Kershaw Leads Dodgers To First World Series Since 1988
The Los Angeles Dodgers have earned their first trip to the World Series in 29 years with a dominant 11-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field led by six solid innings of work from pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
The Dodgers now wait for the winner of the American League Championship Series, which the New York Yankees lead 3-2 with two games remaining at Minute Maid Park.
With Clayton Kershaw and Jose Quintana in their usual four-day rest between games, this match ended being quite different from the NLCS game 1 when the same two pitchers faced each other, and the Dodgers won 5-2.
That game reached the fifth the top of the sixth inning with both teams tied at two, this time, however, the Dodgers victory was never in doubt.
Although the Dodgers are usually quite selective and patient at the plate, they decided to set the tone early in this game as Cody Bellinger doubled in the top of the first to drive in the speedy Chris Taylor, who had reached base after a walk by Quintana.
Cubs fans that were still settling in and thinking about game 4’s win, were dumbfounded by the early lead. Although it sounds harsh, from that moment on the game’s result was already decided. Clayton Kershaw, who has had his dose of postseason letdowns, was determined to not let the slight lead go to waste on his account.
Kershaw, who reached speeds of up to 95 miles per hour on his fastball, masterfully sailed the early innings combining also making use of his slider and curve to retire nine of the first 10 Chicago batters he faced.
A home run by Kike Hernandez in the second inning would be a sign of things to come for the Dodgers as they would score five runs in the third inning to utterly knock the Cubs down and almost eliminate any fight they still had left in them.
All nine batters stepped up to the plate in the third inning as the Dodgers scored five runs and six hits.
After Quintana left the game having pitched barely two innings and looking unprepared for a game of this magnitude, Kike Hernandez’ drove in four runs with a grand slam. Hernandez hit his second home run of the night off Hector Rondon to give the Dodgers a 7-0 lead.
After Rondon, who has probably pitched his last game as a Cub, lasted just one inning Lackey took the mound but he was unable to stop the bleeding as the Dodgers scored again in the fourth when Logan Forsythe doubled to drive in two more runs.
Clayton Kershaw was very effective, but not flawless in his outing. In the bottom of the fourth, he allowed the Cubs’ only run of the night when Kris Bryant hit a solo home run to avoid the shutout.
With the game outcome already decided manager Dave Roberts decided to take Kershaw out after six solid innings of work and 89 pitches, probably thinking about starting him in the first game of the World Series.
The Dodgers bullpen took care of business the rest of the way as Los Angeles cruised to their first World Series since 1988.
Kike Hernandez third homer of the night in the top of the ninth was the icing on the cake as he became the first players since the Angels Adam Kennedy to hit three homers in a league championship series (2002).
Despite reaching the National League Championship Series for the third consecutive year, the Chicago Cubs will join the large list of teams that have failed to win back-to-back titles. The (1998-2000) New York Yankees were the last team that successfully won the World Series in consecutive years.