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.

This time, it doesn’t look encouraging for the Cubs

Flying the W against this year's Dodgers won't be easy for a drained collection of Cubs . . .

Flying the W against this year’s Dodgers won’t be easy for a drained collection of Cubs . . .

Before Cub Country begins salivating over the prospects of the Cubs reaching the World Series for a second straight year—after all, they’re the only one between last year’s combatants to get as far as a League Championship Series this time—a sobering truth must be faced. They’re going into their tango with the Dodgers with one and a half arms tied behind their backs.

Sweeping the Snakes, the Dodgers get a Hall of Famer’s endorsement

The Dodgers sweep the Diamondbacks. Now they wait for their NLCS opponent . . .

The Dodgers sweep the Diamondbacks. Now they wait for their NLCS opponent . . .

Psychologically speaking, when you get Sandy Koufax’s endorsement for a trip to the World Series it’s gilt-edged insurance. Speaking in baseball, alas, the Dodgers’ more than impressive sweep of the Diamondbacks out of their National League division series was just step one.

The Dodgers await the net results of the Nationals-Cubs division series. Which of them proves the Dodgers’ League Championship Series opponent didn’t exactly seem to faze Koufax as he stood outside the Chase Field visitors’ clubhouse while the Dodgers partied heartily enough after Monday’s 3-1 win.

Tough for even the best to hit the Indians’ pitching

Get your runs now---Miller Time is coming . . .

Get your runs now—Miller Time is coming . . .

If good pitching beats good hitting, the Indians go into this postseason with a distinct advantage over the competition. Even over those yummy young Yankees. And if good hitting beats good pitching, a few postseason bullpens have key vulnerabilities. Rather than bore you with why I think everyone else can just hurry up and wait for the Indians to claim this year what they nearly did last, let’s expand upon those two thoughts.

Suddenly the Dodgers look like the Dodgers again

Third base coach Chris Woodward extends Cody Bellinger a low fist after Bellinger blasted NL rookie record-tying number 38 Saturday afternoon . . .

Third base coach Chris Woodward extends Cody Bellinger a low fist after Bellinger blasted NL rookie record-tying number 38 Saturday afternoon . . .

Everyone thought the Dodgers began looking like deer frozen in the headlights when that sorry slump turned into an eleven-game losing streak and sixteen of seventeen lost. Now, as they were en route their fourth straight win and second straight against the National League East champion Nationals, the only one who looked anything like that thus far this weekend was Nats outfielder Jayson Werth Friday night.

Break a losing streak, clinch a postseason trip—the hard way

Jansen let out a whoop after punching out Hundley to end the game and the Dodger losing streak . . . but . . .

Jansen let out a whoop after punching out Hundley to end the game and the Dodger losing streak . . . but . . .

If you’re going to end an eleven-game losing streak, there’s no better way to do it than the hard way. Even if the break also means you clinched a trip to the postseason at minimum. Even if you looked just a month ago as though you were going to cruise to and through the postseason, maybe aboard a supersonic aircraft.

The bleeding Dodger blues

Dave Roberts (second from left) with reliever Walter Buehler (second from right) and infielder Cody Bellinger (right), moments before Mark Reynolds' grand slam hammered four more nails in the Dodgers' weekend coffin . . .

Dave Roberts (second from left) with reliever Walter Buehler (second from right) and infielder Cody Bellinger (right), moments before Mark Reynolds’ grand slam hammered four more nails in the Dodgers’ weekend coffin . . .

Let’s phrase it this way, as politely as possible: It sucks to be a Dodger or a Dodger fan right now. And while it’s always admirable to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, it sucks even worse to know that no team in major league history ever lost ten straight in any season in which they went on to win a World Series.

The Dodgers think, “Yu Wonderful Yu”

Darvish and Roberts after Darvish's first night's work as a Dodger finished.

Darvish and Roberts after Darvish’s first night’s work as a Dodger finished.

Perhaps as an unintended omen, Sandy Koufax took a walk through the Dodgers’ clubhouse at Citi Field Friday night, before the Dodgers sent their new toy, Yu Darvish, out to face the Mets. But maybe the Dodgers didn’t need a Hall of Fame omen for Darvish to manhandle what’s left of this year’s Mets.

About the only thing anyone disagreed upon after Darvish shut the Mets out with seven scoreless en route a 6-0 win was whether or not Darvish finished his night’s work by wrapping Dodger manager Dave Roberts in a big bear hug.