The Dodgers on Thursday night in Chicago crushed the Cubs by a score of 11-1 (box score) and in doing so claimed the National League pennant for the first time since 1988. The Dodgers will advance to the World Series, which begins Tuesday in Los Angeles, to face either the Yankees or the Astros. The reigning-champion Cubs see their 2017 season end.
Now for some things to know about Game 5 and beyond ...
The Cubs took a savage beating
You see the score above. The Cubs got trucked at home by a margin of 10 runs. That puts them in unfortunate company when it comes to the final game of a playoff series ...
Not the list you want to be on, that one.
There were co-MVPs for the NLCS
After the game and up until the presentation was made, a case could have been made for as many as four players to possibly be the MVP of the NLCS. Turner, Taylor, Hernandez and Puig all had valid arguments.
In the end, Turner and Taylor were selected as.
Justin Turner's been huge in the postseason
Even if Turner never plays in the postseason again, he's already established himself as one of the great producers of October. Coming into Game 5, Turner was batting .385/.556/.846 in the NLCS with a pair of home runs (including that Game 2 walk-off). For his career, he had a postseason line of .378/.495/.659 with five home runs in 25 games. That brings us to this ...
Then in Game 5, he drove in the Dodgers' third run of the game with a third-inning single and soon after scored on Enrique Hernandez's grand slam (more on that below). That brings us to this ...
Calling Justin Turner a playoff legend is fully justified, pending perhaps his winning a ring.
The starting pitchers had very different nights
Game 5 occasioned a battle of lefties, and suffice it to say they had very different results. First, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers ...
And now Jose Quintana of the Cubs ...
Therein lies the difference in Game 5.
The Cubs didn't get a hit with runners in scoring position all series
In this five-game series, the Cubs scored a total of eight runs on seven home runs. Seven homers across five games is solid enough, but the Cubs just didn't do anything else on offense. For the series, the Cubs went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position. So that's zero hits in such situations, and not many runners in scoring position. On an individual level, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo -- one of the best one-two punches in any lineup -- went just 5 for 37 in the NLCS. Bryant broke through with a homer in Game 5 to give the duo their only extra-base hit of the series.
Enrique Hernandez had a night to remember
Suffice it to say, the Dodger utility man won't soon forget his performance in the clincher. First, Turner put the second run of the game on the board with second-inning home run to center off Jose Quintana. Then in the third, Hernandez came up with the bases loaded, and Hector Rondon presented him with a hard slider ...
Yep, that's a grand slam, which pretty much sealed the game and put Hernandez in elite franchise company ...
Hernandez's, though, was the first grand slam in a postseason clincher in Dodgers history. Was he done? No, he was not done ...
Yep, he homered again in the ninth off Mike Montgomery. In doing so, he became the first Dodger to homer three times in a postseason game.
Best of all, Hernandez's night of dominance surely meant a lot on a personal level ...
A year ago, Kike Hernandez stopped enjoying baseball. His father was battling cancer. He was struggling on the field...— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) October 20, 2017
This year, he lost his grandfather. Days later the hurricane slammed his home country of Puerto Rico.— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) October 20, 2017
His dad, cancer-free, is at Wrigley watching him have the night of his life. That smile on Kike's face is about a whole lot more than 2 HRs.— Joe Davis (@Joe_Davis) October 20, 2017
Enjoy it, Enrique.
The Cubs of course still had a very good season
Sure, the Cubs are disappointed, since their goal was of course to repeat as champions. Still, they won 92 games, made the playoffs for a third straight year, won the NL Central for a second straight year, beat the Nationals in the NLDS, and handed the Dodgers their only loss of the 2017 postseason to date. , however.
The Dodgers reduced the Giants' lead in pennants won
So with the 2017 NL bracket in the books, here's the update on most pennants won among NL squadrons ...
As recently as 2009, the Dodgers have the most pennants among NL franchises, but then the Giants ripped off three (and three World Series) in a span of five years. With the win on Thursday, though, the Dodgers have pulled to within one pennant of their longtime blood rival.
Wrapping it up in Game 5 was big for the Dodgers
The Dodgers preferred the sweep, of course, but not letting this series get back to L.A. for a Game 6 and or a Game 7 is significant. Game 1 of the World Series, as noted, is slated for Tuesday, and that means four days off for the Dodgers. That, in turn, means full rest for Clayton Kershaw, who presumably will be their Game 1 starter after throwing just 89 pitches on Thursday. If it had instead won in seven games, then they'd have used Rich Hill and Yu Darvish to close out the Cubs. That means either Hill or Darvish would be able to make only one World Series start on normal rest. So everyone gets four days off, and the rotation lines up perfectly for L.A. Closing out the Cubs on Thursday allowed all that to happen.