the 2nd, Arrieta looked sharper even if he hit Utley with a pitch before striking out his opposite number, Wood, on four pitches. But it wasn't the case for Wood, as after one out, he hung a pitch against Willson Contreras and the Cubs' catcher absolutely crushed it, driving it to the video screen in left-center at a distance estimated at 490 feet, the longest home run in this year's postseason by a long shot. That got the Cubs' fans revved up, and one out later, Javier Baez, back in the line-up after sitting out the previous day's game, broke out of his long slump by pulling a ball to left field for another homer and a 2-0 lead. Wood had struck out the side around the two homers, so he had good stuff, but his pitch placement was not perfect. The Dodgers immediately cut the lead in half, though, as Clay Bellinger pulled a ball into the stands in the right field corner with one out in the 3rd.

The game settled down after those early fireworks, as there was no more scoring in the 3rd and both pitchers faced the minimum in the 4th. Wood tried to catch the Cubs off-guard by laying down a bunt to lead off the 5th, and it took a nice defensive play by Arrieta to cut him down at first on a very close play that required a video review. He got the next two outs and thereby ensured that for the first time in the postseason, Los Angeles would be trailing in a game at the end of five innings. And the Cubs made sure they would trail by two runs and not just by one when Baez hit his second homer of the game off Wood after one out. It was actually a pretty good pitch, a breaking ball that was below the knees, but Baez still managed to get under it and lift it to the left field seats. When Arrieta then singled with two outs, it signaled the end of the line for Wood, who was replaced by Ross Stripling. He had failed to retire a single batter when asked to close Game 4, but this time he needed just one pitch to get Albert Almora to ground out to him to end the inning.

The Dodgers' bullpen had been very stingy all series, so the Cubs knew that they would likely need to nurse their small lead for the final four innings. Arrieta started off the 6th on the wrong foot by allowing a single to Turner, but he controlled the damage by getting a force out and a pair of strikeouts. Meanwhile, L.A.'s bullpen began its usual good work, with Stripling getting the first two outs in the bottom of the 6th, and Tony Watson the third. Arrieta was still there for the 7th, in a sign that Joe Maddon had lost a lot of trust in his relievers. Arrieta walked Grandal to again put the first batter on base, but got Utley to strike out. Joc Pederson batted for Watson and he hit a ball just in front of home plate which C Contreras converted into a force out at second. Pederson then took second on a wild pitch and Chris Taylor drew a walk, and Maddon now had little choice but to bring in a reliever. The call went to lefty Brian Duensing who came out ahead in the match-up game by getting fellow lefty Bellinger to fly out. Kenta Maeda came out for the bottom of the 7th and pitched another perfect inning, taking on to his postseason usage as a reliever like a fish to water.

Maddon now asked his closer, Wade Davis, to attempt a two-inning save. It started off badly, as the first batter he faced, Turner, hit a home run to left-center to cut the lead to 3-2, and the next one, Puig, drew a walk. But Maddon had decided he was going to live or die with his best reliever on the mound, and Davis got Ethier to pop out, before apparently striking out Granderson. But Granderson argued he had tipped the ball, Roberts came out to argue, all six umpires conferred, and they reversed the call. It was not a call that could go to a video review, but replays clearly showed that Granderson had not touched the ball at all. Maddon was incensed. He came out to argue and was promptly ejected by crew chief Mike Winters, the second time he had gotten the thumb in the series. But Davis completed the strikeout of Granderson on the next pitch, making him wear the Golden Sombrero, and probably ensuring that this one opportunity to start a game would be his final one. Grandal was up next and continued to make things interesting by drawing another walk, but Utley struck out to end the inning in what was probably the most important at-bat of the game. The Cubs threatened to score against Tony Cingrani and Josh Fields in the bottom of the 8th, but didn't, with Davis batting and striking out although forcing Cingrani to throw 9 pitches as he fouled off 5 two-strike offerings. Davis continued pitching in the 9th, striking out Austin Barnes before walking Taylor. However, he forced Bellinger to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play. This ensured that the Dodgers would not sweep a four-game series for the first time since winning the 1963 World Series.

Game 5 @ Wrigley Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Dodgers 1 1 5 2 0 0 0 0 2 11 16 0
Cubs 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-0); LP: Jose Quintana (0-1)
Home Runs: LA - Enrique Hernandez 3 (3); CHI - Kris Bryant (1)
  • Attendance: 42,735

After the small hiccup that had been the loss in Game 4, the Dodgers headed into Game 5 wanting to finish the job without having to return home, to take advantage of the presence of their ace, Clayton Kershaw, on the mound. A sign that this was serious was that manager Dave Roberts was back to starting his Game 1 line-up, after giving some of his back-ups playing time in the last two contests. For the Cubs, they came into the game with some confidence, coming off a win - albeit not an easy one - and knowing that for one last time, they would be playing in front of a boisterous home crowd. Game 1 starter Jose Quintana was back on the mound, and he had pitched pretty well since joining the team, and particularly at home. But nothing would go right for the Cubbies in this game, as it rapidly turned into a rout for the Dodgers, taking the crowd right out of it.

The 1st inning set the tone for the whole ballgame. Chris Taylor drew a lead-off walk then ran all the way home when after one out, Cody Bellinger drove a ball to the right field corner for a double. Then in the 2nd, Enrique Hernandez started things off with a homer to centerfield, and it was already 2-0, a daunting perspective for the Cubs given that Kershaw had shown in th 1st inning that he was on a good day, and the general trouble they had had scoring runs all series. Concern would turn to downright despair in the 3rd inning, as the Dodgers put the game away there and then. Taylor once again started things off, this time with a double down the left field line that bounced into the stands, and scored on a single by Justin Turner. Bellinger followed with another single, and Joe Maddon had no choice but to start warming up a relief pitcher. After a mound visit, Yasiel Puig singled too, and, sensing a potential big inning, the Dodgers did not force the play, stopping Turner at third base. With the game quickly getting out of hand, Maddon called on Hector Rondon to relieve, hoping for a miracle. It did not come. He did strike out Logan Forsythe for the first out, but Hernandez was up next, and he broke the Cubs' backs with a drive that landed in the wire basket in center field for a grand slam. It was now 7-0, and the game was practically over.

Thet Dodgers could have cruised from that point, but they continued to put the pressure on. Leading off the inning again in the 4th against a new pitcher, John Lackey, Taylor made it on base for the third time with a single, then moved to second on a single by Bellinger. Lackey threw a wild pitch to place both in scoring position, but Puig hit a grounder to third base and Kris Bryant managed to cut down Taylor at home for the second out. But Forsythe followed with a double, scoring both runners, including Puig on a daring diving head-first slide, to make it 9-0. Bryant did hit a homer in the bottom of the inning, putting the Cubs on the board. This ensured that every one of the Cubs' runs in the series had been the result of the long ball, six of them solos shots and one good for two runs. It was simply not enough offensive production to compete, even if their pitching had been more stingy.

The remainder of the game was played with low intensity, as the Dodgers knew thay had done enough and there were smiles all around in the dugout with Puig spending time horsing around his good friend, hitting coach Turner Ward. Kershaw completed six innings of work and could have gone longer had circumstances warranted, but Roberts asked for a few relievers to finish the game. Kenta Maeda continued his superb work with a perfect 7th, and Brandon Morrow allowed just one hit in the 8th. In the 9th, the Dodgers added two more runs against Mike Montgomery, whose postseason struggles continued, as Hernandez completed his dream evening with a two-run blast, his third homer of the game, with Puig on first base after a single. That made the score 11-1, and it would be the final tally. Kenley Jansen was given the honor of clinching the series, even though this was miles from being a save situation, and he retired the Cubs on a pair of fly balls and a line out to nail down the pennant for L.A. Chris Taylor and Justin Turner, who had proved unstoppable at the top of the line-up all series for the Dodgers, were named the co-winners of the NLCS MVP Award.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Nancy Armour: "For Cubs, it's wait 'til next year again as hopes of dynasty are deferred", USA Today Sports, October 20, 2017. [1]
  • Ted Berg: "Dodgers rout defending champion Cubs to earn first trip to World Series since 1988", USA Today Sports, October 19, 2017. [2]
  • Ted Berg: "How Dave Roberts masterfully managed the Dodgers to the World Series", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, October 19, 2017. [3]
  • AJ Cassavell: "Turner, Taylor share NLCS MVP honors: Each player homers twice in series against Cubs", mlb.com, October 20, 2017. [4]
  • Matt Monagan: "The Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully celebrate team's first pennant in nearly 30 years", "Cut4", mlb.com, October 20, 2017. [5]
  • Carrie Muskat and Ken Gurnick: "Hollywood & Vines: LA wins NLCS at Wrigley!", mlb.com, October 20, 2017. [6]
  • Bob Nightengale: "The night of their lives: Dodgers and new hero Enrique Hernandez bash into World Series", USA Today Sports, October 19, 2017. [7]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Dodgers firing on all cylinders heading into NLCS", USA Today, October 10, 2017. [8]

Related Sites[edit]

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NL Wild Card Game Diamondbacks over Rockies (1-0)

NL Division Series Dodgers (NLW) over Diamondbacks (WC) (3-0)

NL Division Series Cubs (NLC) over Nationals (NLE) (3-2)

NL Championship Series Dodgers (NLW) over Cubs (NLC) (4-1)

World Series Astros (AL) over Dodgers (NL) (4-3)

AL Championship Series Astros (ALW) over Yankees (WC) (4-3)

AL Division Series Yankees (WC) over Indians (ALC) (3-2)

AL Division Series Astros (ALW) over Red Sox (ALE) (3-1)

AL Wild Card Game Yankees over Twins (1-0)

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