The Dodgers insist: “No, Cubs, no!”

Hernandez and the Dodgers have a blast . . .

Hernandez and the Dodgers had a blast in Game Five . . .

Oh, well. Cinderella learned the hard way that fairy godmothers have only limited extra dispensations. Joe Hardy learned the harder way that you can fool the devil only once, after you were fool enough to cut a deal with him in the first place.

And if Applegate needed any way to hammer the point home, he couldn’t have chosen better than Clayton Kershaw looking like near-vintage Clayton Kershaw when he needed most to look that way in a postseason game.

Or, turning the Cub bullpen into arsonists.

The Cubs’ pumpkin is still a coach—for now

Baez finally found his swing at the best possible time for the Cubs in Game Four . . .

Baez finally found his swing at the best possible time for the Cubs in Game Four . . .

Cinderella bought one extra day, at minimum, before the coach turns back to a pumpkin. Joe Hardy had Applegate blocked at all gates. A guy who began Wednesday evening having gone 0-for-the-postseason at the plate hit two out.

And nobody had to steal a base with two out in the bottom of the ninth, either. It didn’t get that far in Wrigley Field. If it had, instead of singing “Go, Cubs, Go!” when it ended in the arduous 3-2 Cubs win, Cub Country would have been singing the Rolling Stones’s chestnut, “19th Nervous Breakdown.”

Turner’s Gibson act isn’t music to the Cubs’ eyes

Justin Turner channels his inner Kirk Gibson on better legs . . .

Justin Turner channels his inner Kirk Gibson on better legs . . .

With one swing in the bottom of the ninth Sunday night, Justin Turner gave the Dodgers and their fans something they haven’t had most of this postseason. Just when it looked like both League Championship Series were going to be the anti-division series that preceded them, along came a little old-fashioned off-the-charts heroism.

Sweep the Diamondbacks just to get to this LCS in the first place? Boooooooring. Get to a 2-0 National League Championship Series lead like methodical businessmen or like John McGraw’s ancient “scientific” baseball men? Pfft. Too easy.

A Cub shows too much leg

Umpire Winters actually let Maddon make a little case before tossing him, despite the rule calling for automatic ejection for arguing replay/review call overturns, as Maddon did on the illegal Contreras block Saturday.

Umpire Winters actually let Maddon make a little case before tossing him, despite the rule calling for automatic ejection for arguing replay/review call overturns, as Maddon did on the illegal Contreras block Saturday.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn’t like Chicago’s soda tax. It took a play at the plate in Game One of the National League Championship Series to learn that.

Because Dodger shortstop Charlie Culberson was thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the seventh—no, he wasn’t, after Cubs catcher Willson Contreras blocked the plate before he had left fielder Kyle Schwarber’s throw in his possession.

Blowing in the crosswinds

Anthony Rizzo's jam shot floated into the crosswinds and hit the grass eluding three Nats to put the Cubs ahead to stay in Game Three, NLDS . . . will it help send the Nats home early again?

Anthony Rizzo’s jam shot floated into the crosswinds and hit the grass eluding Trea Turner (left), Michael Taylor (center), and Jayson Werth (right) to put the Cubs ahead to stay in Game Three, NLDS . . . will it help send the Nats home early again?

Don’t look now, but the Cubs are one game away from pushing the Nationals out of the postseason in round one. That would be territory both teams are accustomed to seeing, even if last year it was the Dodgers giving the Nats the push and the Cubs moving forward at the Giants’ expense.

The Bryce was right for the Nats in Game Two

Bryce Harper touching the plate after his mammoth two-run homer began bringing his Nats back from the dead in the eighth in Game Two

Bryce Harper touching the plate after his mammoth two-run homer began bringing his Nats back from the dead in the eighth in Game Two

Some teams see the danger of falling behind 2-0 in a three-of-five and shrivel. Some see it and see an opportunity. The same goes for individual players. Push them or theirs against the wall and they either shrivel or push back hard. Bryce Harper, right now, is in the latter category.

The Nationals aren’t anywhere near complaining, after Harper started the yanking that ended with a 6-3 Nats win in Game Two of their division series against the (say it again!) defending world champion Cubs. (Still feels good, no, Cub Country?)

The Cubs. World champions. Signed, Epstein’s mother.

The party's on . . .

The party’s on . . .

Jolly Cholly Grimm started Hy Vandenburg instead of Hank Borowy. The College of Coaches was decertified in its crib. Leo Durocher didn’t burn out his regulars and make nervous wrecks out of his subs and rookies. Leon Durham fielded the grounder. Steve Garvey made a long out. Dusty Baker lifted Mark Prior to start the eighth. Alex Gonzalez fielded the hopper cleanly and turned the double play.

To Game Seven, via the ICU

Chapman in the eighth . . .

Chapman in the eighth . . .

Forget about making things a little more exciting even when they leave themselves room enough to make things simple. These Cubs are just hell bent on keeping Cub Country not on edge, but within easy reach of the intensive care unit.

These Indians seem hell bent likewise regarding the Indian Isles, who must have thought—after the Cubs forced a seventh World Series game—that simplicity is simply not an option anymore.

Francona’s been there, Maddon would like to do that

Francona (left) has broken one franchise curse and strikes to break another; Maddon would settle for breaking one right now.

Francona (left) has broken one franchise curse and strikes to break another; Maddon would settle for breaking one right now.

Terry Francona has been here and done that. If there’s anyone in baseball who knows what it’s like to steer a team heretofore in the wilderness and under heavy curses, actual or alleged, it’s Francona.

A man who shepherded the once-snake bitten Red Sox to shove back with everything they had, only beginning when Dave Roberts stole second on Mariano Rivera with the Sox three outs from an elimination sweep, isn’t exactly going to let a Cub uprising in Game Five of this World Series bite him that hard.

Chapman, Cubs answer the “big ask”

Eight outs? Sure! Why the hell not?

Eight outs? Sure! Why the hell not?

Something unexpected happened in Wrigley Field Sunday night. The Cubs—the real Cubs, the ones you watched or heard about all regular season long, the ones you remember from their pre-World Series postseason rounds—came to the ballpark.

They left their impressions of Cub calamities past somewhere. Who knows where? Who cares? The hosts who let the Indians make off with the valuables and leave them tied up in the closet didn’t wait for the cops.