Cubs poised to make his­tory

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

THE Chicago Cubs are re­turn­ing to the World Se­ries for the first time in 71 years, a 5-0 vic­tory over the Los An­ge­les Dodgers giv­ing them a chance to end the long­est ti­tle drought in North Amer­i­can sports.

The hard-luck Cubs haven’t won the World Se­ries since 1908, and last played in Ma­jor League Baseball’s cham­pi­onship show­case in 1945.

But with the vic­tory be­fore 42,386 ec­static fans at Wrigley Field, the Cubs wrapped up the Na­tional League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries four games to two and will face the Cleve­land In­di­ans in the 112th World Se­ries start­ing to­mor­row in Cleve­land.

The In­di­ans haven’t won a World Se­ries ti­tle since 1948.

“I thought we played one of our best games we played all year tonight, un­der these cir­cum­stances,” man­ager Joe Mad­don said. “The de­fence, the pitch­ing, the hit­ting – that was a com­plete game of baseball.”

The Cubs pounced quickly on Dodgers pitch­ing ace Clay­ton Ker­shaw, scor­ing two runs in the first in­ning to stake Chicago start­ing pitcher Kyle Hen­dricks to an early lead.

Af­ter giv­ing up a first-pitch sin­gle, Hen­dricks dom­i­nated, fac­ing the min­i­mum num­ber of Dodgers hit­ters through seven and one-thir shut-out in­nings.

Cubs catcher Will­son Con­tr­eras and An­thony Rizzo both home­red off Ker­shaw as the Dodgers were de­nied their first trip to the World Se­ries since 1988.

A Cubs team that won a ma­jor league-leading 103 reg­u­lar-sea­son games chased Ker­shaw af­ter five in­nings. Ker­shaw, who pitched seven score­less in­nings in a game-two win over the Cubs at Wrigley a week ear­lier, gave up five runs, four of them earned, on seven hits.

“The Cubs’ hit­ters, they had a great game plan tonight,” said Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts. “There was traf­fic all night for Clay­ton. And he gave it ev­ery­thing he had, but when he did make a mis­take, they made him pay.”

When the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig grounded into a dou­ble play to end the game, Wrigley Field erupted as Cubs play­ers stormed the mound to cel­e­brate.

“This is un­be­liev­able right now,” Hen­dricks said. “To­day, that might have been the best game I pitched all year. I had my fast­ball com­mand, change-up, curve­ball. I had ev­ery­thing go­ing.”

Chicago sec­ond base­man Javier Baez de­liv­ered more heads-up de­fen­sive play, tag­ging An­drew Toles out to spark a dou­ble play in the first in­ning.

In the bot­tom half of the in­ning, Kris Bryant sin­gled to right field to score Dex­ter Fowler for the first run, and the Cubs cap­i­talised on Toles’ er­ror in left field to score a sec­ond run on Ben Zo­brist’s sac­ri­fice fly.

It was the first time this sea­son that Ker­shaw al­lowed two runs in the first in­ning and was a sign of things to come.

Ad­di­son Rus­sell led off the bot­tom of the sec­ond with a dou­ble and scored on Fowler’s two-out sin­gle. Con­tr­eras home­red off Ker­shaw in the fourth and Rizzo in the fifth.

‘Just get­ting started’ It was sweet re­lief for long-suf­fer­ing Cubs fans, whose team were one win from the World Se­ries in 1984 be­fore San Diego ral­lied to win three straight games and ad­vance to the Fall Clas­sic.

In 2003, the Cubs led the NLCS 3-2 and were up 3-0 in the eighth in­ning of the sixth game when a fan, Steve Bart­man, tried to grab a foul ball in the front row of the stands and dis­rupted a po­ten­tial leap­ing catch by Cubs out­fielder Moises Alou. The Florida Mar­lins ral­lied to win that game and the next, deny­ing the Cubs again.

Some say the heartache can be traced back to that 1945 World Se­ries, when leg­end has it Billy Sia­nis, owner of the Billy Goat Tav­ern, cursed the club when asked to take his pet goat from the ball­park.

“The his­tory means a lot,” Hen­dricks said. “It puts it in per­spec­tive for us. We en­joy it more, be­cause we know what it means to the fans of this city.

“At the end of the day,” he added, “it’s about baseball, it’s about win­ning games, and it comes down to mak­ing pitches.”

While the In­di­ans still await, the Cubs’ achieve­ment was al­ready be­ing cel­e­brated through­out Chicago and beyond.

“In­cred­i­ble. Ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble,” an en­thu­si­as­tic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a state­ment.

“The Chicago Cubs are Na­tional League cham­pi­ons. Across Chicago and around the world, gen­er­a­tions of Cubs fans, from the very young to the very, very old, are cel­e­brat­ing tonight.”

But Cubs slug­ger Bryant said he and his team­mates are fo­cused only on the im­me­di­ate fu­ture.

“We’re too young. We don’t care about it,” Bryant said of the Cubs’ decades of agony. “This is a new team. We’re en­joy­ing it – and our work is just get­ting started.” –

Photo: AFP

For the first time in 71 years, the Cubs will play for the World Se­ries ti­tle.

The Chicago Cubs go wild 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 Oc­to­ber 22 in Chicago.

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