MLB playoffs: Three takeaways from Dodgers’ NLCS-clinching win over Cubs

The Dodgers are headed to the World Series for the first time since 1988 after routing the Cubs 11-1 in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series Thursday in Chicago.Enrique Hernandez enjoyed a breakout game, recording three home runs, including a grand slam that put the Dodgers up 7-0 in the third inning.Hernandez became the first player in MLB historyto hit three home runs in a postseason gameat Wrigley Field en route to seven RBIs, which were one short of the number of runs the Cubs scored in the entire NLCS.There are three takeaways from the Dodgers’ series-clinching win.1.Jose Quintana’s short start spoils Cubs’ secret planThe Cubs Michael Taylor Jersey were going to pull out all the stops in Game 5 to make sure the series went back to Los Angeles, but Jose Quintana screwed that up royally.According to USA Today Sports, Chicago had planned on letting Quintana go as deep as he could before bringing in Kyle Hendricks to close it out. It didn’t work out that way though as Quintana was not at his best.The 28-year-old trade-deadline acquisition to sed 2-plus innings, allowed six hits, six runs and a walk while striking out just one. He allowed a run in the first, another in the second and allowed four straight base hits to start the third inning before Joe Maddon removed him from the game.2. Taylor, Bellinger continue fairy-tale seasonsIf someone had said prior to the 2017 season that Chris Taylor would start in center field and CodyBellinger would hold down the first-base spot for a Dodgers team that won the National League pennant, many would have called that personcrazy.Bellinger is all of 21-years-old and Taylor had hit a high of one home run in a major league season coming into 2017. But for anyone that has followed Los Angeles this season, the fact is Taylor has been their spark plug and Bellinger has been their heart.It was the same story in Game 5. Taylor started the game with a walk, hit a ground-rule double in the third, and reached base on each of his first three plate appearances. Bellinger drove in Taylor for the Dodgers’ first run and had a double and two singles in his first three at-bats.The Dodgers aren’t going to the World Series because of Bellinger and Taylor, but they have been absolutely key components to the team’s succe s and it would have been a lot harder to win the NL without them.3. Kershaw vindicated with Game 5 winThe seemingly never-ending storyline of Clayton Kershaw’s lack of postseason succe s won’t come to an end Thursday, but it will certainly be muted until the World Series starts.The 29-year-old Dodgers’ starting pitcher to sed six innings of three-hit, one-run baseball and earned the win for Los Angeles to clinch the NL pennant. Kershaw started three games in the NL playoffs, went 2-0 with a 3.64 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings pitched.It might not be a line that features a perfect game, but in two matchupswith Jose Quintana, Kershaw threw 11 innings and allowed just three runs. The Dodgers went 3-0 in his three starts.Many people won’t be satisfied until Kershaw throws a no-hitter, or at least a complete-game shutout in the postseason, but he was more than good enough to earn some respect in these playoffs.HighlightEnrique Hernandez had the game of his life in Game 5. It started with a home run in the second inning and continued with a grand slam in the third. What a time for a slam. #PapaSlam MLB (@MLB) October 20, 2017What’s NextWorld Series, Game 1, TBD The Dodgers now await the winner of the AL Championship Series between the Astros and the Yankees. New York leads the series 3-2 after winning three straight games at Yankee Stadium. However, Houston has recently acquired Justin Verlander on the hill and they are hopeful he can stop the bleeding. But New York has an All-Star going in Luis Severino, so they are confident the 23-year-old can get the job done too.

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