The Best: As if there was any question. It looks good in any decade, and on any body type. Well, almost any body type. The whites seem brighter than any other team’s whites. The English D is perfection. It’s the perfect shade of blue. A hair darker than navy, it seems, even if it’s called navy. Aside from one crazy “what in the hell were they thinking?” year in1960, the Tigers have stuck with that look since 1934 (though the English D was in use as early as 1904). With apologies to the Yankees and the Dodgers, this is the best uniform in baseball history.
The Worst: Putting an actual tiger on the back is a bit audacious. Pinstripes are just not right on the Tigers, but they do at least help show why I like their current look better than the Yankees. And I don’t care if it was 1903 and they were still trying to figure things out: a block D on Red was a sartorial dead end. But the all time worst, however, has to be the mid-90s orange-bill cap numbers. They looked like a USFL team in them.
Assessment: I already called them the best, so let’s dispose of an assessment here and talk about road uniforms for a minute. Personally speaking I like their doubleknit roadies of the 70s and 80s, probably because I grew up with them. Hardly anyone agrees with me on this, even Tigers fans who are my age. Even when I point out that they improved them at the very end, getting rid of the pullover, elastic waistband version, slapping a belt and buttons on them and taking them out of that 70s look. Downright sharp if you ask me. But still, people disagree with me. They like the current roadies the best, almost unanimously. They’re nice enough, but bah! Bah, I say! I put them third, behind both the Alan Trammell-era grays and the 1960s number-on-the-sleeve jobbies, which I find totally cool for some reason.
After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.
The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).
Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.
With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.
Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.
With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:
So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.
According to MLB.com’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).
Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.