NLCS 2: LAD vs. CHC — Pitching gem in Second City
Much to the Cubs’ dismay, this postseason is anything but a runaway or a given for the regular season team that powered through and dominated to win 103 games this year. Of course, going up against one of the best pitchers in the National League, let alone MLB, should have been a sign that things weren’t exactly going to be handed to the Chicago team on a silver platter.
The Dodgers scheduled their ace Kershaw for this crucial game against the Cubs, and Kershaw proved just how ridiculously dominate he can be in those key moments. For most of the game, he cruised along, just plowing through the Cubs’ roster, filled with rather remarkable hitters. It was like Kershaw and his catcher Grandal were playing an intense game of catch for most of the game. Kershaw threw 84 pitches in 7 innings (an average of just 12 per inning), giving up 2 hits and a walk, and striking out 6 Cubs batters. And more importantly, he kept the Cubs scoreless.
In fact, he only showed a bit of weakness in that final inning. He allowed a lead-off walk (the only walk the Dodgers allowed tonight) and seemed to flounder enough through the next two batters’ outs to have the Dodgers’ pitching coach come out to see if he was done. But Kershaw wanted that last out. He got it and set himself up for the win.
Dodger’s closer Jansen came on to throw a spectacular 2 innings in just 18 pitches, which culminated in 4 big strikeouts and a save for him.
The Cubs pitchers were actually fairly strong themselves. And in any other game, they might have had enough to take them into the win category. Their starter Hendricks gave up just 3 hits and a run, but walked 4 batters. The rest of the Cubs’ relievers kept the Dodgers scoreless, but all you need is one.
In this case, it was Gonzalez’s lead-off home run in the 2nd. Though the Dodgers certainly had plenty of opportunities working 7 walks through the game. It was one of those close, nail-biting games that make baseball kind of different.
Just as much as we need those mega-power-hitting games, we also need to balance them with these close pitching gems that literally put everyone on edge until the very last out.
Final score: 1-0 Dodgers, series split 1-1.
The Dodgers and Cubs now head out to Los Angeles to continue their series there. One of these teams is looking to win just 3 more games, which could be Thursday night in LA. Or it could be back in Chicago on Sunday if this series goes a full 7 games. Either way, this particular series clearly promises nothing but on-edge drama.
Yankee Universe tidbit: the Arizona Fall League continues, with Yankee prospects like Gleyber Torres and Greg Bird making a big splash. I’ve said it for a while now, but the Yankees future looks really good. If anything, the latter half of this season proved me right when they pulled up nearly everyone in AAA and the AAA team still won the league championship. Something good is happening in the Yankee farm system, and that should give everyone hope for the future of this franchise.