How the '84 Cubs helped the Dodgers advance to the NLCS

How the '84 Cubs helped the Dodgers advance to the NLCS
October 8, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Tony Andracki

The Los Angeles Dodgers earned a trip to the National League Championship Series Monday night with a thrilling victory over the Braves.

But how did the 1984 Cubs play a role in the Dodgers' victory?

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1984 is a tough year for Cubs fans to reminisce on.

It was the season Steve Goodman recorded "Go Cubs Go", which is now blasted through the loudspeakers at Wrigley Field after a Cubs win.

It was the year the Cubs won 96 games and boasted the Manager of the Year (Jim Frey), the National League MVP (Ryne Sandberg) and the NL Cy Young Winner (Rick Sutcliffe).

Yet, they still lost in five games to the San Diego Padres in the NLCS.

Sutcliffe is the main focus of this trip down memory lane. He went 16-1 after coming to Chicago midseason and was dominant in a Game 1 victory over the Padres in the NLCS as the Cubs cruised to a 2-0 series lead over San Diego.
Frey and the Cubs were given the option of starting Sutcliffe on short rest for Game 4, or hold him for a decisive Game 5.

They chose the latter, and the Padres wound up in the World Series while the Cubs were sent home.

Ned Colletti wanted to make sure history didn't repeat itself.

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Colletti, now the Dodgers GM, was an assistant to Cubs GM Dallas Green in 1984. So, when faced with throwing ace Clayton Kershaw on short rest in Game 4 Monday or holding him out for Game 5, Colletti and the Dodgers pushed their young southpaw, and it paid off as Kershaw allowed just three hits and no earned runs in six innings.

"I learned from that," Colletti said. "I learned from Dallas Green and I didn't forget.

"I wasn't going to let that happen here. We were going to take two great chances with two great pitchers to win one game."

Of course, Colletti's decision was made a bit easier with Zack Greinke, he of the 2.63 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, ready to go Game 5 in case it came to that. But hey, whatever works.