2016 Postseason Recap
The 108-year drought is finally over. Somewhere Ron Santo and Harry Caray are smiling and hollering. The lovable losers finally did it. The Chicago Cubs are officially champions of the baseball world, and the longest championship drought in major American sports has ended. With their historic Game 7 victory, the Chicago Cubs capped off a thrilling 2016 postseason that saw it all. Here is a look back at the magical MLB postseason.
Wild Card Games
The Toronto Blue Jays outslugged the Baltimore Orioles to win the AL Wild Card game by a 5-2 score. In the NL Wild Card, Madison Bumgarner added to his unparalleled postseason resume with a complete game, four-hit shutout in the Giants’ 3-0 win over the NY Mets.
On the AL side, the Blue Jays swept the Texas Rangers and left the Rangers fans distraught for the second year in a row. The Indians also swept the Boston Red Sox to send Big Papi into retirement. In the NL half, the Cubs made short work of the Giants, finishing them in four games. The only competitive divisional series was the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the Washington Nationals. The Dodgers were triumphant after winning the final two games of the series to erase a 2-1 series deficit.
This was a matchup of two teams with all the momentum in the world, but only the Indians were able to keep the train rolling. They jumped out to a three-game series lead on the backs of their phenomenal pitching staff. Relief pitcher Andrew Miller was particularly impressive, pitching 7 and 2/3 innings of scoreless relief with 14 strikeouts. He became just the fourth relief pitcher in history to be named ALCS MVP.
This is where the Cubs freight train, which had been rolling along smoothly all season, finally ran into problems. They fell behind in the series 2-1 to start to worry their long-suffering fans. Fortunately, the team crushed the Dodgers by a combined score of 33-6 over the last three games to set up the biggest World Series matchup in history against the Indians.
There has never been a more historic meeting in the World Series. It was the first time the Cubs had been in the World Series since 1945, and the Indians had the second-longest championship drought in MLB behind the Cubs. The Indians were attempting to become world champions for the first time since 1948.
Both teams had momentum and reason to hope coming into the series. The Indians were the hottest team in the postseason coming in, and the Cubs were the best team in baseball all year. The question was whether the Cubs’ bats could do enough to overcome the Indians’ great pitching staff.
As it turned out, the Cubs had just enough offense to do it. They struggled over the first four games of the series, falling behind 3-1. However, Jon Lester pitched a Game 5 gem to pull them within one game in the series, and then Arrieta followed with a jewel of his own to send it to a Game 7.
It was a Game 7 for the ages. The Indians stormed back from a 6-3 deficit, a rally that was capped off when Rajai Davis blasted an Aroldis Chapman pitch into the leftfield seats to tie it up with a two-run homer in the eighth inning. Chicago fans were stunned, as they wondered if that was the last they would see of the flamethrower and, more importantly, if it was business as usual: another heartbreaking loss. After a short rain delay after nine innings of play delayed action, the Cubs managed to seal their first championship in 108 years with two runs in the 10th inning to win 8-7. Their fans will likely still be celebrating by the time next summer rolls around.