Dodgers-Cubs NLCS Game 6: Final score, things to know as Cubs reach World Series
The Cubs are going to the World Series for the first time since 1945
Chicago leaned on a strong performance from starter Kyle Hendricks, and contributions from a number of hitters, including Dexter Fowler and Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs will play the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series, beginning on Tuesday night in Cleveland.
Here are nine more things to know about Game 6:
1. Hendricks was masterful
Hopefully this is remembered as The Kyle Hendricks Game and not as Clayton Kershaw's latest postseason dud. That would be a shame. Hendricks was terrific. Absolutely terrific. Some nuggets:
- Andrew Toles laced a single to right on the first pitch of the game. The Dodgers didn't record another hit until Josh Reddick's one-out single in the eighth.
- Between the two singles, Hendricks retired 20 of the 21 batters he faced. The one baserunner came on an error.
- Only six of the 23 batters Hendricks faced hit the ball out of the infield. Six!
- Hendricks (and the Cubs in general) did not allow a single baserunner to advance as far as second base. Not one.
- The Dodgers sent 23 batters to plate against Hendricks and 17 saw a first pitch strike. He was ahead in the count all night.
Kendricks flummoxed the Dodgers with three pitches, really. According to Brooks Baseball, Hendricks threw 33 cutters (24 for strikes), 26 changeups (17 for strikes), and 14 sinkers (10 for strikes). He pounded the zone with everything. The Dodgers were on the defensive all night.
Aroldis Chapman closed things out with a five-out save. The Dodgers sent the minimum 27 batters to the plate in Game 6. They had three baserunners total. Two were erased on double plays and the other on a pickoff. A pitching masterclass.
2. Things didn't go Kershaw's way in the first inning
The Cubs jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning and it was a Murphy's Law inning for Kershaw. Whatever could do wrong, did go wrong. Dexter Fowler started the inning with a bloop ground rule double that stayed just fair inside the right field line. This was not a screaming line drive in the gap. It was an excuse me swing.
The next batter, Kris Bryant, drove in Fowler with a single to right field. It was a good at-bat and the type of hit Bryant literally did not get once at home this season:
Compare Kris Bryant's hit just now to his hit chart all season at Wrigley. He literally had never managed a hit in that spot. pic.twitter.com/7m40wAk7l7— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) October 23, 2016
Because a bloop double and a "he didn't do that once all season" single weren't enough, Toles straight up dropped Anthony Rizzo's line drive in left field. It him square in the glove. I mean, look:
Clayton Kershaw can't pitch in the postseason pic.twitter.com/02f2FEFIzC— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) October 23, 2016
Woof. That's brutal. It put runners on second and third with no out, and the Cubs capitalized on Ben Zobrist's sacrifice fly. Kershaw did well to limit the damage to just the one run after Toles dropped that ball, but still, it was 2-0 Cubs early.
This is the first time all season that Kershaw has allowed 2 runs in the first inning of a game.— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) October 23, 2016
Bloop double, single that Bryant didn't do literally all season, dropped fly ball, sac fly. What a rally. Kershaw threw 30 pitches in the first inning for the first time since 2011, according to the Fox Sports 1 broadcast.
3. Kershaw wasn't good either
Yes, we can blame the defense for that two-run first inning, at least somewhat. There was some misfortune there for the Dodgers. That doesn't absolve Kershaw entirely though. The Cubbies were all over him in the second inning, for example:
- Addison Russell: Double into the corner in a two-strike count.
- Albert Almora: Rocket ground ball turned into an out thanks to Justin Turner's great play.
- Kyle Hendricks: Struck out in a seven-pitch (!) at-bat.
- Dexter Fowler: RBI double into the corner in an 0-2 count.
Opponents hit .116/.133/.148 in two-strike counts against Kershaw during the regular season, then Russell and Fowler created a run with two two-strike doubles in that second inning.
Fowler came into the game 18-for-44 (.409) lifetime against Kershaw.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) October 23, 2016
Kershaw couldn't get curveball near the strike zone early in the game, so the Cubs didn't have to worry about it at all. They could sit fastball and slider, and eliminate one of Kershaw's weapons.
All told, Kershaw allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and no walks in five innings. Five of the seven hits went for extra bases (three doubles, two homers). He fanned four. A poor outing even when giving him a mulligan for that first inning.
4. This guy wasn't letting another Steve Bartman incident happen
Not all heroes wear capes.
5. Hendricks "stole" a strike with fireworks
With a runner on first and one out in the second, Hendricks "stole" a first pitch strike when fireworks went off in center field and distracted Joc Pederson at the plate. Hendricks was in the middle of his delivery when the fireworks accidentally went off, Pederson stepped out, and home plate umpire Ted Barrett counted the pitch anyway. I'm not sure what else he's supposed to do there. Call the play dead? Conspiracy!
6. The Dodgers were really sloppy
Simply put, the Dodgers did not deserve to win this series, specifically the last three games. They were very sloppy. Defensively, on the bases, whatever. It was a mess. A half-inning after Toles dropped that fly ball in left field, Reddick got picked off first base (by a lot) to end the inning.
Yuck. The Dodgers were going to have to play close to perfect to beat this Cubs team. They were far from it in Games 4-6. It was capital-U Ugly.
7. Dave Roberts did all he could
With his team down 5-0 after five innings, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did all he could to keep the score right there. He went to closer Kenley Jansen, who was by far the best man for the job. Jansen went nine up, nine down on 30 total pitches. This was the anti-Buck Showalter. There was no saving Jansen for later. The Dodgers' best chance to win involved preventing the Cubs for tacking on runs. Kenley had the best chance to do that among the club's available relievers.
8. The Dodgers made dubious history
By any measure, the Dodgers have been wildly successful regular season team the last few years. They've won four straight NL West titles and at least 91 games in each of those four seasons. Many teams would kill for that much success.
And yet, there's this:
ELIAS: If the Dodgers lose the NLCS, they will set an MLB record for the most consecutive postseason trips without reaching a World Series.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 22, 2016
Brutal. Getting the postseason is great, but geez, at some point you have to, you know, win. And please, spare me the "postseason is a crapshoot" talk. That excuse only lasts so long. The Dodgers aren't even the 1991-94 Buffalo Bills. At least the Bills got to the Super Bowl, you know?
9. The Cubs are in the damn World Series
How cool is that?
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