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After 70 Barren Seasons, Cubs Reach an Oasis CHICAGO Joe Maddon chose No

2019-03-28

70 for his uniform long before he agreed to manage the team that never wins. He picked it because he wanted a number nobody would ever care to take from him. It carried no significance. Maddon believes in a lot of things about baseball, but not in silly numerology or cosmic links to the past. He could not have known that one day he would guide the Chicago Cubs to the World Series, after 70 seasons in a row without a pennant. On Saturday night at Wrigley Field, the Cubs broke the streak, capturing the National League title by thumping the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-0, in Game 6 of the N.L. Championship Series. They will face the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, their first since they lost to Detroit in 1945. The 70 years that followed brought a few close calls, two excruciatingly so. Needing one win for the pennant in 1984, the Cubs lost three in a row at San Diego. Granted three more tries against the Marlins in 2003, the Cubs blew it again. Theres angst; theres all that kind of good stuff, Maddon said before batting practice Saturday. Its just a fan base thats been waiting for a while. Were definitely on the verge of doing something wonderful. The Cubs did not procrastinate. After losing two of the first three games in this series both by shutout the Cubs routed the Dodgers the rest of the way. Instead of the Cubs unraveling, it was the Dodgers who did, collapsing in every facet of the game. The Cubs earned 103 wins in the regular season, yet the Dodgers seemed intent on giving them the pennant. They made four errors and gave up 10 runs in Game 4. They talked tough about exploiting the throwing yips of Jon Lester in Game 5 yet lost big in a halfhearted effort. Then came Saturday, when the Cubs Kyle Hendricks, not the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw, looked like the best pitcher on the planet. Kershaw was already trailing when his left fielder, Andrew Toles, took his eyes off a fly ball by Anthony Rizzo in the first inning. It clanged off his glove, and Rizzo got two bases. Rizzo later hit a home run, the second off Kershaw, who served up five extra-base hits and ran out of October magic. Maybe it transferred to Hendricks, plucked by the Cubs from the Texas Rangers farm system in 2011 for the veteran Ryan Dempster. Hendricks, a Dartmouth man, had then pitched just three innings above Class A. But his uncanny command of unassuming stuff led Kershaw to compare him on Thursday to Greg Maddux.