Morning Rewind, 10/14: The Cubs are four wins away from the World Series

Kershaw Forces Game 5, Cubs NLCS Bound


As recently as last season, a Chicago Cubs postseason run seemed unfathomable. Wallowing in the depths of the mediocre, it seemed like any extended period of success would be years away.

But when Joe Maddon took the reigns over the offseason, that timeline changed instantly. Combined with the addition of Jon Lester, the call-up of Kris Bryant and the sudden emergence of Jake Arrieta as one of the league's best pitchers, the Cubs -- finally -- are among the league's elite.

They made it official Tuesday night when they eliminated the 100-win St. Louis Cardinals, advancing to the NLCS for the first time since 2003.

They did it as they've done all season, mashing three home runs. An Anthony Rizzo solo bomb in the sixth broke a 4-4 tie, and Kyle Schwarber padded the lead with a shot of his own the following inning.

This marks the first time since 2010 that the Cards will not appear in the NLCS. Chicago awaits the winner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets series -- the winner of Thursday's decisive Game 5 will take on the Cubbies Saturday night.

Cubs 6, Cardinals 4

For Clayton Kershaw, Tuesday was the night the narrative died.

Pitching on three days rest -- a scenario in which he'd never come out victorious -- the Dodgers' ace faced the Mets in a do-or-die Game 4 at Citi Field.

Some two hours into the game, the "playoff Kershaw" fairytale had come to die. So had the "three-days-rest Kershaw" idea. The only myth left to kill? It died after the seventh inning -- the frame that has historically done him in -- when Kershaw set down the Mets without letting a run cross the plate.

It was a dominant outing, blemished only by a Daniel Murphy solo home run. Mets rookie Steven Matz held his own in the contest, faltering only in a three-run third inning, fueled by a few softly hit singles and properly placed knocks.

The Mets' pen held LA scoreless the rest of the way -- including two scoreless frames from Bartolo Colon -- but the damage had already been done. They knocked on the door in the eighth inning, loading the bases with two outs for Murphy, but after he lofted a lazy fly ball to right, the Mets were all but finished.

The series heads back to a Game 5 in LA on Thursday, where Jacob deGrom -- off his 13-strikeout performance in Game 1 -- faces off against Zack Greinke for a spot in the NLCS, where the Cubs and Jake Arrieta await.

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