Pennant fever has swept across Southern California. There is only one known cure and that’s more Dodger baseball in October. The boys in blue will certainly oblige us. The Dodgers are taking baseball by storm and all of Los Angeles is buzzing. Understandably so. After Justin Turner’s historic walk-off blast that won game 2 for the Dodgers, they confidently strode into Wrigley Field with a 2-0 NLCS lead, and looking to step on the Cub’s throats for a 3-0 NLCS series lead.
The Dodgers did just that by silencing the Wrigley Field crowd with a resoundingly triumphant 6-1 win. The Dodgers are now just one win away from the World Series. Let that sink in for a minute. The Dodgers need to win one more to advance to the World Series for the first time in 29 years. It’s all happening guys and this is everything we’ve been waiting for our entire lives.
NLCS Game 3-Dodgers Lead Series 3-0
Dodgers 6 9 0
Cubs 1 8 2
The Dodgers and Cubs both shuffled their lineups before game 3. Andre Ethier was placed in the lineup batting fifth and playing left field, as Chris Taylor shifted to shortstop. Joc Pederson played center, and Chase Utley was penciled in at second. For the Cubs they placed ice cold Javy Baez on the bench and started Addison Russell at shortstop.
The Dodgers strangled the life out of the Cubs like a python. Darvish was fantastic tossing 6.1 innings of one-run ball. He stifled the Chicago bats all night with a devastating arsenal. Darvish walked one, struck out seven and made just 81 pitches. Darvish also drew a bases loaded walk becoming the first pitcher since 1977 to do that in the postseason.
One of the stories from game 3 was the return of Andre Ethier. The long time Dodger slugged a solo home run in the second inning that tied the game. Chris Taylor homered and tripled and Yasiel Puig collected two more hits. The Dodger bullpen was fantastic throwing another 2.2 scoreless frames. Kenley Jansen finished it off and the Dodgers are just one win from the National League pennant.
The game started off well for the Cubs. Kyle Schwarber smashed a solo home run in the bottom of the first to put the Cubs on the board first. That would be their only run of the game. Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras singled but Darvish recovered to whiff Anthony Rizzo and Jon Jay to end the inning.
The Dodgers would answer right back against opposing starter Kyle Hendricks in the top of the second. The right hander tossed 7.1 shutout frames against the Dodgers in game 6 of the 2016 NLCS. This year the results were much different. Hendricks would last just five innings allowing four runs on six hits and striking out five.
Captain clutch Andre Ethier (who has now played in 45 postseason games) pulls a home run over the chain link fence in right field to tie the score at 1-1. The Dodgers would take the lead in the top of the third when Taylor’s solo blast to center field stunned the Wrigley Field crowd. The Dodgers would never trail again.
The Dodgers scored again in the top of the fifth. Joc Pederson strokes a double just inside the right field line. Darvish’s sacrifice was not successful, but Joc would score when Taylor triples inside the third base line to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. The Dodgers would add another run in the top of the sixth when Puig reached on an error from Bryant and Ethier singled him to second. Maddon hooks Hendricks and brings in Carl Edwards Jr. from the Chicago bullpen. Austin Barnes walks to load the bases. Unfortunately Chase Utley’s ground out and Joc’s fly ball out is unable to get anyone home.
With two outs, up comes Darvish. Manager Dave Roberts decided to not pinch-hit for him. I can understand the decision. Darvish was pitching dominantly. The Dodgers already had a two-run lead. So Darvish showed bunt the entire at-bat, spooking Edwards, and he walked him to force in a run.
The Cubs played a sloppy game. The Dodgers could have scored more runs in the seventh frame, but Taylor was thrown out at the plate. Ian Happ misplayed a Cody Bellinger fly ball for a two-base error. After Justin Turner walked, Puig’s double play ball and Ethier’s ground out ended the inning.
The eighth inning got weird. Logan Forsythe draws a lead-off walk against Mike Montgomery. Barnes single puts runners at first and second. Pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson swings and misses on strike three, but the ball hits Contreras in the arm and bounced into the Chicago dugout. Contreras got crossed up and the ruling is a passed ball and the Dodgers get a run. Kyle Farmer’s sacrifice fly plated the sixth run.
Darvish allowed three singles over the next 5.1 innings. With one out in the seventh, the Dodgers brought in Tony Watson. He does his job by getting Javier Baez to pop out and striking out Happ. Brandon Morrow pitches a scoreless eighth and Ross Stripling is brought in to pitch the ninth with the Dodgers up 6-1.
But Alex Avilla singles, and Albert Almora’s ground-rule double puts runners at second and third. Enrique Hernandez made a valiant dive on the play but the ball rolled into the ivy. Hernandez put his hand up to signify the play was dead. Both runners ended up at third base confused as one of them thought the play was still active.
Roberts wasn’t messing around so he immediately brings in the big man Kenley Jansen to close it out. He gets Addison Russell to pop out for the first out. Then he blows away Tommy La Stella for the second out. Finally he strikes out Happ for the final out. Dodgers win!
Think about how much smack the Cubs have talked about the Dodgers since the series began. Jason Heyward was sure the series would be tied. Chicago manager Joe Maddon stated the Dodgers were the same as last year. Now the Cubs are a lifeless demoralized club. The looks on the sad Cub’s fans faces were just priceless.
The Dodgers (6-0 in the postseason) can clinch the National League pennant tomorrow. They’ll give the ball to left hander Alex Wood. The Cubs will send Jake Arrieta to the mound as they cling to keep their season alive another day. First pitch is scheduled for 6PM PST. I can’t believe this is all happening. This is it! Our moment has finally arrived!
— Stacie Wheeler (@StacieMWheeler) October 18, 2017