Cubs Sneak Past Dodgers in NLCS Game 4

The Cubs defeated the Dodgers 3-2 in the fourth game of the League Championship Series on Wednesday night, preventing Los Angeles from sweeping its way to the club’s first World Series appearance since 1988.

Second baseman Javier Baez provided the big bat for Chicago as he went yard twice—the first being hit in the bottom of the second inning into the left field bleachers, and the second coming in the bottom of the fifth frame. Both were of the solo variety, and both came off Dodgers’ lefty starter Alex Wood. Baez’s shot in the second was preceded by a solo home run off the bat of catcher Willson Contreras.

Despite not having pitched since September 26 in the regular season against the Padres, Wood was relatively sharp, outside of a few mistake pitches left over the center of the dish. He was removed after only 4-2/3 innings, throwing 70 total pitches, 50 of which were strikes. In all, Wood surrendered the three earned runs on just four hits, while walking none and striking out seven batters.

Rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner were responsible for the Dodgers’ lone runs of the evening. Bellinger’s shot was to the right-center field stands in the top of the third, while Turner’s blast went 400-feet over the wall in left-center in the eighth. Turner went 2-for-2 on the night coupled with a pair of walks. The only other Los Angeles hits was a single from outfielder Yasiel Puig.

The veteran tandem of Andre Ethier and Curtis Granderson, starting in left field and center field respectively, went a combined 0-for-8 at the plate with six strikeouts, as Granderson was punched out four times.

The Dodgers stranded a total of nine baserunners on the evening.

Dodgers’ righty swing man Ross Stripling replaced Wood in the fifth and retired three consecutive batters before being succeeded by southpaw Tony Watson in the sixth frame.

Right-hander Jake Arrieta threw 6-2/3 frames for the Cubs, surrendering one run on three hits and five walks while striking out nine. The Dodgers threatened in the seventh inning when Arrieta walked both catcher Yasmani Grandal and Chris Taylor, however, lefty Brian Duensing relieved Arrieta and induced a Bellinger pop out to end a potential Los Angeles rally.

Versatile righty Kenta Maeda entered the game in relief for the Dodgers in the seventh and retired the Cubs’ side in order.

Cubs’ closer Wade Davis replaced Duensing in the top of the eighth frame, and promptly gave up the home run to Turner to narrow the Chicago lead to one. Subsequently, Davis walked Puig, but escaped the frame after a Ethier pop-out, followed by a controversial Granderson strikeout which saw Chicago manager Joe Maddon ejected, and another strikeout of Chase Utley after a Yasmani Grandal walk. Davis would throw 34 pitches in the top of the eighth alone.

Tony Cingrani entered to pitch the bottom of the eighth for the Dodgers, and got into trouble after he hit Jon Jay with a pitch and surrendered a single to Albert Almora Jr. Josh Fields relieved Cingrani after Jason Heyward grounded out to second, and retired Kris Bryant to end the Chicago threat.

Davis struck out pinch-hitter Austin Barnes to open the ninth, and coaxed Bellinger into a double-play grounder to second to end the contest and register the save. Arrieta was credited with the win.

Staff ace Clayton Kershaw will take the hill for the Dodgers in Game 5 on Thursday night in hopes of punching a ticket to the World Series, while the Cubs will counter with southpaw Jose Quintana, aiming to stay alive in the NLCS.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

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So Far in the 2017 Postseason, Everything’s Falling in Place for Dodgers

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

It’s a happy Monday morning for Dodger fans—so many of us still on a high from the epic Justin Turner walk off home run to put the Dodgers up 2-0 on the Cubs in the NLCS.

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NLDS Sweep Is Just the Beginning for Dodgers

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(Mandatory Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

The postseason has a way of making us incredibly nervous. It has a way of taking over our thoughts and instilling a little anxiety and a lot of excitement. But the postseason can also remind us why we fell in love with the game in the first place.

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Dodgers Sweep Diamondbacks in Division Series, Set Sights on NLCS

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The Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the 2017 National League Championship Series after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks in convincing fashion. The 3-1 win was led by Yu Darvish and Cody Bellinger. They are the only MLB team to sweep in the divisional series.

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Dodgers Hope Hot Bats Stay Sizzling in Arizona

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So far, so good.

It’s very early in the postseason, but the Dodgers seem to have it together. All that worry about whether they would be able to get hot at the right time, if they feared the Diamondbacks, was all for naught. The bats look good, the pitching looks decent, and the Dodgers take a commanding 2-0 lead into Arizona.

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How Does the Ideal NLDS Shape Up for the Dodgers?

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(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The 2017 NLDS is promising to shape up a bit differently than previous postseasons—Clayton Kershaw probably won’t be pitching on short rest. This is an extremely good thing.

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A Dodgers Roundtable: Six Different Writers Discuss the Upcoming NLDS

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Just like that, the regular season is over.  Despite the challenges of the 2017 campaign, the Dodgers still finished with the best record in baseball—104-58. None of that matters anymore, for now it is the postseason, and the best record in baseball will only get you home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The rest you have to do yourself. Now the focus is on the players mentally and physically preparing for what lies ahead, the coaching staff studying up on the competition, and the front office and coaches assembling the best possible roster to finally take the Dodgers to the World Series.

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With NL Home Field Advantage Secure, What’s Next for Dodgers?

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Get ready, October is coming.

That’s really all anybody is thinking about right now, the postseason. The Dodgers have said that all of the team records, and winning 100 games for the first time 1974, is really cool, but it’s not the ultimate goal. I’m not saying winning 100 games is easy, of course it’s not, but the Dodgers have their eyes set on the Fall Classic, and so do all the fans. The Boys in the Blue clinched the National League West on Friday, in a game which they cemented the one thing we’ve known all season; the Dodgers know how to win baseball games. To make matters better, within five days of each other, two of the longest-running home run records in baseball were broken; the NL Rookie Home Run record, and the All-Time Rookie Home Run record, broken by Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge, respectively. So, after all this history, what’s next?

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Dodgers Clinch Fifth Straight National League West Title

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With a win over the Giants on Friday evening, the Dodgers clinched the 2017 National League West Division Championship. It’s the Dodgers’ fifth straight and 16th overall NL West title, as the club reached the postseason in five consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history.

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Dodgers 2017 Playoff Roster Projections: First Edition

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(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

*****Check out this link for our most recent round of roster projections*****

As there’s still the matters of wrapping up the division, vying for home-field advantage, and putting together some much-needed continuity inside the final nine games of the regular season, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but look ahead and wonder which players will be called upon for the 25-man roster when the postseason arrives in just a few short weeks.

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