UPDATE: Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that Tulowitzki is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The Rockies will likely recall Josh Rutledge to replace him on the active roster, but it’s going to tough to hang around in the playoff race without him.
9:39 PM: Terrible news for the Rockies. Troy Renck of the Denver Post was told by major league sources that Tulowitzki was diagnosed with a broken rib on his right side following an MRI. He’s expected to face a lengthy absence.
9:33 PM: The Rockies have been one of baseball’s biggest surprises this season in part because Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez have been healthy and extremely productive, but today wasn’t very kind to them.
Tulowitzki injured his ribs on a diving stop in the eighth inning of this afternoon’s game against the Nationals. Rockies manager Walt Weiss told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that he’s actually been dealing with soreness in the area for about a week. He’ll undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the injury, but he could obviously miss an extended period of time if it turns out to be one of those nasty strained oblique muscles.
Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler also left today’s game due to injury, but both are considered day-to-day for now. In a freak play, Gonzalez was hit in the left foot by a foul ball off the bat of Jordan Pacheco when he was standing in the on-deck circle in the first inning. Fortunately for the Rockies, X-rays came back negative. Fowler was later hit in the hand by a pitch while pulling back on a bunt attempt in the third inning, but was diagnosed with a right ring finger contusion. While he’s dealing with some swelling and can’t grip the bat at the moment, it appears that Tulowitzki could miss the most time among the injured trio.
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.