For the past three weeks, as the Dodgers crawled through these playoffs, Clayton Kershaw acted as a one-man cordon, capable of holding off his opponents and offsetting the mistakes of his teammates. On the final night of the Dodgers' 2016 season, in a 5-0 loss to the Cubs in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, he could do neither.
Chicago mauled Kershaw for five runs in five innings. The Dodgers' offense never materialized against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. And as Wrigley Field swayed in the aftermath, with 42,000 fans howling “Go Cubs Go,” three dozen men in Dodgers uniforms emptied their dugout and prepared for the winter.
For the first time since 1945, the Cubs are headed back to the World Series. For the 28th year in a row, the Dodgers are headed home before the Fall Classic.
It's over. The Dodgers' 2016 season ended Saturday night at Wrigley Field. Kyle Hendricks shut them out for 7 1/3 innings, and Aroldis Chapman finished it off in the ninth. Carlos Ruiz worked a one-out walk, but pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw, and this stadium went crazy.
The Cubs won, 5-0. They beat the Dodgers in this series four games to two.
Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts stuck with Kenley Jansen for a third inning, and Jansen again shut down the Cubs. Kris Bryant struck out, Anthony Rizzo lined out to center, and Ben Zobrist grounded out to second base.
Here it goes. Unless the Dodgers score five or more runs in the top of the ninth inning, their season is over.
Kyle Hendricks finally allowed another hit, to Josh Reddick with one out in this eighth inning, and Cubs Manager Joe Maddon immediately pulled him for closer Aroldis Chapman.
Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts countered by pinch-hitting Howie Kendrick for Joc Pederson. Kendrick grounded into a double play on Chapman’s third pitch. It’s still 5-0, and the Dodgers have just three outs left.
In for one more inning, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen set down the Cubs in order. Albert Almora Jr. struck out, Kyle Hendricks flied out to right, and Dexter Fowler struck out. Hendricks is going to begin the eighth, and, at this point, it seems plausible he could complete the game.