For the Chicago Cubs, this year marked a third consecutive trip to the National League Championship Series. It was a second straight year facing the Los Angeles Dodgers with the NL pennant on the line.
The two teams went into the NLCS rematch essentially in a reversal from 2016. This year, it was the Dodgers who boasted the best record in baseball and were considered the World Series favorite.
Despite being without Corey Seager, they went on to dominate the Cubs in every facet during the NLCS. “The better team won over the course of these five games,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “They played really well. They kind of out-pitched us and everything else. So give them credit.
“Dave Roberts and their entire staff, I just want to say congratulations. You know what it feels like coming off of last year, we were celebrating versus them in this exact same spot. So they’ve had themselves a spectacular year, and I want to wish them all well in the World Series.”
Correlating to their superb pitching, the Dodgers outscored the Cubs, 28-8, in the series. Each of the Cubs’ eight runs scored came via the long ball — seven to be exact. They were held hitless in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
The Dodgers bullpen threw 17 scoreless innings in the NLCS, which combined with their work in the NL Division Series, amounted to breaking an MLB postseason record with 23 shutout innings.
The Cubs not only left plenty to be desired with their performance, their play failed to support Maddon’s confidence, expressed in August, that the team matched up favorably with the Dodgers.
With their NLCS win, Los Angeles is on to the World Series for the first time since 1988. Their 22nd NL pennant trails the San Francisco Giants (23) for most all-time.