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Chicago Cubs playoff Rapid Recap: Dodgers advance to World Series with 11-1 win over Cubs

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The Cubs will miss the World Series for the first time since 2015 as the Dodgers clinch the NLCS.

Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t think that any Cubs fan is so out of practice that we don’t know the routine: “Wait until next year.”

First off, congratulations to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who reached the World Series for the first time since 1988 with a 11-1 trouncing of the Chicago Cubs. They won the best-of-seven series 4 games to 1. The Dodgers were the better team over the course of the season and they were the better team over the course of the series. They deserved to win and they did. If it makes you feel better, no Dodgers fan under 35 can really remember their team playing in the World Series. You all know what that feels like.

The recap of this one is going to be short. The Cubs needed Jose Quintana to come up big and for the Cubs hitters to solve Clayton Kershaw early. Neither happened. Quintana got hammered and was removed before retiring a better in the third inning. Kiké Hernandez, of all people, hit three home runs including a grand slam off Hector Rondon in the third inning. Pretty much everything that happened after the grand slam was meaningless. Meanwhile. the Cubs failed to do much of anything off of Kershaw until Kris Bryant hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. That was the first hit that Kershaw allowed.

The Cubs only scored eight runs in this five game series. All of them were scored on seven home runs. That kind of offense is a problem. I can’t tell you whether that was the fault of the Cubs hitters, the Dodgers pitching and defense or just bad luck. That’s for the suits in the front office to figure out. But they won’t win many series if the team is unable to put together a sustained rally.

John Lackey came on to pitch for what was probably the final game of his career. His former catcher, Bengie Molina, Tweeted out this fun fact.

I didn’t ever realize Clay Bellinger was on the 2002 Angels. He had one at-bat in April and struck out. He played one inning of defense in another game without an AB. He spent the rest of the season in Triple-A. But that was an interesting bookend to Lackey’s career. (And for a guy who played in just 183 games over four seasons in the majors, Clay Bellinger earned three World Series rings and one American League Championship ring.)

Repeating as World Champions is hard. No team has done it this century as the last team to do it were the 1998-2000 Yankees. The last National League team to return to the World Series two years in a row were the 2008-2009 Phillies. The last National League team to win back-to-back World Series were the 1975-1976 Reds. So that the Cubs did not repeat as World Champions should not be a surprise to anyone.

I’ve got to admit that this one hurts a little. But it’s a really minor pain. Compared to the disappointments of Cubs teams past, there just isn’t the feeling of despair that accompanied 1984, 1989, 2003, 2008 or 2015. (Or any other season I failed to mention.) There is no one reading this who can say that they’ve never seen the Cubs win it all in their lifetime. (And don’t tell me your newborn son has never seen the Cubs win. He doesn’t care and why aren’t you changing his diaper instead?)

But I do feel bad for those who won’t be back with the Cubs next season. Jake Arrieta is almost certain to leave as a free agent and Wade Davis is more likely than not to leave. As mentioned earlier, Lackey is expected to retire. Others, no doubt, will be traded or released. It’s the way of the game. I just wish the Cubs would have sent them out with a better game.

The core of this team is still young and still strong. The team will make moves over the winter to compete next year. They should be the favorite to win their third-straight NL Central title and make the playoffs for the fourth-straight year. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but the Ricketts, along with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and company, have built a team that should compete year in and year out. So you have that to look forward to all winter. Maybe the Cubs can steal some even-year magic from the Giants, since they aren’t using it anymore.

Don’t worry. There will be another championship flag flying over Wrigley Field sometime soon. Just wait until next year.