Once they were finished slaying the Giants in the NLDS, it was time for the Chicago Cubs to continue their historic run against another West Coast powerhouse.
On October 15, 2016, over 42 thousand fans packed into Wrigley Field as the Chicago Cubs hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least, knowing what had happened just a year prior.
At the hands of Daniel Murphy and the New York Mets, Chicago’s fairytale season had come to an abrupt halt. A four-game sweep that left a bad taste in the mouths of those involved and in attendance. Let us not forget 2003, as if the media would allow that to happen.
It was time for redemption as Jon Lester squared off against Kenta Maeda. Lester, who would eventually earn a share of NLCS MVP honors, pitched six solid frames that evening. He held a dangerous Los Angeles lineup to one earned run on four hits in a no-decision.
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His co-MVP, Javier Baez, gave him an early one-run lead by stealing home in the very first inning of play. An exciting play that had sent the home teams fans into a frenzy.
What made this game magical was Chicago’s determination to get the job done. Fast forward to the eighth inning, score tied at three. The batter would be backup catcher Miguel Montero who entered the frame as a pinch-hitter.
Montero stepped to the plate with the bases full of Cubbies. After swinging and misses on an 0-1 pitch, Montero was flirting with disaster having only one strike to get the job done. On the at-bat’s third pitch, Miguel launched a 400 ft no-doubt home run into the right-field bleachers.
Before fans could set themselves back into their seats, Dexter Fowler cranked a solo shot of his own, making it 8-3. Then it suddenly began to set in. The Cubs were only three outs from winning their first National League Championship Series game since 2003.
At the end of the night, that is exactly what had occurred. Despite dropping the next two games of that series, the Cubs would get the job done at Wrigley. A series-ending double-play finished by Baez would punch Chicago’s first trip to the World Series since 1945.
The rest, as you all know, is history. A postseason in which we will never forget no matter how frustrating things have been since. This team not only toyed with our emotions but spoiled us with unforgettable moments throughout their World Series run.
On this day in Cubs history, our boys were grand.