CHICAGO -- The Dodgers partied Thursday night like it was 1988, but Clayton Kershaw isn't quite finished cleansing legacies and ending droughts."All we've been hearing is, '1988, 1988, 1988,'" Kershaw said after pitching the Dodgers past the Cubs, 11-1, in the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World. "We're
CHICAGO -- The Dodgers partied Thursday night like it was 1988, but Clayton Kershaw isn't quite finished cleansing legacies and ending droughts.
"All we've been hearing is, '1988, 1988, 1988,'" Kershaw said after pitching the Dodgers past the Cubs, 11-1, in the National League Championship Series presented by Camping World. "We're trying to make it, '2017, 2017, 2017.'"
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While champagne corks were still popping at Wrigley Field, manager Dave Roberts named Kershaw the starter for Game 1 on Tuesday night against the Yankees or Astros, in the Dodgers' first World Series on Kershaw's Dodger Stadium home mound since the one starring Kirk Gibson, Orel Hershiser and the Stuntmen. How great is that?
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"There's nobody we'd rather have in a big game than Clayton Kershaw," said general manager Farhan Zaidi. "He showed why tonight."
The Dodgers are the first team to secure home-field advantage in the World Series as a result of having the best record in the regular season.
Game 2 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV will be Wednesday. Roberts has not announced the rotation beyond Kershaw, but Yu Darvish and Rich Hill will be in it. The series will shift to the American League city for Games 3, 4 and 5 next Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if necessary). If needed, Games 6 and 7 will be at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, Oct. 31, and Wednesday, Nov. 1.
"A lot of us weren't around in '88, but that doesn't stop people from reminding us that's the last time this team was in the World Series," said Zaidi. "We're aware of the date. So we're excited for the fans, and can't wait for everybody to come out Tuesday and root us on to raise that trophy."
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Zaidi hopes to make one huge roster change from the National League Championship Series, which they won without All-Star shortstop Corey Seager. Seager's sprained lower back is healing and Roberts said he is expected to be available. The ripple effect could cost Curtis Granderson a spot. Joc Pederson or Charlie Culberson, who were added for the NLCS, also could be on the bubble.
The Dodgers and Yankees have met in the World Series 11 times, most recently the strike year of 1981, when the Dodgers lost the first two games and stormed back to win in six. They lost to the Yankees in six games in 1977 and 1978, swept them in four games in 1963, lost to the Yankees in seven games in 1956 and won the first World Series in franchise history against the Yankees in 1955. Prior to that, the Yankees spanked the Dodgers in the World Series five consecutive times.
But there's also history with Houston. The Dodgers were once in the same division as the Astros, but last played them in 2015 and were swept in a three-game series in Houston. They've met only once in the postseason, in the 1981 best-of-five Division Series necessitated by the strike, and the Dodgers took the winner-take-all Game 5 when Jerry Reuss threw a five-hit shutout to beat Nolan Ryan.
The last time the Dodgers were in the World Series, 12 players from the NLCS roster hadn't been born. Kershaw was 7 months old. Chase Utley and Granderson are the only players on the Dodgers' NLCS roster with World Series experience.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001.