The Dodgers were dealt a huge blow just hours before the first game of the National League Championship Series. Corey Seager was deemed ineligible to play because of a back sprain. He was left off the postseason roster and replaced by Charlie Culberson. It’s a tough one for the Dodgers, but they persevered to defeat the Cubs in the opening game by a 5-2 score. Much to the chagrin of Keith Olberman and the TBS announcers. Culberson (Seager’s replacement) even proved himself worthy by doubling and scoring later in the game on a play that was challenged and overturned.
NLCS Game 1-Dodgers Lead 1-0
Cubs 2 4 0
Dodgers 5 8 0
The Dodgers had to come from behind to do it. Clayton Kershaw was good, but not great as he tossed five innings allowing two earned runs on four hits and striking out four. Unfortunately one of those hits was a two-run shot from Albert Almora Jr. In the fourth inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead early. Kershaw was removed after five innings for a pinch-hitter, and he was not involved in the decision.
The Dodgers were stymied by left hander Jose Quintana for the first half of the game. Quintana allowed just one hit through the first four innings, flummoxing the Dodger bats. However the Dodgers would rally to score two runs in the bottom of the fifth, and another run in the sixth to knock Quintana out of the game. The Dodgers added two more runs in the seventh.
Yasiel Puig was the hero, going 2 for 3 with an RBI double and a solo home run. But Chris Taylor’s solo blast in the sixth inning put the Dodgers ahead and sent Dodger Stadium into delirium. That fifth inning started when Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes reached on consecutive walks. Puig then doubled into the gap to score Logi Bear and the Dodgers were on the board. Then Culberson’s sacrifice fly tied the score. Chris Taylor smacked one into the pavilions in the sixth inning to put the Dodgers in the lead.
Culberson was involved in a controversial call at the plate in the bottom of the seventh. First things first, Puig smashed one off lefty Mike Montgomery that landed just over the left field wall. That put the Dodgers up by a 4-2 score. Then Culberson doubles. After Brandon Morrow’s sacrifice bunt that didn’t move Culberson over, Taylor reached on an infield single to short. Justin Turner smoked a single into left field, as Culberson was waived in.
The throw was on target but Chicago catcher Willson Contreras’s leg was blocking the running lane. Culberson slid and was unable to get his hand in. The umpires originally called him out, but the Dodgers wisely challenged. The New York office overturned the call and Culberson was ruled safe to give the Dodgers a 5-2 lead. Maddon argued but to no avail. he was then thrown out of the game which made everything better.
The Dodger bullpen was fantastic, Tony Cingrani, Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow, Tony Watson and finally Kenley Jansen all held the Cubs scoreless. They didn’t allow a single base runner, retiring 18 consecutive Chicago hitters. This is the first time the Dodgers have won the opening game of the NLCS in 32 years.
The Dodgers are now three wins away from the pennant. The Dodgers will give the ball to Rich Hill tomorrow in game 2. The Cubs will counter with Jon Lester. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 PM PST, and televised on TBS.
Three more wins!!! Bluetober is in full force guys. Go Blue!!!!