NLCS Recap: HOLY SHIT CUBS

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Thanks to Joe for starting this up for us, although we unfortunately couldn’t get it posted in time for it to be relevant.  So I’m just modifying this a bit to catch you up on one of the most exciting times for Chicago Cubs fans in LITERALLY ALL OUR LIFETIMES.

The Cubs were the best team in baseball during the regular season by a wide margin, winning 103 games to ensure they would have home-field advantage until the World Series. The Cubs then took three out of four games to beat the Giants in the NLDS.  And now the NLCS is over, and our heroes have won the National League Pennant. WOW.

Game 1

The Cubs jumped out of the gate with a big 8-4 victory in the first game of the series. The Cubs got an early 3-0 lead after two innings, but the Dodgers stormed back in the 8th inning by scoring two runs off Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman. However, the Cubs responded in the bottom of the 8th with a huge grand slam from Miguel Montero. After one game, it looked like the Cubs might keep cruising through the NLCS like they had through everything else this season.

Game 2

Clayton Kershaw is starting to erase his reputation for choking in October with his performance so far this postseason. A big part of that was his phenomenal game against the Cubs. Kershaw only allowed two hits to the Cubs over seven shutout innings, and closer Kenley Jansen came in to finish the Cubs off with a rare six-out save. This game was indicative of everything that has gone wrong so far with the Cubs. They only had two hits the whole game, which is shocking from a team that has been slugging the cover off the ball all year. Even though the Cubs only gave up three hits, one of them was a solo home run to Adrian Gonzalez that proved to be the difference in the 1-0 loss to the Dodgers.

Game 3

The Dodgers, who made the playoffs out of the disappointment-riddled NL West, certainly looked like they deserved their NLCS appearance in Game 3.  This game was an utter disaster for the Cubs. With the series tied at 1-1, the Cubs failed to score any runs for the second straight game. Jake Arrieta could not give the Cubs the dominant performance they were hoping for, giving up four earned runs over five innings of work. Rich Hill’s curveball made fools of the Cubs batters all night, and they were only able to get two hits off of him in six innings. After a 6-0 blanking from the Dodgers, Chicago was left searching for answers.

Game 4

Whatever the Cubs’ questions may have been, they seem to have been answered!  The bats came back in Game 4, with Los Angeles fans watching the Cubs tee off for 13 total hits. Led by a 4-run 4th inning and Anthony Rizzo’s 3 RBI on 3 hits, including a solo shot in the 5th, the Cubs cruised to a 10-2 victory.  Cubs guaranteed themselves an opportunity to head back to Wrigley with a World Series berth on the line.

Game 5

This one turned out to be a laugher.  It was a very welcome result as narratives got blasted away, although there was some concern with Jason Heyward continuing to scuffle, and Aroldis Chapman having issues at the end of the blowout.  The Cubs would return home with two shots to clinch a ride to the World Series at Wrigley Field.  Which brings us to…

GAME SIX OMG

The Cubs ambushed Kershaw early and generally looked like they wanted to end this on Saturday night and allow me to just veg and bask in the glory the rest of the weekend.  I’d like to thank the Cubs for this, as I have to work very early on weekdays and having to stay up late for these games (which I will, mind you, but I prefer not to) on a school night is kind of bad for my performance.  Willson Contreras hit a home run off Kershaw, and that was AFTER all the early offense to give Kyle Hendricks a comfortable lead he could cruise through the game with.  Then Anthony Rizzo joined in too.  Amazing.  And now I get to go to bed early on Sunday.

You’ll be reminded that the Cubs are doing this with a slumping Jason Heyward and with this guy lurking after not having played since early April…

I always figured that this group of Cubs would make the playoffs on a regular basis, but this season has, so far, been beyond anything I could have imagined.  Think of all the narratives that the Cubs obliterated this year…

  • Too young? Get outta here.
  • 2003 etc? Forget about it.
  • Can’t hit elite pitching? Pssh.
  • Not clutch? 103 wins + 7 more say you’re full of it.

The Cubs slaughtered goats and opposing pitching alike, mowed down opposing batters and bad narratives, and have now earned the right to play for a World Series championship.  I’m so thrilled that they were able to clinch at home, where Wrigley Field and the surrounding neighborhood was packed with Cubs faithful.  We all look forward to the Anno Catuli sign rolling back to all zeroes.

Alas, no games until Tuesday night, but bask in this glory for now, Cubs fans.  They’ll be in Cleveland to take on the Indians, and it is going to be a blast.  We’ve earned this.  Cubs in six.

 

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