‘Cursed’ Cubs back in World Series after 71 years
The Chicago Cubs won their first National League pennant since 1945 and are a step closer to ending a 108-year World Series drought after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5 -0 on Saturday to clinch a 4-2 victory in the NL Championship Series.
Chicago’s Kyle Hendricks outpitched Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw while Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early at Wrigley Field. The pennant drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off wild celebrations among the success-starved fans.
The Cubs will open the World Series at Cleveland tomorrow. The Indians haven’t won it since 1948. “This city deserves it so much,” Rizzo said. “We got four more big ones to go, but we’re going to enjoy this. We’re going to the World Series. I can’t even believe that.”
Hendricks pitched 7-1/3 scoreless innings. Aroldis Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.
Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the MVP award for the series. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, had a 1.38 earned run average in two starts. The eternal “wait till next year” is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now. “We’re too young. We don’t care about it,” star slugger Kris Bryant said. “We don’t look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We’re enjoying it and our work’s just getting started.”
The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games. And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.
In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn’t allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when a fan reached out to snare a ball that would have been caught by an outfielder, allowing a Marlins rally that turned the course of the series.
Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 games. This time, no such ill luck. Bryant drove in one run and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one. Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth. Hendricks left to a standing ovation after allowing a single with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was on the game’s first pitch.
Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in postseason games over his career; a stark contrast to his dominance in regular season games.
The Dodgers haven’t been to the World Series since winning in 1988. Pitching on five days’ rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner was forced to throw 30 pitches in the first inning alone. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant’s single had the crowd shaking the 102year-old ballpark. They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo’s fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly. The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.
CHICAGO: The Chicago Cubs pose after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on Saturday in Chicago, Illinois.