The best team in baseball in 2017 is headed to their first World Series since 1988. The Dodgers throttled the Cubs 11-1 to mercifully end the NLCS and advance in 5 games. They hope to follow in the 2016 Cubs footsteps to win it all after having the best record in baseball during the regular season. They also avenge their 2016 loss in the NLCS to these same Cubs.
The Game 5 hero was Kike Hernandez, who manged 3 home runs including a grand slam, but Justin Turner was the leader of the offense for the Dodgers this series and their shutdown bullpen. Turner was the NLCS MVP.
Now the Dodgers await to see who they will play. The Yankees, who have fought their way from the wild card game to upset the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS and a 0-2 deficit in the NLCS all the way back to a 3-2 advantage. Now however the series shifts back to Houston and the Astros throw Justin Verlander – who has pitched the best game of the post-season so far – in Game 2 and looking to keep the Astros alive for a winner-take-all Game 7 Saturday night.
When the Dodgers went through a rough stretch in September where they lost 14 of 15 many started to panic. Not the Dodgers. When Yasiel Puig started showing signs of his younger self late in the season and was benched, some said “watch out” for that. The Dodgers just kept rolling, maintained their best record and got ready for the playoffs.
Boy did they.
In this NLCS, the Cubs didn’t manage a single hit of Dodgers relievers until the 8th inning of Game 3. They only had 3 headed into Game 5 and were quickly down 9 with the worlds greatest Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
The Cubs core is still young, but their pitching was known to be an Achilles heel all season long. John Lackey looked completely down though, and any post-season magic he still had from one of his 3 World Championships was gone. Jake Arrieta pitched well in his free agency year but who knows what next year will hold for him and the Cubs.
The last repeat champion in Major League Baseball was the 1998-2000 Yankees, and it will not be the Cubs this year. The last NL team to do it was the 1975-76 Reds. The Dodgers meanwhile are actually 6-12 in their franchise World Series history – and look to keep on going from 1988.
If it is the Dodgers-Yankees, it will reignite one of baseball’s oldest rivalry dating back to their Brooklyn Dodger days. The last time these two teams matched was the Dodgers beating the Yankees in 1981 after the Yankees beat the Dodgers in both 1977-78. If this is the match-up I guarantee the Yankees will have Reggie Jackson remind the Dodgers of this moment.
As for the Dodgers, I can almost guarantee Kirk Gibson will throw out a first pitch at least one night to remind everyone of this moment – and hopefully start creating another moment to show for years to come.