The Los Angeles Dodgers returned to the Fall Classic with an 11-1 rout of the defending champion Chicago Cubs on Thursday night. The 4-1 series victory in the Windy City earns the Dodgers their first appearance in the World Series since President Ronald Reagan’s last months in office.
Clayton Kershaw acted like Clayton Kershaw, striking out five and allowing three hits and one run in six innings on the mound. Enrique Hernandez, a journeyman-utilityman, acted like Mr. October, blasting three home runs, including a grand slam. He plated seven runners.
He did not look like the guy left off the first-round playoff roster last season. He did not look like the light-hitting righty going deep just eleven times this season. He certainly did not look like the guy in a banana suit in the dugout.
The Los Angeles Dodgers looked like the team that won an MLB-best 104 games this season and not the team that lost eleven straight in September.
They await the conclusion of the American League Championship Series Friday night to learn their opponent.
The Houston Astros represent the better team over the season. The New York Yankees represent the better team right now. In the former club, the Dodgers go against a familiar foe that used to compete in the National League West. They have met in the postseason before, just within the older league’s playoffs. In the latter club, the Dodgers see a hated postseason rival whom they beat for a World Series title in their last matchup in 1981 but own a disappointing 3-8 series mark against them in Fall Classics.