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Dodgers-Cubs NLCS Game 5: In Real Life

October 19, 2017

The Dodgers beat the Cubs, 11-1, on Thursday to win the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World. We were at the scene in and around Wrigley Field. Los Angeles took the best-of-seven series, 4-1.11:43 p.m. ET: You da real MVPDodgers sluggers Justin Turner and Chris Taylor probably didn't

The Dodgers beat the Cubs, 11-1, on Thursday to win the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World. We were at the scene in and around Wrigley Field. Los Angeles took the best-of-seven series, 4-1.
11:43 p.m. ET: You da real MVP
Dodgers sluggers Justin Turner and Chris Taylor probably didn't mind sharing the NLCS MVP Award. Turner hit .353 with two homers, six RBIs and five walks in the series for a 1.145 OPS. Oh, and he had that timely little swat during Game 2, too. Taylor hit .316 with two homers, three RBIs and four walks for a 1.247 OPS. More >

11:20 p.m. ET: And the Dodgers roll on
Kenley Jansen cemented Los Angeles' first trip to the World Series in 29 seasons with a perfect ninth to send the Dodgers into celebration at Wrigley Field.

11:08 p.m. ET: What did this guy have for breakfast?
Have a night, Enrique Hernandez. The Dodgers left fielder launched his third home run in the ninth inning, giving the Dodgers an 11-1 lead and further cementing his name in the postseason record books.
Video: NLCS Gm5: Hernandez clubs third homer of game
Hernandez is just the 11th player in history to homer three times in a playoff game, and the first since Houston's Jose Altuve did so in the ALDS. His seven RBIs are an LCS record and a Dodgers postseason record. He joins Bob Robertson, who did so for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971, as the only players to homer three times in the NLCS. And he joins Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Adam Kennedy and Adrian Beltre as the only players with three homers in a series clincher.

9:49 p.m. ET: Well, it's a start
It took until the fourth inning, but the Cubs got their first hit and run off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Kristopher Bryant did the honors with a solo homer in the fourth inning, cutting Los Angeles' margin to 9-1.

This has been a difficult postseason for Bryant, who was 3-for-16 without an extra-base hit in the first four NLCS games. His Game 5 homer may wind up being too little, too late for the Cubs, but at least it ensured they would not be no-hit.
9:13 p.m. ET: Eyes on the prize
The Dodgers are closing in on the National League pennant.
An inning after extending their lead with his solo homer, Hernandez clubbed a grand slam off reliever Hector Rondon to give Los Angeles a commanding 7-0 lead in Game 5.

The third inning began with four consecutive Dodgers hits to chase starting pitcher Jose Quintana from the game. Entering with the bases loaded and no outs, Rondon struck out John Forsythe, but threw a first-pitch slider over the heart of the plate to Hernandez, who smacked it over the center-field fence for the fourth postseason slam in Dodgers history. More >
8:48 p.m. ET: And the hits keep coming
The Dodgers are showcasing plenty of power early in Game 5.
On the mound, Kershaw delivered his fastest pitch of the season during a hitless first inning, throwing a 96.2-mph fastball to Kyle Schwarber (who walked on the pitch). At the plate, Hernandez opened the top of the second with a solo homer to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead.

Here's some food for thought: Teams with 3-0 leads in best-of-seven series have gone 11-1, with the lone exception the 2004 Red Sox vs. the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. Theo Epstein was the Red Sox GM at that time; he's the president of baseball operations for the Cubs now. And his Cubs are vying to become the second team to rally from a 3-0 deficit.
"My biggest takeaway is you've got to find a way to get the team that's been up 3-0 on a plane back home having failed to close out a series twice in a row," Epstein said. "If you can do that, I think the momentum completely changes. The pressure changes. The pressure, as you fly home having not closed out a series twice in a row, that gets you thinking about a lot of things. The Yankees (in 2004) looked a lot different once we got back to Yankee Stadium. That makes tonight really big. We've got to find a way to win tonight."
8:27 p.m. ET: Los Angeles strikes first
What's scarier than Kershaw trying to pitch the Dodgers into the World Series? How about Kershaw staked to a lead before he ever takes the mound.
Cody Bellinger gave Kershaw and the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the top of the first, plating Chris Taylor, who walked to open the game. Although Cubs starter Jose Quintana allowed nothing else in the inning, he threw 26 pitches in the process.

That could come back to haunt him. Remember, the Cubs' bullpen is tired, with closer Wade Davis likely unavailable after throwing 48 pitches in his Game 4 save.
7:57 p.m. ET: Hey, Tommy!
If there's anyone who could bring good luck to the Dodgers, it's this guy: Tommy Lasorda managed Los Angeles to World Series titles in 1981 and '88.

7:07 p.m. ET: Admitting it is the first step
Cubs manager Joe Maddon said there's no hard feelings toward Jim Wolf, Wednesday's home-plate umpire whose eighth-inning call Maddon objected to, leading to the skipper's ejection. Wolf came forward afterward and admitted he'd made a mistake, and for Maddon, that was plenty good enough.
"It's always good when somebody admits to something like that," Maddon said. "Listen, I make, we all make mistakes every day. That one [Wednesday], like I said after the game, that was pretty crucial. I'm a big Wolfy fan. Wolfy and I have known each other for a long time. I like Wolfy in big games. He's a good umpire. He's really good. He knows the game. He understands the nuance of the game. He adds that to it also as an umpire. His brother was a pitcher. He's all of that.
"So, listen, when Wolfy steps up and says something like that, God, your appreciation for him increases even more, I think," Maddon said. "For me, it does." More >

Wolf will be the right-field umpire for tonight's clash, with first pitch just about an hour away.
5:47 p.m. ET: Three heads are better than one
Three great baseball minds -- 19-year MLB veteran and Dodgers special assistant Raul Ibanez, Maddon and Los Angeles president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman -- talk on the field at Wrigley before Game 5.

5:17 p.m. ET: Maddon: 'All hands on deck' in bullpen tonight
After throwing 48 pitches on Wednesday, Wade Davis is not expected to be available tonight. So who will be the closer? Manager Joe Maddon said it's "all hands on deck" as the Cubs face possible elimination. Chicago's options to close on Thursday include Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, C.J. Edwards, Mike Montgomery, Brian Duensing or John Lackey.
Last year, the Cubs acquired Albertin Chapman at the All-Star break to handle the closer's duties.
"Wade's been doing what we thought he could do, and I think he's doing more than he thought he could do by having to pitch two significant moments," Maddon said. "Aroldis was able to dominate, and I can't tell you Wade has dominated but Wade knows how to pitch to the point where he knows how to get righties and lefties out based on his pitch-ability and Chapman was more of this blunt object and could overpower people and could do it often."
The Dodgers, of course, have Kenley Jansen as their closer.
"There's not many of them, but those who are out there are really valuable," Maddon said.

4:22 p.m. ET: Dodgers set Game 5 lineup
About an hour after the Cubs shared their Game 5 lineup, the Dodgers followed suit. More >

3:59 p.m. ET: Ross will toss
Some Cubs fans may remember 2016 World Series hero and dancing star David Ross, who will throw out the ceremonial first pitch tonight and sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.

3:19 p.m. ET: Don't try this at home
We respect the dedication but don't encourage driving with a mask over your face ...

3:16 p.m. ET: Chalk this way
Cubs fans urge their team toward win No. 2 in the NLCS tonight by chalking messages on Wrigley's exterior brick walls.

3:13 p.m. ET: Cubs name starting nine

1:43 p.m. ET: Murphy's draw
Murphy's Bleachers is quiet now, but it will be buzzing by mid-afternoon. Wrigleyville merchants have enjoyed having 17 postseason games in their neighborhood over the past 3 years, but the message on the Murphy's sign speaks for Cubs fans across the globe.

1:26 p.m. ET: Crew driven
The Wrigley Field grounds crew is back at work getting the field ready. The crew members left here at about 12:30 a.m. CT last night, and reported today at 11 a.m. They always work long hours, but they'd love to work another three or four games in 2017.

1:15 p.m. ET: Change on the horizon
After blowing out in Games 3 and 4, it looks like the wind will come in from the north for Game 5 tonight, but maybe only at 10 mph or less.