The 26-year-old Kyle Hendricks responded to all the pressure and allowed just two hits over 7 1/3 innings. He completely stymied the Dodgers. Entering the NLCS, Hendricks had the lowest ERA in the NL and at home. The Dodgers couldn't have won the game even if Kershaw had been brilliant since Hendricks was giving his impression of Greg Maddux. Hendricks constantly changed speeds and used the corners of the strike zone effectively.
The phrase frequently used in Brooklyn when the Dodgers were playing there, "Wait until next year," applies to this team. The Dodgers came into the NLCS full of hope, but like the last three seasons, they disappointed. When they won two out of the first three games against the Cubs, Dodgers fans hoped this was the year that the team would return to the World Series for the first time since 1988, but it wasn't meant to be.
The incredible number of injuries finally caught up with the Dodgers. Their bullpen was exhausted and couldn't get the job done during the NLCS. Entering Game 6, the ERA of the Dodgers' bullpen was 5.96. Except for Kershaw in Game 2 and Rich Hill in Game 3, the Dodgers had poor starting pitching.
The Cubs had the best pitching staff in the Majors, and it showed in the NLCS. During the regular season, the Dodgers' left-handed dominant lineup struggled against left-handed pitching, so manager Dave Roberts tried to alter his lineup whenever a left-handed pitcher started. This didn't always work out well. The right-handed Dodgers hadn't performed as well offensively as their left-handed hitters, and held true in the NLCS.
In the regular season, the Dodgers had a superb defense, but in their final three games of the NLCS they made six errors, and they led to their undoing. Against good teams like the Cubs, a team can't give its opposition scoring opportunities, and the Dodgers did during the NLCS.
After Game 3, the Dodgers tried to rush plays in the field and didn't exhibit patience at bat. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that he was approaching Game 4 of the NLCS like it was a game in July. He understood he needed to provide a calming influence on his young team. He has been to the World Series before as the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, so he understands the nervousness involved in the postseason for the players.
Roberts had not been in this situation before. He is an enthusiastic, upbeat guy who wanted to bring a World Series championship to Los Angeles.
In 2016, the Cubs were clearly the best team in the NL. Although the Cleveland Indians are a fantastic team with their young pitching staff, the Cubs are better if they play their game. To win their first world championship in 108 years, the Cubs need to score early and often and use their amazing athleticism to make every play. Maddon must keep his even personality to keep his young team focused on the task at hand.
Although the Indians won their last world championship in 1948, a large number of fans are rooting for the Cubs.