Final Score NLCS Game 6 – Cubs 5, Dodgers 0: Cub-Boom! Hendricks Dominates, Leads Cubs to World Series
If only there were one word to describe what I and the entirety of Cubs fans worldwide are feeling today. Instead, there are multitudes; elation, exaltation, euphoria, pure joy, bliss….I could go on and on and on. What happened last night was a dream come true. A dream that felt like it may never happen. I’m fighting back the tears just typing this….I just lost that fight.
Never in my life – and I believe I speak for all of you when I say this – have I experienced something so unreal, so surreal, something that literally felt like a dream. This moment is beyond pure joy. I can die in peace.
From the beginning of the game last night, when Dexter Fowler led off the first inning with a double that was looped down the right field line, this felt different than all six previous chances the Cubs had to advance to the World Series in my lifetime and since 1945. When that ball bounced into the stands it felt like God was saying ‘that WILL BE a double.’
There was no surprise when Kris Bryant stepped up and singled to right field to drive in Dexter. The Cubs really had a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Mr. Invincible, Clayton Kershaw, with our own version of Mr. Invincible on the mound, Kyle Hendricks.
The most defining moment in the game, at least for me, was the next play. Anthony Rizzo stepped up to the plate and drove what, at the time looked like it could be trouble. Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles hustled over and was in position to make the catch – a catch that is a fairly routine one for a major league ballplayer.
The ball bounded off the bottom of his glove and deflected to the grass. Anthony Rizzo cruised into second base, Kris Bryant into third base, and, on the type of play that’s happened to the Cubs so many times in games like these, the Cubs just had an unfathomable play happen in their favor. The gods were smiling down upon us.
Ben Zobrist would drive in Kris Bryant on a sacrifice fly to make the score 2-0 in favor of our beloved Cubs. At the end of the inning that would be the score. In disbelief I stood, staring into the eyes of my friends and fellow Cubs’ fans, Cary and Dave, realizing that the Cubs had just scored two runs and Clayton Kershaw had thrown 30 pitches – in the first inning. Wow, this is really happening.
When Addison Russell opened the second inning with a double, eventually being driven in on a two-out single by Dexter Fowler, it just confirmed the spectacle of the moment, that moment.
The cherry on top of the Cubs’ scoring came with two single swings of the bat by Willson Contreras and Anthony Rizzo. Both hitting huge home runs, Contreras in the bottom of the fourth and Rizzo in the bottom of the fifth.
The Professor, Kyle Hendricks, was never better. Some compare him to Greg Maddux and last night was a prime example of why. He controlled every part of his game – his location, speed, command, it was all there on full display for the world to see. Utterly dominating every single Dodgers’ batter that came to the plate. They didn’t stand a chance.
Hendricks completed 7 1/3 innings of excellence by giving up a mere two hits. The first was a lead-off single in the top of the first inning and the second was another single in the top of the seventh inning, his last batter faced. Kyle Hendricks smiled when he saw Joe Maddon come out of that dugout to get him. He knew what he had just done. He was immersed in that magical moment. And again, I tear.
It’s not often you see a smile from Kyle when he’s on the mound. He’s so professional, so deliberate in his approach. When that smile came I couldn’t help but feel so happy, so incredibly proud for him in that moment that he was a part of, that he helped so magnificently to create.
Into the game stepped Aroldis Chapman, right into the moment that all those wonderful Cubs’ prospects were sacrificed for. I’d say the Cubs got a steal in that trade.
The Chicago Cubs are heading to the World Series. The Chicago Cubs are heading to the World Series. The Chicago Cubs are heading to the World Series.
Stats that matter
- Kyle Hendricks “the Professor” – 7.1IP, 0R, 2H, 6Ks
- Dexter Fowler started things off with a bang – 2-for-4, 1R, 1RBI, 2B
- Kris Bryant drove in the Cubs’ first run and scored their second – 1-for-4, 1R, 1RBI
- Willson Contreras hit his home run and the crowd erupted – 1-for-3, 1R, 1RBI, HR
- Anthony Rizzo‘s bomb was the icing on the cake – 2-for-4, 1R, 1RBI, HR, 2B
- Watching Addison Russell is incredible – 1-for-3, 1R, 2B
A win for the ages. I’m so happy in so many different ways today. I’m obviously happy as a Cubs’ fan, first and foremost, but I’m also happy for many, many other reasons. Happy for all of those that have come and gone before us, who never got the chance to see this, to see the Cubs advance to the World Series. The party in heaven right now must be divine.
I’m happy for those that are still here, those of you, of us, that get this moment. That don’t need much else out of their lives than this moment. Of course, then we come to the crux. The only moment that could be any better than this. Winning the World Series. And friends, that moment is closer than it’s ever been for most of us. For that, I feel eternally grateful.
The World Series. Game one begins on Tuesday in Cleveland against the Indians at 7:08 PM CT. No word yet on the pitching match-up but I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I hear.