No. 2: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers, October 20, 2016
I chose this start – Game 5 of the National League Championship Series – over Game 1 for two reasons: First, the bullpens decided Game 1 and second, because I felt like the stakes were a little higher in this game. Jon Lester pitched well for the Chicago Cubs in both games, but in the end, I felt like this one was a little bigger.
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The Cubs would score first on an RBI double from Anthony Rizzo in the first inning, but the Dodgers would tie the game off Lester in the fourth on an RBI groundout from Adrian Gonzalez. It stayed that way until the top of the sixth when Addison Russell would hit a two-run home run to put the Cubs ahead 3-1.
Lester finished off seven innings of one-run ball, and then the offense would finish the job in the eighth, rallying for five runs, including a three-run double from Javier Baez. The Cubs would win the game, 8-4.
Again, I wouldn’t blame you if you felt like Lester’s Game 1 performance also deserved to be on this list: He allowed one run in six innings at Wrigley Field that night. He would have picked up the win had the bullpen not allowed two runs in the eighth inning, but thankfully the Cubs rallied for five in the bottom of the eighth to seal that game.
After this game, the Cubs would go home with a 3-2 series lead. However, unlike in 2003, there would be no drama this time, as the Cubs would win Game 6 by the score of 5-0 and clinch their first National League pennant in 71 years.