Dodgers 11, Cubs 1: L.A. slams door on Cubs, clinch first World Series berth since 1988

Remember that September losing streak? Neither do I. The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Chicago Cubs in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series in spectacular fashion on Thursday night, capturing their first NL pennant since 1988. The “underdog” Dodgers have now gone 7-1 so far this postseason, and they need only four more wins to bring a World Series championship back to L.A.

Clayton Kershaw finally broke free from the shadows of his past postseason woes with a dominant pitching performance, and the Dodgers were swinging bats composed of dynamite.

Your dream will become reality, 2013 Stacie.

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Chris Taylor‘s nine-pitch leadoff walk to start the first inning set the table for the Dodgers, who struck first and never looked back. Cody Bellinger rattled around an RBI double in the right-field corner of Wrigley Field while Taylor barreled around the base path, scoring from first base. It marked the first time in the series the Dodgers plated a run first.

Kershaw’s scoreless first inning featured an early showing of Public Enemy No. 1.

Enrique Hernandez hit his first career postseason home run to lead off the second inning, angering FOX pundits everywhere. Dodgers up 2-0.

The Dodgers’ defense was on point as well, and Mr. 2016 NLDS clincher himself Charlie Culberson has filled in at shortstop for the injured Corey Seager admirably.

The Dodgers scored in each of the first four innings. In the third, the relentless Dodgers continued the barrage against Jose Quintana. Taylor’s leadoff ground-rule double was followed by a Turner RBI single to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

After the Dodgers chased Quintana from the game, Joe Maddon brought in former Chicago closer Hector Rondon who started off well striking out Logan Forsythe. The thing is, the Dodgers are playing in the clouds, and there has been nobody who has been able to stop them this October.

Kiké Hernandez, folks

Kiké F. Hernandez.

Hernandez’s success is so sweet considering everything his family and homeland have been through.

The Dodgers weren’t done there, oh no. They tacked on another two runs in the fourth on a Logie Bear RBI double, scoring Bellinger and Puig.

The Cubs did finally get on the board in the bottom of the fourth on a Kris Bryant solo home run, the first base hit allowed by Kershaw on the night. Of course the TBS guys (namely Ron Darling) jumped on the opportunity to bring up Kershaw’s home-run problems. A solo homer to a great hitter in a 9-0 game.

Kershaw was tinkering with his slider throughout the game, but his fastball and curveball were working fine. Even without his absolute best stuff, and the TBS guys attemping to insinuate an injury, Kershaw gave the Dodgers just what they needed with six innings of one-run ball. What a difference a year makes. Last year’s NLCS Game 6 misfire can now finally be replaced by tonight’s autumnal gem, some redemption for Kershaw who took the brunt of the blame after the Dodgers were eliminated by the Cubs. We all know that Kershaw’s not going to be satisfied until he pitches his team to a championship. Tonight was the biggest hurdle yet, and the greatest pitcher of my generation did the thing.

Kershaw’s final line: 6IP, 1R, 3H, 1BB, 5K on 89 pitches (60 strikes).

Dave Roberts went to his bullpen for the last three innings, and the relief squad once again were lights out as was usual this postseason. Kenta Maeda pitched a perfect seventh inning, striking out Willson Contreras and Javier Baez in the frame.

Next up was Brandon Morrow, who gave up a meaningless Ian Happ single while striking out the side.

Things quieted down for a bit, but the Dodgers weren’t done for the night. The Cubs were though. Kiké Hernandez proceeded to crush his third dong of the night, a two-run shot to give the Dodgers a laughable 11-1 lead.

History making.

With a 10-run lead (!), there was no reason to bring in Kenley Jansen. But hey, it makes for a nice ending. The big guy induced a lineout to Culberson for the final out, and the pennant belongs to the Boys In Blue.

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Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete recap without some Puig being Puig.

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Glorious baseball, how I love you.

The World Series will commence on Tuesday, October 24 at Dodger Stadium. Start time and opponent (Yankees/Astros) are TBD. All World Series games will be broadcast on FOX. This won’t be stressful or anything. The good news is that Kershaw will be able to start Game 1 on his usual four days rest. Until then, let’s enjoy the celebration.

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the Co-Editor of Lasorda’s Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.