Dodgers Sweep Away Cubs' Hopes
Monday, October 6, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- Reprinted from washingtonpost.com
The signs proclaim "It's Gonna Happen." And maybe, one glorious day this millennia, it will. But after falling, 3-1, to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night, the Chicago Cubs will spend this winter the same way they have a hundred times before -- longing for a world championship.
After emerging as arguably the best team in the National League, Chicago ended its season by playing three of its worst games of the year in the National League Divisional Series. The Dodgers, underestimated all season, played perhaps their three best.
James Loney delivered another clutch hit -- adding a two-run, first-inning double to his Game 1 grand slam -- to give the Dodgers the early lead. Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda took care of the rest, throwing 6 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball, ensuring the sweep.
"It's going to be a long winter," said Cubs leadoff man Alfonso Soriano, who finished his awful series 0 for 5. "We had a very good team."
His advice to long-suffering Cubs fans?
"Be patient," said Soriano, the former Washington National who went 1 for 13 in the series.
Chicago finally scored in the eighth, pulling within two runs when pinch hitter Daryl Ward singled home Derrek Lee, who ran through a stop at third base to score. But Dodgers reliever Jonathon Broxton struck out Mark DeRosa to end the threat.
Broxton remained in the game for the ninth, delivering similar results to officially finish off the Cubs, who in their own typical style, closed the books on perhaps the most miserable century in the history of professional sports.
The Cubs hoped the change of scenery would provide an escape from the pall at Wrigley Field. And indeed, Dodger Stadium provided a different vibe.
On a cool Southern California night, a sellout crowd of 56,560 waved white towels given out at the gates. When the face of funnyman Vince Vaughn flashed on the giant video board -- he was wearing a Cubs hat -- the crowd booed. An inning later, when franchise icon Fernando Valenzuela graced the screen, they cheered.
The environment, however, did little to alter Chicago's lowly fate.