The Los Angeles Dodgers are 2017 National League Champions and headed to the World Series for the first time since 1988. Thanks to the managerial masterpiece put on by Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts in only his second season with 2016 ending and Roberts being named National League Manager of the year but losing to the Chicago Cubs four games to two.
The Dodgers will appear in the World Series for the first time since 1988 after defeating the Cubs 11-1 in Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday night. The Dodgers scored early and often, making Thursday’s affair devoid of any stress.
Cody Bellinger drove in a run with a double against Cubs starter Jose Quintana in the first inning. Enrique Hernandez attacked on a solo home run to center field in the second. The Dodgers broke it open in the third, as Quintana allowed hits to all four hitters he faced in the inning: a ground-rule double to Chris Taylor, an RBI single to Justin Turner, and two more singles to Bellinger and Yasiel Puig. Hector Rondon relieved Quintana and, after striking out Logan Forsythe, he served up a grand slam to Hernandez to make it a 7-0 game. Forsythe hit a two-run double off of John Lackey in the fourth pad the lead to 9-0. Hernandez added a third home run, a two-run shot, off of Mike Montgomery in the ninth to push the score to 11-1.
Hernandez is the 10th player to hit three home runs in a playoff game and the fifth to knock in seven runs. The other four were in the American League, so Hernandez’s seven RBI marks a new National League record.
Kris Bryant hit a solo home run off of Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, but that was it for offense on the Cubs’ side. Kershaw tossed six innings in total, allowing the one run on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts spanning 89 pitches.
With a 10-run lead, closer Kenley Jansen took the hill in the ninth. He got Bryant to line out to left field, Anthony Rizzoto fly out, and Willson Contreras to line out to shortstop to seal the 11-1 victory — and the pennant — for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers will wait to see who they will face in the World Series. The Yankees are one game away from punching their ticket, leading the ALCS 3-2. They’ll match up with the Astros in Houston on Friday.
If the Yankees end up being the Dodgers’ World Series opponent, it will be the two clubs’ 12th meeting in the Fall Classic. As Craig noted on Twitter, the Yankees have the upper hand, having won eight of those 11 series.
By Bill Baer