After being counted down and out, the Cubs won back-to-back games at Dodger Stadium in convincing fashion. The Cubs followed up the 10-2 win in Game 4 with an 8-4 victory in Game 5 and now lead the NLCS three games to two.
The Cubs offense stepped up and scored 18 runs in two days after being blanked for 21 innings over two-plus games.
Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell had excellent games at the plate. Javier Baez continues to shine on the biggest stage. And Jon Lester delivered an outstanding performance in the pivotal Game 5.
The Cubs are far from done as the NLCS shifts to Wrigley Field on Saturday night. The Cubs will have to beat the best to be the best with Clayton Kershaw on the hill in Game 6. Kyle Hendricks gets the ball and will look to put the Cubs in a place to make Saturday an historical night at Wrigley.
NLCS News and Notes
With the Cubs leading the best-of-seven NLCS three game to two, Joe Maddon said, “The city of Chicago has got to be buzzing pretty much right now. I expect a sellout at Wrigley. It will be a lot of fun.”
Here are the reports and notes from Game 5 of the NLCS …
• CCO – A Gem, A Blast, A Five-Run Eighth and a Cubs Win in Game 5
• CCO – Addison Russell Comes Up Clutch for Cubs in Game 5 (Includes Videos)
• The Tribune reported Cubs gain one-game edge in NLCS with 8-4 victory over the Dodgers.
• Led by their rising stars, the Cubs surge ahead in the NLCS according to ESPN Chicago.
• Anthony Rizzo, using Matt Szczur’s bat, doubled in Dexter Fowler with the first run in Game 5. Rizzo smoked the baseball to right (111.1 mph exit velocity, third hardest hit ball in the playoffs). Rizzo was 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI in Game 5 … not bad, not bad at all.
• Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez antics show how this Cubs team doesn’t feel the same weight of history according to Comcast SportsNet.
• The Cubs are the seventh team to score eight or more runs three or more times in a single LCS according to Christopher Kamka. The 2016 Cubs joined the 1986 Red Sox, 2003 Cubs, 2003 Marlins, 2007 Red Sox, 2008 Rays and 2009 Phillies.
• Bob Nightengale reported the Cubs are one win from the World Series and are set to finish the job this time. The Cubs beat the Dodgers to reach brink of first World Series since 1945 according to the Sun-Times. And the Cubs are one win from the World Series … again according to Tim Brown.
• Comcast SportsNet reported Jon Lester and Addison Russell come up big to put Cubs one win from the World Series.
• ESPN – What we learned: The Dodgers can’t hit Jon Lester and the Cubs are one win from the World Series
• Jon Lester’s October glare puts Dodgers on the ropes according to ESPN Chicago.
• The Dodgers threw everything at Jon Lester and he threw it right back according to Ken Rosenthal.
• The Sun-Times reported don’t mess with Jon Lester … the Cubs’ ace comes up big in Game 5 of the NLCS. Messing with Jon Lester gets the Dodgers nowhere as Cubs move closer to World Series according to Comcast SportsNet. And Jon Lester’s intensity sets tone as Cubs sit at doorstep of history according to David Haugh.
Jon Lester pitched a gem Thursday night in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium. Lester limited the Dodgers to one run on five hits (four singles) and one walk in seven innings. Lester struck out six while dealing with the Dodgers trying everything they could to rattle him.
Lester was fired up all night, glared into the Dodgers’ dugout and even threw out Joc Pederson at first base to end the second inning. Pederson tried to bunt his way on and Lester threw a designed, one-hop throw to Anthony Rizzo.
Jon Lester became the sixth left-hander in postseason history to reach 100 career strikeouts. Lester has 101 strikeouts and is tied with C.C. Sabathia for fifth on the All-Time list, one behind Clayton Kershaw (102). Lester has the third lowest ERA (2.50) in the Wild Card Era (Since 1994) behind only Madison Bumgarner (2.11), Curt Schilling (2.12) and ahead of Cliff Lee (2.52).
Lester is 2-0 in three starts with a 0.86 ERA and 0.76 WHIP this postseason (21 innings). Lester has allowed two runs on 14 hits with two walks and 14 strikeouts.
— MLB (@MLB) October 21, 2016
Javier Baez had another big game at the plate and in the field in Game 5. Baez went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a run scored and three RBI. Baez’s second double of the night cleared the bases and gave the Cubs an 8-1 lead.
The Cubs dodged a potential significant injury to Baez after he came up limping following the bases clearing double in the eighth inning. After a visit from the trainer, Baez stayed in and finished out the game.
David Ross was behind the plate for Game 5 catching Jon Lester, as usual. Ross went 1-for-2 with a hustle double and a walk in what was his last game at Dodger Stadium.
Ross appeared to throw out Howie Kendrick at third base in the fourth inning. Ross’ throw beat Kendrick to the bag and he was called out. Replay showed Kendrick was safe and the call on the field was overturned.
Ross had a 1.5 second pop time with an exchange of 0.63 seconds. As Daren Willman pointed out, Ross is still a great catcher.
The Cubs are 43-11 in games started by David Ross this year (39-11 in regular season, 4-0 in postseason).
Carl Edwards Jr.
The Cubs received good news on Carl Edwards Jr.
According to the Sun-Times, Edwards Jr. was diagnosed with a cramp in his left hamstring. Edwards Jr. is expected to be available for Game 6 and if there is a Game 7 this weekend.
Edwards Jr. had to leave Game 3 because of tightness in his left hamstring. Joe Maddon said after the game the Cubs did not think it was a serious injury.
Maddon said, “He feels really good. From a medical side, there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s fine.”
News and Notes
• Kyle Hendricks gets the ball in Game 6 on Saturday night at Wrigley. And Clayton Kershaw became the latest to compare Hendricks to Greg Maddux on Thursday. Comcast SportsNet reported Kershaw said, “He’s kind of like the Greg Maddux of this generation, with his ability to sink the ball, cut the ball and put him in spots where hitters are enticed to swing at it, but you can’t put the barrel on it. He’s really good at mixing speeds, changing it up. He’s a tough guy to go against, for sure.”
• The Tribune reported Willson Contreras said he is an emotional player after Game 5 incidents. Contreras crossed the line in the ninth inning with the homeplate ump trying to get calls. Joe Maddon explained after the game that Contreras is passionate about everything he does. Maddon said, “He’s passionate about his morning cup of coffee.”
• FanGraphs explained why they don’t run like mad on Jon Lester.
• Mike Montgomery got a hit and was the winning pitcher in Game 4. Monty became the third reliever in LCS history to have a hit and notch the win, joining Nolan Ryan (Mets, 1969 NLCS) and Dick Hall (Orioles, 1970 ALCS).
• According to Bob Nightengale, before Game 5 of the NLCS the last time the Cubs had 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position in a postseason game was Game 1 of the 1908 World Series.
• The Cubs had three infield singles in the eighth inning of Game 5 with exit velocities of 39.3 mph, 80.9 mph and 68.5 mph.
• Comcast SportsNet reported famous Cubs fans flocked to Twitter to celebrate Game 5 win over the Dodgers.
• Game 5 posted a 24.1 Chicago market rating with a peak audience of over 1.03 million homes according to Jeff Nuich.
• Matt Szczur may not be playing in the NLCS but that doesn’t mean he is not contributing according to ESPN Chicago. Anthony Rizzo used his bat again in Game 5. And Szczur said on national TV that Addison Russell wore his leggings during Game 4.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 21, 2016
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 21, 2016
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 21, 2016
• Jason Hammel tweeted after Game 5, “Man these fellas are fun to watch! FlyTheW back to Wrigley!”
This Day in Cubstory
2015 – The Cubs lost 8-3 to the Mets at Wrigley Field in Game 4 of the NLCS. The Cubs dropped the NLCS four games to none.
1994 – Cubs granted free agency to Donn Pall
1991 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Geremi Gonzalez
1959 – George Bell, born
1909 – Bill Lee, born
1886 – The Chicago National League Ball Club lost 8-5 to St. Louis as the Browns evened the Championship Series at Sportsman’s Park.