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Dodgers now one win shy of reaching World Series after defeating Cubs 6-1 in NLCS Game 3

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The Dodgers once again took care of business in the NLCS against the Cubs, winning 6-1 in Game 3 at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night. They now hold a 3-0 series lead and can punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.

Kyle Schwarber gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead when he slugged a solo home run to the opposite field off of Dodgers starter Yu Darvish, but that was it for offense on the Cubs’ end. Darvish buckled down and held them scoreless for the remainder of his outing.

Andre Ethier tied the game in the top of the second, drilling a solo home run down the right field line off of Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks. Chris Taylor followed up with a 444-foot home run to straightaway center field, breaking the 1-1 tie. Taylor once again came through in the fifth, knocking in a run with a triple down the left field line. Hendricks finished the night allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts on 82 pitches across five innings.

Darvish drew a bases loaded walk against reliever Carl Edwards, Jr. in the sixth to make it 4-1. He went back out and worked got the first out of the seventh, but manager Dave Roberts decided that was the end of the line. Across 6 1/3 innings, Darvish yielded just the one run on six hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, throwing 81 pitches in the process. Tony Watson got the final two outs of the seventh on a pop-up and a strikeout.

The Dodgers padded their lead in the eighth, scoring a run on a passed ball and another on a sacrifice fly from Kyle Farmer. Brandon Morrow entered to pitch the bottom of the eighth, working around a one-out walk of Schwarber to bridge the gap to Ross Stripling in the ninth. Stripling gave up a single to Alex Avila followed by a ground-rule double to left field by Albert Almora, Jr., putting runners on second and third. Manager Dave Roberts brought in Kenley Jansen to put out the fire. He did. He got Addison Russell to hit an infield pop-up, then struck out Tommy La Stella and Ian Happ to end the game in a 6-1 victory.

The Dodgers will attempt to close the series out in Game 4, which starts at 9 PM ET on Wednesday night. Alex Wood will make the start opposite the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta. The Dodgers have not appeared in the World Series since beating the Athletics in five games in 1988.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.