The Los Angeles Dodgers overcame one hurdle after another this season to win a fourth straight National League West division title. They became the first team in NL West history to accomplish such a feat.
Los Angeles defeated the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series, winning a thrilling Game 5 on the road to advance to the NL Championship Series for the first time since 2013. They took a 2-1 lead over the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, but faded and lost three consecutive games.
Led by Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, the Dodgers shut out the Cubs in Games 2 and 3. However, they committed four errors in Game 4, which factored prominently in a 10-2 loss.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein credited Ben Zobrist’s bunt single for changing the course of the NLCS.
“It’s a little bit of a sour taste,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after his club was eliminated in Game 6. “Obviously, if we play a clean three games in 4, 5 and 6 there could have been a different outcome.
“When you make plays and pitch counts change and the next hitter that’s coming up, the outs, everything changes. So, yeah, when you look back these last three games, to not play our best baseball, there’s a little sour taste.”
The Cubs reaching their first World Series since 1945 fulfills a coronation that many put in place last season, particularly once Joe Maddon was hired as manager. This season the Cubs paced the Majors with a 103-58 record; they were the lone club to eclipse 100 wins.
“Up to this point, to the World Series, they have gone wire to wire. They win a hundred-plus games, they have really no weaknesses,” said Roberts of the Cubs.
“They took advantage of our mistakes, but that’s a very good club over there, and they outplayed us this series. You hate to have sour grapes, but the better team won the series.”
With the Cubs ending their drought between World Series appearances, the Dodgers now rank sixth in the Majors at 28 years since they reached the Fall Classic.