NLCS 2: CHC vs. LAD — Another walk-off wonder

Look, the fact that this game was tied for most of the game says a lot for the tenacity of the Cubs because the Dodgers clearly outplayed them in every turn. Dodgers’ pitchers were almost perfect and quite efficient, while the Cubs’ staff racked up their pitch counts and gave up a total of 9 walks.

Okay, the Cubs’ starter threw 103 pitches into the 5th inning, giving up 3 hits, 5 walks, and a run, and striking out just 2 batters. His bullpen had a bit of a better time trying to keep the game under wraps, thanks mostly to the defense. On the other side, the Dodgers’ starter threw just 79 pitches in his full 5 innings, giving up 3 hits, a walk, and a run, and striking out 8 Cubs’ batters. Then his bullpen was flawless and efficient, adding 4 more strikeouts.

The Cubs actually got on the board first in the 5th inning with a lead-off solo home run, but the Dodgers immediately answered back in the bottom of the 5th. A lead-off double moved to 3rd on a ground out and then scored on a 2-out single to tie up the game. So, leading up to the 5th, the game was tied at 0-0, and after the 5th, it was 1-1.

And then came the bottom of the 9th where the Dodgers were looking for just a single run to win the game in walk-off fashion. They didn’t get that. They worked a lead-off walk, and 2 outs and a new reliever on the mound, they worked another one to put 2 runners on base. Again, with 2 outs, the Dodgers needed just one run. They would get three when the next batter hit a big homer up the middle to score a 3-run home run for the walk-off victory.

As you can imagine, the crowd (and Dodgers fans everywhere) went crazy.

Final score: 4-1 Dodgers, Dodgers lead series 2-0

Now, those teams are headed to Chicago for next 3 potential games. Again, being the best-of-7, it’s the first one to win 4 games, and the Dodgers are halfway there. As are the Astros, if we’re being frank tonight. So both the Cubs and the Yankees have quite a bit of work ahead of them, but they’re both headed to their hometowns which means about 40,000 screaming fans (a little less in Wrigley, a little more in the Bronx) are behind them in person, and millions more from their couches or bar stools.

The Yankees have certainly done it before — the come from behind to go on and win it all. Take the 1996 Championships. The Yankees actually lost the first 2 games of the World Series in the Bronx (if you can believe it) against the Braves. Then they went down to Atlanta and won all 3 games there, much to the disappointment of that hometown crowd, then they came back on their momentum and won Game 6 in the Bronx and began their championship dynasty of the late 90’s.

Fun random fact: the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium was the home of the Braves for that season as Turner Field (located pretty much next door) was currently being converted to a baseball stadium after serving as the city’s Olympic stadium just a few months early. The last game the Braves played there was Thursday, October 24, 1996, losing to the Yankees 1-0, and after the lights went out that night, the stadium was permanently closed and later became a parking lot. In 2016, with the Braves moving uptown to their new field, Georgia State University purchased the former stadium site (the parking lot) and Turner Field and will build a new baseball park for its baseball team on the now-former parking lot and Turner Field is being transformed into a football stadium for the college team.

Anyway, all that to say, the Yankees can totally pull this off. (As can the Cubs, by the way, sorry, Dodger fans!) But literally, it’s game-by-game. Take it a day at a time. Remember what happened when the Yankees were up 3-0 over the Red Sox in the ALCS in 2004? Yeah, literally, anything is possible. Sorry, for that mournful trip down memory lane, Yankee Universe, but it totally fits and you know it.

Go Yankees!

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