LOS ANGELES -- Breaking down Game 5 of the National League Championship Series between the
Cubs 8, Dodgers 4: Cubs lead series 3-2.
The game: After a lopsided win on Wednesday, the Cubs appeared ready to pick up where they left off when leadoff batter
After relievers Josh Fields and Grant Dayton notched two outs apiece, Roberts called on righty
Where Roberts needed five pitchers just to get through the game's first seven innings, his counterpart
The Cubs rallied for five runs in the eighth off frustratingly deliberate Dodgers setup man
Man of the moment: Lester. In a postseason dominated by creative and aggressive bullpen usage and one game after
Manager's special: Roberts set a new MLB record for pitching changes during the 2016 season, so it hardly seems surprising he relied heavily on his bullpen in Game 5. But his first move of the night raised eyebrows: With two outs and two on in the fourth, Roberts yanked Maeda after only 76 pitches and brought in Josh Fields to face Lester, the owner of a career .064 batting average. Fields got Lester to fly out, but it seems hard to imagine Maeda would not have managed as much.
Pivot point: Russell's homer. According to
What you missed on TV: The musical stylings of Dodger Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle, who mixes classic ballpark organ cues with creative covers of a broad variety of songs, keeping things festive throughout the Dodgers' loss.
State of the series: The clubs have a travel day on Friday and play Game 6 in Chicago on Saturday. Needing only one win in the two home games ahead, the Cubs appear the prohibitive favorites to take the NLCS and advance to the World Series. But their Saturday task is hardly a mundane one, as they'll face a fully rested