In the decisive game of the
"That's baseball, man," Roberts said. "I still love where we're at."
The disappointment stemmed from the bottom of the eighth inning, when
Roberts had maneuvered Blanton into that position, ordering a pair of intentional walks with the hopes of forcing Cubs Manager
Despite the defeat, the Dodgers found optimism from the top of the eighth, when the they erased a two-run deficit against Chapman.
"This actually gives us a lot of confidence," Gonzalez said. "We know we can beat them."
The task of actually defeating the Cubs, not merely creating the illusion of doing so, will fall to
The Cubs operate with a casual cool, a quality emanating from their manager. Maddon has manufactured an aura of nonchalance around his club. The Cubs ran limited rounds of batting practice on Saturday. He did not plan to call additional meetings or alter his club's routine.
"Today is what, Oct. 15?" Maddon said before the game. "I really want to believe our guys are going to treat it like July 15 or Aug. 15."
The Cubs earned their confidence. The team torched the
The Dodgers are less adept in the field. As Roberts constructed his lineup in the morning, he sent a text message to
Left field, Kendrick responded, a sign of his comfort in the outfielder after a decade as an infielder. His fielding raised eyebrows in the first inning.
Maeda gave up a leadoff single to outfielder Dexter Fowler. Up next, third baseman
The Cubs kept coming. Not since 1908 has this franchise won a World Series. Not since 1907 has a Cub stolen home in a playoff game. The next two weeks will determine if the first streak will end. But second baseman Javier Baez ended the second streak in the bottom of the second inning.
After a triple by outfielder
"If I make a better throw, we probably have a chance at home," Ruiz said.
Turner caught the ball around his ankles. Baez slid across the plate before the ball reached Ruiz.
Down three after two innings, the Dodgers smacked a series of line drives off Lester, yet their only run against him came on a pinch-hit homer by Andre Ethier in the fifth inning. Maddon removed Lester after six innings and only 77 pitches. The early exit gave the Dodgers a chance to attack Chicago's middle relievers.
In the eighth inning, Andrew Toles came off the bench to deliver a single.
"I was just trying to stay short and stay up the middle," Gonzalez said.
Inside his dugout, Roberts erupted. The happiness did not last. Blanton served up a leadoff double to outfielder Ben Zobrist. Roberts instructed Blanton to walk Heyward, a left-handed hitter, to go after Baez. That move worked – Blanton got a first-pitch flyout.
At this point, Maddon sent outfielder
"The best way to win that game was to get him out of the game," Roberts said. "I felt that if we did that, then the game was ours."
The second walk loaded the bases as Montero came up in place of Chapman. There was no action in the Dodgers bullpen. Roberts could have chosen a left-handed batter to face Montero, a left-handed hitter. But Grant Dayton combusted in Game 5 against Washington,
So it was up to Blanton. In his mind, he ran through a previous encounter with Montero, when he fired three inside sliders in a row to strike him out. He executed the first two, although both caught more plate than he would have liked. The third pitch was the juiciest of the trio.
"I tried to do the same thing from the earlier at-bat," Blanton said. "I just didn't execute."
For good measure, Blanton gave up a solo homer to Fowler. The Dodgers stitched together a run in the ninth, but not nearly enough to erase the deficit.
As optimism and disappointment competed inside of him afterward, Roberts opted for the light. The Dodgers now stand three defeats away from the off-season. They've been in far worse spots already.
"It just didn't work out," Roberts said. "But our guys fought."