The Chicago Cubs road to the NLCS was the product of a prodigious power display rivaling some of the best to ever occur in postseason play.
The Cubs homered 10 times in the four games, nine of which came in the two at Wrigley Field. The 10 were one shy of the record for the most in an LDS (shared by the 1995 Mariners, 1995 Yankees and 2004 Astros).
The 10 home runs by the Cubs were three more than they hit in their four previous division series combined. The Cubs' record for home runs in one postseason series is 13, against the Marlins in the 2003 NLCS.
Seven players homered for them, tying a division series record for one series.
The Cubs scored 15 of their 20 runs on home runs (75 percent). The Elias Sports Bureau notes that’s the third-highest percentage by a team that won a postseason series, trailing the 1998 Yankees in the ALDS (78 percent of runs) and 2003 Red Sox in the ALDS (77 percent).
The clinching homer
It was probably appropriate that the home run that gave the Cubs the lead for good in the clinching game was hit by Anthony Rizzo.
Rizzo had the most big hits for the Cubs during the regular season. He led the majors in Win Probability Added, a stat that evaluates every plate appearance during the season by how much it contributed to the team’s chance of winning or losing.
It was an atypical home run for Rizzo. Only one of his 102 career regular-season homers came on an 0-2 pitch - July 25, 2012, against Kevin Correia of the Pirates.
Rizzo is the first player in Cubs postseason history to hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth inning or later of a potential series-clinching game.
The most homers
Kyle Schwarber homered after Rizzo’s home run to pad the lead. He hit three home runs, the most of anyone in the series. That’s one shy of the Cubs record for home runs in one postseason, shared by Aramis Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez (2003).
A good omen?
The last three teams to eliminate the Cardinals from postseason play either won the World Series or went on to win the World Series.