For the first time since 1988, the Dodgers are back in the World Series. They finished off the Cubs in the NLCS with an 11-1 win in Game 5 on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.
Kiké Hernandez hit three home runs, including a grand slam in the third inning that ended the competitive phase of the game. Hernandez set Dodgers postseason records with three home runs (tying the major league record) and seven RBI, the latter tying a League Championship Series record.
His grand slam was just the fourth hit by the Dodgers in postseason play, and the first since James Loney in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS, also at Wrigley Field.
This is the 19th World Series trip for the Dodgers and their 22nd National League pennant (they finished tops in the NL three times before the World Series existed — in 1890, 1899 and 1900), the latter trailing only the Cardinals and Giants’ 23 each.
The 28 years in between World Series trips was the longest in Dodgers franchise history, surpassing the 20 years (1921-1940) between the pennants won by Brooklyn in 1920 and 1941.
“To be in a situation like this, our guys are joking around, we’ve got music blaring in the clubhouse,” Dave Roberts said before the game. “So we’re approaching it just like any other game, just like we have all year. I like where we’re at.”
Where the Dodgers were at was grinding out at-bats against a starting pitcher, a staple for them this October.
The top of the order wreaked havoc for the Dodgers, fueling the Dodgers’ nine runs in the first four innings. Chris Taylor reached base his first three times up and scored twice, Cody Bellinger had three hits including an RBI double, and Justin Turner drove in his seventh run of the series.
Jose Quintana faced four batters in the third inning but didn’t record an out. His night consisted of six runs allowed and six outs recorded. In the NLCS, Cubs starters threw 23⅓ innings in five games (a 5.01 ERA), and Cubs relievers threw 20⅓ innings (5.75 ERA).
Clayton Kershaw was the beneficiary of plenty of support, though was stingy in his own right. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, when Kris Bryant homered to cut the Dodgers’ advantage to 9-1.
That was the only run allowed in six innings by Kershaw, who struck out five. Dodgers pitchers held Chicago to eight runs in five games the NLCS, all scored on home runs.
The trio of Kenta Maeda, Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen ended the night, and finished off a spotless series from the bullpen. Dodgers relievers in the NLCS pitched 17 scoreless innings, with four hits and one walk allowed, and 22 strikeouts.
The Dodgers bullpen has pitched 23 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to Game 2 of the NLDS.
The Dodgers are 7-1 in the playoffs, and have outscored their opponents 48-19 in the process. Starting on Tuesday, they will play either the Yankees or Astros in the World Series, with the first two games at Dodger Stadium.