There’s that old saying that goes “Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”
This series is all too familiar on both sides of the field. The question is, will it be a repeat of last year, or will the Los Angeles Dodgers step up and knock the reigning champ Chicago Cubs off their throne?
The Cubs wasted no time jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning when Albert Almora homered to left field, no simple task against Clayton Kershaw. If you’re the Cubs and can tack on a 2-0 lead against him, all that matters is holding the Dodgers there for the rest of the game.
The Wild Horse, in the wild west
Chicago would have no such luck this time around. In the bottom of the fifth, Yasiel Puig got the Dodgers on the board with a double and triumphantly pumped his fists in the air as he stopped at second. He’s also probably one of the few who flipped his bat after a double in celebration. It would just be the beginning of his evening of punishing the Cubs. Their lead had now been cut down to 2-1. Charlie Culberson would tack on one more that inning with a sacrifice fly and tie the game.
The “Wild Horse” only made the night wilder in the bottom of the seventh when he put the Dodgers up 4-2 on a solo home run off Mike Montgomery. Dodger Stadium shook with joy and Puig came out for his own curtain call. Sticking out his tongue and shaking his head at a crowd that didn’t know it was exactly what they wanted.
It should come as no surprise that Puig continues to dominate. Coming off the NLDS against the Diamondbacks, his slash mark is .466/.529/.933. Having all that power in the seventh spot in the lineup is deadly for any opposing team. He’s essentially a cleanup hitter after your cleanup hitter.
Later in the inning, Justin Turner would single and bring home Charlie Culberson to score on a controversial call that would be overturned at the plate for the Dodger’s 5th run of the evening. Prompting a usually level-headed Joe Maddon to emerge from the dugout to argue with the umpire. The overturned call would stand and Maddon would be ejected.
The Cubs couldn’t put up any more runs tonight and would lose 5-2. Already the tone seems to be set for the entire series. The Dodgers are now 4-0 in their postseason games and if their offense continues on this track, the Cubs could suffer a sweep similar to what we saw in the 2015 NLCS against the Mets. Personally, I don’t know if Chicago has the same pitching stamina that pushed them through to the World Series last year. This is a Dodgers team that’s also operating without a healthy Corey Seager, making Puig even more important and his performance tonight all the more significant. If tonight is any evidence of how that affects the lineup the answer is that it doesn’t, not with Puig continuing to dominate at the plate. If Seager makes his way back in the next few days, it’s only more bad news for the Cubs going forward. Turner, Bellinger, Puig, Taylor; there’s no safety in this offense. That is exactly how the Dodgers want it to be.
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