Everything came full circle at about 1 a.m. EDT Sunday night; that's actually ironically enough when the clock struck midnight in Chicago. The Cubs' season was over in an instant. The team with the best record in the NL proved that record means nothing come playoff time.
Maybe it was the Curse of the Billy Goat. Maybe the Cubs just got outplayed. So long, Sweet Lou, Alfonso Soriano, and Carlos Zambrano. We'll see you again next year. Man, I bet Jeff Samardzija wishes he chose football right about now.
There are a vast array of fantastic storylines that look so fitting in Dodger blue. Whether it is Joe Torre getting back to the playoffs after leaving the Yankees or Manny Ramirez setting something off that brought the Dodgers back into playoff talks and contention.
What about Rafael Furcal coming back off an injury and reclaiming his spot in the lineup? This list could go on and on, but all I know is that the LA Dodgers are a playoff baseball team. They say it's not always important how or why you get hot. The key is when you get hot. The Dodgers chose just the right time to do so.
I know how much some people hate to hear it, but Ramirez has had a definite positive impact on the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's played outstanding baseball since he arrived in LA. He's been quoted saying "It's like a vacation here." Looks like ManRam plays better when he's having fun.
The Dodgers started this series off in Chicago and trailed for the first four innings of the series, but after James Loney's grand slam in the fifth inning, they never looked back.
The Dodgers were helped tremendously by strong starts from Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, and Hiroki Kuroda. Their bullpen shut down the Cubs for the most part, except for the ninth inning of Game Two, when they were already up, 10-0.
The Dodgers will need the veteran starters to continue the trend of dominance if they wish to further their successes this postseason. Relievers Jonathan Broxton and Cory Wade pitched brilliantly in each of the three games in the NLDS. It was even nice to see Greg Maddux get some time in the series.
The Dodgers offense has seen solid production from Loney, Russell Martin, and, you guessed it, Ramirez. Ramirez is second in postseason NL batting average at .500, tied for first in postseason home runs with Pat Burrell of the Phillies with two, and Loney and Martin are first and second in postseason RBI with six and five, respectively.
The Dodgers offense outscored a normally potent Chicago Cubs offense by a total of 20-6. That includes the ball Ramirez took a golf club to and sent 17 rows into the bleachers.
Torre said it best himself: "It's been a great ride so far, but we still have eight games left to win."
He's right there, and I'll be watching as that number shrinks until eventually there won't be any games left to win.
What a ring that has to it: The 2008 World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.