Everything you want to know about the Cactus League experience

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It’s still raining in the desert and most teams here have cancelled morning workouts. I figure it’s just a matter of time before they bang the games too, so I’m sort of in a holding pattern, trying to figure out how to spend my day. I may go to the Italy-Canada WBC game, which is under the roof at Chase Field. I don’t know. The only set plan is USA-Mexico this evening.

In the meantime I’m eating tasty stuff in one of the best joints in all of Phoenix and reading basebally things. Here’s a basebally thing: an interview with me about all of the Cactus League parks over at ParkGrades.com. Stuff like:

Question about Phoenix Municipal Stadium – Phoenix Muni is the oldest of the Cactus League Stadiums, and you’ve described as “how the Soviets would build their stadiums if they had the good sense to like baseball.” My question to you: how would the Soviets have built their rosters if they had they good sense to like baseball?

 Craig: Probably a lot of corner guys. First basemen with pop but not good glove work. Power first. A lot of Ivan Drago types. I say that under the assumption that it’s still OK to make fun of Soviets. If not, I apologize if I have offended any Soviets.

Enjoy.

Hernandez hits three home runs, powering Dodgers past Cubs 11-1 to win NL pennant

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The Dodgers will appear in the World Series for the first time since 1988 after defeating the Cubs 11-1 in Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday night. The Dodgers scored early and often, making Thursday’s affair devoid of any stress.

Cody Bellinger drove in a run with a double against Cubs starter Jose Quintana in the first inning. Enrique Hernandez tacked on a solo home run to center field in the second. The Dodgers broke it open in the third, as Quintana allowed hits to all four hitters he faced in the inning: a ground-rule double to Chris Taylor, an RBI single to Justin Turner, and two more singles to Bellinger and Yasiel Puig. Hector Rondon relieved Quintana and, after striking out Logan Forsythe, he served up a grand slam to Hernandez to make it a 7-0 game. Forsythe hit a two-run double off of John Lackey in the fourth pad the lead to 9-0. Hernandez added a third home run, a two-run shot, off of Mike Montgomery in the ninth to push the score to 11-1.

Hernandez is the 10th player to hit three home runs in a playoff game and the fifth to knock in seven runs. The other four were in the American League, so Hernandez’s seven RBI marks a new National League record.

Kris Bryant hit a solo home run off of Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, but that was it for offense on the Cubs’ side. Kershaw tossed six innings in total, allowing the one run on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts spanning 89 pitches.

Kenta Maeda took over for Kershaw in the seventh, working a 1-2-3 inning. Brandon Morrow got the eighth and worked around a one-out single with three strikeouts.

With a 10-run lead, closer Kenley Jansen took the hill in the ninth. He got Bryant to line out to left field, Anthony Rizzo to fly out, and Willson Contreras to line out to shortstop to seal the 11-1 victory — and the pennant — for the Dodgers.

The Dodgers will wait to see who they will face in the World Series. The Yankees are one game away from punching their ticket, leading the ALCS 3-2. They’ll match up with the Astros in Houston on Friday.

If the Yankees end up being the Dodgers’ World Series opponent, it will be the two clubs’ 12th meeting in the Fall Classic. As Craig noted on Twitter, the Yankees have the upper hand, having won eight of those 11 series.