The Chicago Cubs will return to the World Series for the first time in 71 years. The last time they made it to the Fall Classic, they fell to the Detroit Tigers in seven games back in 1945. The Cubs have even more history to make, as they haven’t won a World Series since 1908, easily the longest championship drought in all of sports.
Chicago Cubs World Series Bound
The Dodgers Challenged the Cubs
The Cubs were favorites heading into the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but wins did not come easily for them. After a strong start, they showed some vulnerability, just as they did in the NLDS when the San Francisco Giants almost forced a Game Five.
They opened Game One by taking an early 3-0 lead by the bottom of the second. The Dodgers tied the game in the top of the eighth before Miguel Montero hit a pinch-hit grand slam in what turned out to be a five-run inning and a comfortable 8-4 win for the Cubs.
The Dodgers came back the next two games with shutout pitching from Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and their bullpen for a 1-0 win in Game Two and a 6-0 win in Game Three. Being shutout in one game, let alone two, seemed improbable for the Cubs. Their offense carried them throughout the first five postseason games. They averaged five runs per game during that stretch. That offense seemed to vanish into thin air for a couple of games before coming back with a vengeance.
The Cubs Regained Composure
In Game Four, the Cubs retrieved their composure as they cranked out two unlikely home runs en route to a 10-run ballgame. Those came from Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell, who contributed next to nothing in the Cubs previous seven postseason games. The Cubs followed that up with another offensive explosion, as they scored eight runs in Game Five. Both Rizzo and Russell continued their hitting, as the duo combined for 4-for-10 with one home run, three RBI, and two runs scored. Both Kris Bryant and Javier Baez extended their streaks of consistency, as the two combined for 5-for-10 with four RBI and two runs scored.
The Cubs entered Game Six technically in a comfortable spot in the series, up 3-2. Most Cub fans probably experienced bad flashbacks to Game Six of the 2003 NLCS when Steve Bartman‘s interference helped turn a potential clincher into an elimination Game Seven. The Cubs had no trouble clinching this one, as Kyle Hendricks pitched an absolute gem and was supplied with plenty of run support. The Cubs won 5-0 and now advance to the World Series.
History Happens Next
The Cubs will take on the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series. These two teams combine for 174 seasons without a World Series victory. The Indians will have home field advantage, since the American League beat the National League in the All-Star Game back in July.
The Cubs World Series drought transcends all sports. It is very likely that no Cub fan on the face of the planet was alive the last time they won. After all those years, one of these two teams will win it all, led by two of the best managers in the sport in Joe Maddon and Terry Francona.