St Louis Cardinals v Philadelphia Phillies - Game 5

What they’re saying about the Phillies’ first round exit


We did this with the Yankees yesterday, so it’s only appropriate that we check out some of the reaction to the Phillies’ surprising first round exit. Here’s a quick sampling:

Charlie Manuel: “Right now, I’ve just got some anger. I just feel very empty.”

Roy Halladay: “The hard part is, you think about all the work you put in, and then you have two days to get excited about the game. All of a sudden, it disappears. It’s hard to have it end like that.”

Ryan Howard: “It sucks. It sucks. Being in this situation, having it come down and making the last out and having it happen the way that it happened, it sucks. You don’t want to be a part of that. We came up short. The only thing we can do is try to focus on next year and, for me, try to get healthy.”

Sam Donnellon: The Cardinals advanced not just because they hit, but because their overlooked staff matched the Phillies famous staff, made the Phillies lineup so dormant that the two loudest innings of the game began with a hit batsmen and a dropped third strike.

David Murphy: It is a question that re-inforces the fickle nature of baseball’s postseason, when an entire season of accomplishment boils down to five games of performance. Once again, the Phillies were narrowly out-performed. And now they must spend an offseason reflecting on the emptiness of 102 wins, staring blankly at the present like last night’s sell-out crowd.

Jim Salisbury: Long after the stadium had emptied, and after most of the players had dressed and left the clubhouse, Shane Victorino reached into his locker and pulled out a sheet of World Series tickets marked for games in Philadelphia. He looked at them wistfully then tore them in pieces and dropped them into the trash bin as he headed for the door and another cold winter. This is all happened Friday night. The new Black Friday.

Todd Zolecki: This will be considered one of the greatest disappointments in Philadelphia sports history. Everything had gone according to plan during the season. The rotation lived up to the hype. The bats struggled early, but the team acquired Hunter Pence at the Trade Deadline to bolster the offense. The Phillies cruised to their fifth consecutive NL East championship, but this was a team that was supposed to win it all, and it won’t.

Paul Hagen: But what will 2012 look like? That’s the question that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will have to answer. Does he just need to make a few tweaks here and there and hope for fewer injuries and better timing a year from now? Or will he decide that this team is a little too old and a little too stale and feel the need to make significant changes to alter the chemistry? And how much will his hands be tied by financial considerations?

Phil Sheridan: Another year passes, then, without a ring for Halladay and Lee, who came here to win. For the first time, you have to wonder whether they picked the wrong place.

Cliff Lee: “It’s disappointing because we had higher expectations. I don’t know (if this was the best opportunity. I don’t think management is going to give up on everything. We’re still going to have good pitching. We’re still going to have a good team. I expect to come in here next year and make another run at it.”

The Cubs clinch World Series berth with NLCS Game 6 win

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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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:

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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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’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.