On a somewhat dreary and chili October night the Dodgers found themselves battling the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card game on Wednesday evening at Dodger Stadium. They weren’t even supposed to be there. In a fair world they wouldn’t be. The club that won 106 games tying for a franchise record finished one game behind the Giants in the NL West. We cursed the baseball gods and current playoff system, wondered why. But there the Dodgers were facing the Red Birds in a one-game playoff to advance to the NLDS. It didn’t seem fair but that was the reality. There was no crying in baseball or, so we were told by starting pitcher Max Scherzer. The Dodgers and the fans had to deal with it. The boys in blue had to win and there was nothing else anyone could do about it.
The Dodgers had never played in the Wild Card game before. It was as nerve wracking and exciting as we expected. Our palms sweat, teeth clenched, and stomachs shook. Our bodies tingled as the Dodgers and Cardinals battled deep into the night. The Dodgers had won 16 more games than the Cardinals in the regular season but on this night none of it mattered. Both teams had to win a baseball game to move on. The standings meant nothing anymore.
When Chris Taylor’s walk-off two-run home run landed in the left field pavilions, all of Los Angeles breathed a sigh of relief. Dodger Stadium went into pandemonium as Dodger fans jumped up and down in delirium. The Dodgers had somehow pulled it off and are heading to San Francisco to face the Giants in the NLDS.
There were so many key moments that mattered. It was Max Scherzer’s gutsy performance when he didn’t have his best command. It was Justin Turner’s solo home run into the visiting bullpen in the fourth inning that tied the score. It was bespectacled Joe Kelly’s fifth inning punch-out of Dylan Carlson that kept the game knotted at 1-1. It was Corey Knebel striking out Harrison Bader in the top of the eighth. It was vintage Kenley Jansen whiffing Dodger killer Paul Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill to end the top of the ninth.
Dave Roberts pulled all the right strings putting the Dodgers in a position to win. Hooking Scherzer to bring in Kelly. Bringing in Taylor towards the end of the game. There were so many key spots in the Dodger’s win. Then of course there was Taylor’s shot into the left field stands that brough jubilation to Dodger Stadium.
This year is more than just the Dodgers trying to win a championship again. This year is also about the Dodgers stopping enemies from winning the World Series. If the Giants win the title this year it will be ugly and horrifying. If the cheaters win the World Series, it will be just as disgusting. There’s the Red Sox still around as well. The Dodgers are playing to save baseball this fall and only the boys in blue can do it. If they can do it, it could be the beginning of a beautiful Dodger’s dynasty.
7 thoughts on “National League Wild Card: Only The Dodgers Can Save Baseball This October”
Great write up. I thought for sure Dodger killer Goldschmidt was going to kill us but Jansen got him on a borderline call (cry all you want Cardinal fans but he should have protected the zone there and fouled that off in an away game).
Thanks Yueh! Good to see you.
You are absolutely right, Scott. Without the Dodgers in October, MLB would have suffered and the playoffs would be boring.
It was a shock to see four of the most iconic, legendary baseball teams and historic uniform logos locked in two wild card playoffs, only to have two eliminated. The classic, never changing Dodger Blue uniforms and one of the most successful franchises must represent major league baseball and Dodgers history.
As for last night, these late inning rallies are exciting, but nerve-racking. I was shocked that CT3 was not in the starting lineup. I know he is favoring a sore neck, but to sit in a one game winner take all? He proved that he should have started, and I was so happy for him. A great offensive and defensive replacement indeed.definitely this year’s MVP, and Dodger savior. JT set the tone with his big Jack, but CT3 deserved to be the walk-off hero.
I think DR should consider having Barnes behind the plate when Scherzer pitches. Scherzer even said he likes Barnes to be his battery-mate Smith’s pitch calling was in question last night, many times being shook off by Max as well as Kenley. Also his one knee down behind the dish makes him vulnerable to past balls and wild pitches, especially with runners in scoring position.
Go Blue! Kill the Gnats! Take no prisoners.
Over the last 56 games of the season, the Giants went 41-15, a 73% win percentage. The Dodgers were even better at 43-13 for 76%, and we just eliminated the Cardinals who won a franchise record 17 straight over that same span.
@Bluefan, it was nerve racking nail biter indeed. Max Scherzer said each pitch was “pins and needles”. But I like the speed we had in the late innings with CT, Bellinger and Trea all in the game. The speed will come into play even more if we go extras. Barnes runs quite well too. This is a dimension that we’ve needed and under-utilized in the first half when we were losing all those extra inning games.
You are right Yueh Feh. The running game is the key. They have the speed, but fail to utilize it. Mookie seems a bit reluctant to steal a base. Even Trea fails to utilize his speed enough. This overlooking the run game does not put pressure on the opposing pitcher, Muncy and JT were not getting fast ball cookies, and this led to many force outs, GIDP’s, and pop ups. All while the opposing offense runs all day on our pitchers, and they manufacture early runs.
Utilizing a Dodger run game will definitely work in their favor, leading to opposing pitcher frustrations, and fewer RISP.
Lets go, Blue!
Guys, steals are (for a slate of reasons) no longer a weapon.
I may be in the minority here, but I find the Rays, the Giants and the Dodgers all fun to watch.
And the Red Sox of course.
Just your opinion Bluto, and you are entitled to that, but I would be interested in seeing your “slate of reasons”.
I still believe a running game would help the Dodgers, or any team that would like to put pressure on the pitcher and catcher, and lead to a productive offensive attack.