NLDS: NLDS: Chicago over San Francisco (3 games to 1); Los Angeles over Washington (3 games to 2)
This series marked the first time in their history the Cubs reached the NLCS in back-to-back years, and they knew they’d see Clayton Kershaw at least twice.
But not in Game 1 -- Kershaw’s heroic NLDS effort precluded that -- and so the series opener unfolded into a back-and-forth affair. Chicago scored three early runs against starter Kenta Maeda, highlighted by Javier Baez’s steal of home – the first in the postseason by a Cubs player since 1907. The Dodgers came back against Aroldis Chapman, tying the game in the eighth to set the stage for Miguel Montero’s game-winning, pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom half of the frame. Montero’s historic blast set a dramatic tone for the rest of the series.
Kershaw came back to blank the Cubs in Game 2, and Rich Hill and three relievers followed to shut out Chicago again in Game 3.
But the Cubs’ bats wouldn’t stay quiet for long. They erupted for 23 runs over the final three games of the series, including five off Kershaw in the Game 6 clincher, to send Chicago to its first pennant in 71 years.