2016 NLDS
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Chicago Cubs



Cubs 2016 Playoffs

National League Championship Series

Cubs defeat the Dodgers 4 games to 2

************************************************************

October 22, 2016

Game 6

Cubs 5 Dodgers 0

Well, before I give the recap of this historic Cubs victory, the Cubs are going to the World Series!!!!!!!!!

Jake Arrieta won the Cy Young award last year and Jon Lester or Kyle Hendricks may follow him up with that award this season. That being said, to most, Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers left-hander is widely considered the best pitcher in all of baseball. He battled through a back injury in 2016 which will cost him Cy Young consideration for the year, but he shut down the Cubs in game 2 of this series so you had to like the Dodgers chances of sending the series to a game 7. But Kershaw, who has been used a lot in this postseason, was not at his best which was great news for the Cubs offense and Kyle Hendricks.

The Cubs got started early, scoring a run after just hte 2nd batter of the game when Kris Bryant drove in Dexter Fowler. The Cubs seemed to have a good approach of going to the oppoosite field quite often. The Cubs benefited from an error by Dodgers, leftfielder, Andrew Toles. the Cubs had a great start scoring 2 runs in the first inning. Dexter Fowler drove in a run in the thrid inning and the Cubs even managed 2 home runs off Kershaw when Willson Contreras went deep in the 4th inning and Anthony Rizzo drove in the 5th run of the game with a home run in the 5th inning. The Cubs had knocked out Kershaw leading the game 5-0.

Kyle Hendricks gave up a single to Andrew Toles on the first pitche of the game. But when Javy Baez made a great play to tag Toles and turn a double play, Hendricks was really at the top fo his game. Hendricks only gave up one more single in the game before being taken out of the game by Cubs manager, Joe Maddon in the 8th inning. Aroldis Chapman was able to finish up allowing just a walk. When the batter that walked was retired on a double play to end the game, it meant that Hendricks & Chapman had faced the minimum of 27 batters in the game. It is just the 2nd time in postseason history that a team has done this, the only other time was Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

The Cubs put an end to the Curse of the Billy Goat and go to their first World Series since 1945 (71 years). The Cubs will try to break their 108 year old drought without a World Series Championship. The last Cubs World Series championship team was in 1908.

Game ending double play



Statcast gives you the Cubs scoring highlights



Pat Hughes calls some big games in 2016



Kyle Hendricks great performance in Game 6


NLCS-Cubs vs Dodgers

October 20, 2016
NLCS Game 5
Cubs 8 Dodgers 4

Jon Lester pitches for the Cubs in a critical game 5, the final game of the NLCS in Los Angeles. The winner goes up 3-2 in the Series. Lester follows up a great pitching performance in Game 1 and pitches a solid 7 innings for the Cubs, giving up just one run.

Anthony Rizzo drove in the first run in the first inning and when Addison Russell homered off Dodgers pitcher, Julio Urias, the Cubs took a lead they would not relinquish.

The Dodgers weren't shy at all about trying to exploit Lester's difficulty holding runners on first base and bunting quite often to force Lester field the ball and throw to first. Lester fielded one and rather than throwing over hand, he actually made a nice bounce pass throwing the ball into the ground and one hop into Anthony Rizzo's glove. I attended one game this year where he pulled off the same type of play!! And when Adrian Gonzalez got a bunt past Lester, Javier Baez was able to throw him out at first base even though he began the play in short right field.

Baez has really come through on a big stage. I think it's safe now to say his performance in this postseason compares favorably to 1984 when Ryne Sandberg made himself well known to all of major league baseball and how Mark Grace made a name for himself in the 1989 playoffs against the Giants and Will Clark.

In this game, Baez had 3 hits and put the game away with a bases loaded double in the 8th inning to give the Cubs an 8-1 lead.

The Cubs are just one victory away from a World Series appearance!!!!!!!!!!!!

Addison Russell homers for 2nd consecutive night, giving Cubs a 3-1 lead



Javier Baez great defensive play



Measuring how great Javier Baez's play was



Baez breaks the game open with a bases loaded double


*************************************************

October 19, 2016

NLCS Game 4
Cubs 10 Dodgers 2



The Cubs entered game 4 with it being sort of a "must win" situation. The team was taking an 18 inning scoreless streak being shut out in both games 2 and 3. The streak continued to 21 innings until the Cubs finally broke out of their streak. Ben Zobrist began the inning with a bunt single and Addison Russell's 2-run home run was a big hit of the inning and a big one for Russell, who had a great season, but had really struggled in the postseason until this game. The other struggling Cubs hitter was Anthony Rizzo, who broke out of his slump as well with a home run and 3 hits borrowing teammate's Matt Szczur's bat.

John Lackey pitched alright for the Cubs, but when he walked the first 2 Dodger's batters in the 5th inning, Joe Maddon decided his night was over. Mike Montgomery pitched well to get the win for the Cubs.

Check out the videos below of game 4 that includes a controversial call at home plate that went the Cubs way as Adrian Gonzalez was called out on a very close tag play at home plate.

Measuring Addison Russell's home run



Willson Contreras picks off runner at second base.



Controversial play at home plate



Anthony Rizzo caught on audio talking to the home plate umpire



NLCS Game 3
Dodgers 6 Cubs 0

Cubs fans have reason to worry, now. Cubs are on the wrong side of history as they are shut out in back to back games for the first time in their team history. With the 6-0 win, the Dodgers take a 2 games to 1 lead in the best of 7 series. At this point, the Dodgers have taken away and maintained now home field advanatage, meaning that the can close out the NLCS for a World Series appearance if they win the next two games in Los Angeles. The Cubs would need to one of the two remaining games in Los Angeles to take back home field advantage and send the series back to Wrigley Field for games 6 & 7.

To add insult to injury in game 2 for Cubs fans (including myself), the Dodgers starting pitcher was Rich Hill, a promising rookie that came up with the Cubs and showed a lot of ability early appearing for the Cubs in the 2007 playoffs (game 3 also). Hill pitched very well against his former team, he looked shaky in the 2nd inning, but after he struck out Addison Russell and got Miguel Montero to ground out to 2nd base, he pretty much dominated the Cubs the rest of the way before letting the Dodgers bullpen and closer, Kenley Jensen preserved the victory for the Dodgers. The Cubs scoreless innings drought was extended to 18 innings after this defeat, but give the Dodger's much of the credit for this.

I was watching this game, but also following some baseball analysts on Twitter that indicated Jake Arrieta looked good. It was the home run ball that did him in. Yasmani Grandal, who hit 27 home runs during the regular season hit a 2-run home run and Justin Turner hit a solo home run to lead off the sixth inning and knock Arrieta out of the game. Let's hope the 4 innings that the bullpen had to pitch to finish up the game doesn't hurt us in games 4 and 5.

The Cubs offense really struggled. Kris Bryant did get 2 hits and Dexter Fowler had the only extra base hit with a double late in the game. Anthony Rizzo did get a stolen base which was rather comical because Rich Hill, for some reason, kept throwing over to first base as if Rizzo were a top MLB base stealer (which he is not). When he took off and stole second, that was probably the most animated I got watching this game (sad!).

It's really time for the Cubs to be the best they've been all year or the 2016 season could be history very soon!!

****************************************************************************** Game 2

October 18, 2016

Game 2
Dodgers 1 Cubs 0

This one is easy. Clayton Kershaw is a great pitcher and he shut the Cubs down with help from Kenley Jensen, the great Dodgers closer.

Cubs had Kyle Hendricks, who led the NL in ERA in 2016 and pitched well, however the one bad pitch was hit for a home run by Adrian Gonzalez. Enough for a Dodgers win.

The Cubs only had a few bright spots on offense, a long foul ball by struggling hitter, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez came very close to a home run off Kershaw in the 7th inning. The night before the wind was blowing out, had it been blowing out on Sunday, Baez could've won the game with his long drive. Baez, who has been incredible this postseason, also made a very great double play letting a soft line drive drop to get 2 outs rather than one.



******************************************************************************

October 15, 2016 Game 1
Cubs 8 Dodgers 3

I was lucky enough to go see Game 4 of the NLCS in 2015 and it was an incredible game. This game may have topped that one!!

On the mound, Jon Lester was pitching great and offensively, the Cubs struck early when Dexter Fowler began the Cubs attack with a single in first inning and scored on Kris Bryant's double off the left field wall. In the 2nd inning, Jason Heyward, who struggled all year offensively after signing a big offseason contract, tripled to right field and scored when Javier Baez got a hustle bloop double in left-center field. Baez advanced to third and when Jon Lester faked a bunt, Baez was leaning so far off third base, that when the Dodgers catcher threw behind him, Baez took off for home, scoring the first steal of home in postseason history since Jimmy Slagle did it in the 1907 World Series!!

A 3-1 lead lasted late in the game (the long Dodger run being a wind-blown home run by Andre Ethier), but Cubs manager, Joe Maddon made a move that has been criticized when he took Lester out after six innings to pinch hit for him the previous inning. Even Lester walked on the outside of the dugout to avoid the Cubs manager and possible heated discussion. Lester is a very competitive pitcher. He reminds me a lot of Kerry Wood who had the same competitive fire about him.

The bullpen did get into trouble in the 8th inning as the Dodgers loaded the bases after Kris Bryant barely missed tagging the bag before Andrew Tholes on a ground ball that he backhanded.

A 2nd questioned move by Joe Maddon was bringing in Aroldis Chapman, who has recently struggled coming into games with runners already on base. Chapman did a great job striking out the first 2 batters, but Adrian Gonzalez hit a 2-run line drive single to tie the game 3-3. Cubs fans were very down until the bottom of the 8th inning.

After Ben Zobrist doubled, Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts had his own interesting moves as he walked Jason Heyward intentionally and after Javier Baez flied out, Roberts intentionally walked pinch hitter, Chris Coghlan. This move was seen as forcing Joe Maddon to pinch hit for Aroldis Chapman so that the Dodgers would not have to face him in the 9th inning. The one thing Dave Roberts didn't count on was Cubs pinch hitter, Miguel Montero. Montero blasted an 0-2 pitch into the right field bleachers for a Grand Slam. To keep the fun going, Dexter Fowler followed Montero's home run with another home run. The Dodgers got a run in the 9th inning, but Cubs take Game 1 with an 8-4 victory.





October 18, 2016

Game 2
Dodgers 1 Cubs 0

This one is easy. Clayton Kershaw is a great pitcher and he shut the Cubs down with help from Kenley Jensen, the great Dodgers closer.

Cubs had Kyle Hendricks, who led the NL in ERA in 2016 and pitched well, however the one bad pitch was hit for a home run by Adrian Gonzalez. Enough for a Dodgers win.

The Cubs only had a few bright spots on offense, a long foul ball by struggling hitter, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez came very close to a home run off Kershaw in the 7th inning. The night before the wind was blowing out, had it been blowing out on Sunday, Baez could've won the game with his long drive. Baez, who has been incredible this postseason, also made a very great double play letting a soft line drive drop to get 2 outs rather than one.







Fan Duel Fantasy Sports