The Dodgers win the pennant! The Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, something the Arizona Diamondbacks couldn’t do in the NLDS. Still, the defending World Series Champions won’t get a chance to try and repeat. Instead, the Dodgers have advanced to the World Series for the first time since 1988 and the Cubs are on their way home for the winter. Los Angeles has dominated this postseason, winning six straight games before dropping Game 4. While L.A.’s been a bit streaky this season, it appears the loss didn’t knock the Dodgers off course as they bounced back in a big way with a devastating Game 5 victory over Chicago.
Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Series Schedule and Results
Game 1 - Dodgers 5, Cubs 2
Game 2 - Dodgers 4, Cubs 1
Game 3 - Dodgers 6, Cubs 1
Game 4 - Cubs 3, Dodgers 2
Game 5 - Dodgers 11, Cubs 1
The Dodgers tore through the Cubs in the first three games of the series, holding Chicago’s offense at bay with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant doing little-to-nothing and the rest of the offense—which led baseball in scoring in the second half—quiet.
After Game 3, Los Angeles was a win away from the World Series after having outscored the Cubbies 15-4. With a bit more fight—and an excellent pitching performance by Jake Arrieta—in Game 4, Chicago muscled out a win with three solo homers, topping L.A. in a narrow 3-2 victory.
While the win in Game 4 allowed Chicago to stay in the hunt one more day, it was a devastating blow to the team’s position for Game 5. The Cubs rode Wade Davis for two innings and 48-pitches, making one of their few reliable relievers unavailable on Thursday night. Going into the game, it was clear that Chicago would need others in the pen to step up.
Unfortunately for Joe Maddon’s team, the North Siders needed a lot more from the pen than anticipated. Jose Quintana, who had looked good in his first postseason to this point, lasted only two innings. By the time he left the game, the Dodgers were already up 6-0 and the game—and series—was essentially lost.
On the other side, Clayton Kershaw looked good in Game 5. He went six innings, allowing a single run on three hits. That run came on a homer by Bryant. Throughout the series, the Cubs showed an inability to manufacture runs. The suddenly non-existent Cubs’ offense has been the single most noteworthy aspect of this series.
While the offense will get the blame in Chicago, the pitching should be lauded in Los Angeles. The bullpen absolutely shut down the Cubs. Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen combined to go three innings in Game 5’s clincher. In that game, the pen allowed just a single hit while striking out five. Those three scoreless frames have extended L.A.’s scoreless streak from the pen to 23 innings. The Cubs couldn’t once score a run on the pen.
The Dodgers’ bullpen has been lights out, but the rotation hasn’t been bad either. The dominant pen has allowed Dave Roberts to take some pressure off the starters including Kershaw who responded with two strong outings. In total, the Dodgers’ pitching allowed eight runs all series, giving up more than two in only one games.
When the other team doesn’t score, the offense doesn’t have to do much. Despite that, the Dodgers’ offense has been great, too. Los Angeles scored 29 runs in five games, including 11 in the deciding game. Kike Hernandez was the hero in Game 5 with a seven-RBI night. His three-run blast was what—essentially—punched the Dodgers’ ticket to the Fall Classic.
In the end, Los Angeles is rolling. They’re playing like the team that was virtually unbeatable throughout much of the season and are clicking on all cylinders. This team has plenty of postseason experience, but had struggled to get to the World Series. The biggest weakness in the last few years—including last year’s NLCS when the Cubs overcame the Dodgers—was L.A.’s bullpen. The Dodgers have long struggled to find a successful bridge from the rotation to Kenley Jansen in the back end. Between Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and others, the Dodgers now have that bridge.
Can L.A. continue the momentum they’ve built into the World Series? Will the rest between now and Tuesday be too much for the Dodgers? Now, the team waits to see who will represent the American League.
Which team will win the first four games to become this years 2017 World Series champions?
The MLB World Series has been a tradition in American sports that extends back over 100 years. The games are played in October, so there is often a crisp chill in the air at each baseball game. But the cooler temperatures are offset by the electricity of the crowd during each game. Each game is critical to the outcome, so every inning and every at bat are huge.
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