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As a youth, I occasionally wasted away more than a few days (and nights) playing a dice baseball game called APBA. Sometimes, when things weren’t going my team’s way, I rolled the dice again to try and get the desired result, a homer instead of a ground out, perhaps.

Thursday evening in DC, the Cubs kept shaking the dice until things went their way.

The dice were really rolling for the Cubs in an unbelievable fashion in the top of the 5th inning that went something like this: Mad Max Scherzer, the hero hurler of the Nationals comes in in relief presumably to save the day as the Gnats had a 4-3 lead at this point.

Rizzo and Bryant were retired routinely. Two outs. Then after three straight hits by Contreras, Zobrist and Russell, the Cubs tied it up.

This was when it started to get weird. A walk, a dropped third strike with a throwing error, a catcher’s interference and a bases loaded hit batsman ensued. When the dust-y settled, the Cubs had taken a 7-4 lead that they would not relinquish, advancing to the NLCS with a 9-8 W in a 4 hour and 37 minute game.

According to an ESPN article, the odds of everything that happened in the top of the 5th inning happening was 1 in 2,183,406,113. (That’s Billion.) Here’s the article explaining if you’re into the baseball Sabermetrics sort of thing:

The Nationals go home. They have now won their division, but have never advanced to the next round of the playoffs having lost in the first round in 2012, 2014, 2016 & now 2017. Stand back Mister Billy Goat, there’s a new curse in town.

And, Chicago goes to Los Angeles for the weekend to play the Dodgers in a rematch of last years’ NLCS. Back to Wrigley on Tuesday for a trio of midweek evening contests.

It’s the Cubs third straight appearance in the NL Championship Series. These aren’t your granddaddy’s Cubs. Backs to the wall, they are 4-0 in elimination games the last two years. Now that I’ve had a taste of it, this October playoff baseball thing never gets old.

This time the Dodgers are the favorites to win according to the odds makers. But, I wouldn’t roll the dice against the Cubs.