Listen, we know it’s tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn’t easy. It’s OK, though, we’re going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network, as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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The Cubs scored eight runs on Thursday in Game 5, and that was more than enough to secure a victory over the Dodgers. Chicago is now up 3-2 in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series, making them just one win away from their first World Series berth since 1945. The length of time it’s been for the Cubs since their last World Series championship tends to get the focus, so it’s easy to forget that they haven’t even been to the Fall Classic for 60 years. You’ve got grandparents who have never lived through the Cubs even getting the chance to fail in October — regardless of what happens in the World Series itself. If the Cubs get there, they’ve at least managed to exorcise one organizational demon.
In order to get to the next round, though, they’ll have to defeat Clayton Kershaw. Well, they don’t have to, since they have a one-game lead and there would be a Game 7 in Chicago if the Cubs lose to Kershaw. However, given the way both Kershaw and Rich Hill have pitched against them, a winner-take-all Game 7 probably isn’t what anyone on the Cubs or in Chicago is looking for. Everyone asked where the Cubs offense was during Game 2 and Game 3, and we were given the answers in Game 4 and Game 5: the Cubs offense wasn’t missing, it was just facing two of the best pitchers on the planet. They’ll have to do better the second time around if they want to advance.
The Dodgers don’t have it easy, of course. They have to win both of the next two games, and as amazing as Kershaw and Hill are, it’s not as if the two have gone undefeated in their careers or this season. These are still baseball games, where just about anything can happen even when the teams aren’t as closely matched as these two postseason competitors. The Padres — the Padres! — swept a doubleheader from the Cubs earlier this year. Chicago has lost back-to-back home games to teams like the rebuilding Brewers. The Dodgers were weirdly better when Kershaw was hurt. These things just sort of happen in baseball.
So, relax on this baseball-less Friday, because on Saturday, things are going to be tense as hell. And if the series survives to Sunday? Well, we’ll get to that if and when we have to. There’s enough to worry about in the present.
- I promise, this is not some attempt to say the Cubs are going to lose because they’ve lost before: Grant Brisbee re-watched one of the most miserable innings of baseball in its long history in order to properly identify the real villains of the Steve Bartman game.
- Sam Miller tried to put Yasmani Grandal’s value in the proper frame. (Do you get it?)
- (It’s because Grandal is a catcher. And framing is part of th.... just read the article, Sam is good.)
- It’s too early to judge the Andrew Miller trade. Well, unless you were knocked out of the postseason by him.
- Terry Francona doesn’t get enough credit for his managing skills in the dugout. You should read this and fix that.
- The Blue Jays were always going to have a depressing postseason exit, as this is the end of the Jays as we knew and enjoyed them.
- If you would like a eulogy for the Jays from someone who watched them all year, this link is for you.
- David Ortiz was in far more lower body pain than anyone except the Red Sox knew over the last four years.
- With Ortiz retiring, Boston will need young players like Andrew Benintendi to step up. Luckily, he’s a capable sort.
- Speaking of old dudes, the Carlos Beltran signing surpassed all reasonable expectations for the Yankees.
- Mike Hazen is a great choice to be the D-Backs’ GM, but as Keith Law explains, he’s also the latest evidence in MLB’s diversity problem in the front office.