At Keaton’s for the NLDS

“So how gay was it yesterday?,” Keaton asked me as soon as I came in the door carrying the Wingstop. We decided to watch Tuesday’s game at his place, and I wasn’t gonna bring cups of noodles for us to share lol.

“It was pretty dang gayass,” I said, “what with that Ethan dude watching me do push-ups.”

“Push-ups?”

“Yeah, man. So I’d look better in a bathing suit. And don’t even fuckin say it…”

“Ok, I won’t. It’s enough that you know I was thinking it.”

“Actually I think it came out pretty nicely. Me and Jacob were having a lot of fun in the pool…so it probably just looks like I’m the cool gym teacher. I’d rather they’d of gotten some footage of us doing baseball activity too, but I reckon they can get back to that next time.”

“So there’s gonna be a next time? You know that already?”

“Actually, I don’t. I got no idea what’s in store. I don’t even know what Robert and Jean-François – whoever they are – think of what they shot of me yesterday.”

“This may sound gay of me to say…but ain’t nobody gonna complain about pictures of you in a bathing suit, bubba. And you know it. Besides, you told me that Ethan dude checked you out head-to-toe when they first got the boardshorts in the mail, didn’t you? They know what they’re getting.”

“I reckon,” I said, without a ton of enthusiasm.

Keaton just smirked, so I decided to change the subject to the game, which was about to start:

“Is it gonna be weird seeing the Dodgers playing in Arlington instead of the Rangers?”

“It would have been weirder if they were still playing at Global Life Park…that’s where we used to go to games when I was a kid…when we went. It’s not like I hung out at the ballpark like you and your buddies did. And look at it this way,” he said with a laugh, “at least I get to see where the Rangers play, even if I don’t get to see them in the playoffs.”

“C’mon, man…you’re a Dodgers fan now. I know you bet on them to win the World Series at the beginning of the season.”

“Yeah…and it was a stupid bet.”

“Why? Don’t you want them to win??”

“Yeah, of course I do.” He shrugged. “I like to make money when I bet, though. I didn’t exactly get 15 to 1 on the Dodgers.”

“This from a man who’d even bet against the Cowboys…you couldn’t bet against los Doyers. Don’t make me make you bleed…but I’ll bet it comes out Dodger blue.”

I just got a smirk and told to shut the fuck up as we’d missed the first pitch.

I got a good feeling shortly thereafter when Seager came up to bat in the bottom of the 1st and took a walk. Impatience at the plate has been his main weakness all season long, so seeing him take things easy in an AB seemed like a good sign. That good feeling didn’t last, though: the Padres scored first and they managed to ratcheted up Buehler’s pitch count pretty dang fast. But then things turned the other way – in a totally weirdass way – when the Dodgers scored on a totally locoass combination of a walk, a wild pitch and a throwing error. When that happened, I thought, yeah, the baseball gods must be on our side lol. Then we had that great 6th inning…and it was all we needed.

On the other hand, it must have sucked incredibly for Bellinger to have had them walk Will Smith intentionally to bring him up. Yeah, Bellinger’s had a lousy year…but that’s really embarrassing to have happen to a last year’s MVP in the playoffs.

I was glad when he got his own back with that amazing catch and by homering in Wednesday night’s game.

Of course that game gave me what Meemaw calls ‘palpitations’. This time I think I pissed off the baseball gods at the start of the 6th when I looked at Kershaw’s pitch count, his number of strikes, and how he’d only given up one hit…and thought he might be pitching a gem like he did last week…

And then he let Machado (I still don’t like that dude) and Hosmer homer back-to-back. Then we got to the 7th and Bellinger’s fuckin amazing catch…and 2 runs in the bottom half of the inning. Graterol pitched a solid 8th…and then I got all nervous again when they put Jansen in to close. Seeing Jansen made me nervous Tuesday night, too, although we were up 5-1. Going into the 9th last night we only had a 3 run lead…and we’ve all seen Jansen blow saves in situations like that. Then he gave up that RBI double to Mitch Moreland and it really became a nail-biter. That’s the problem: Jansen saves are all nail-biters these days, even when he’s on…which he emphatically was not Wednesday.

They didn’t get him out as soon as they should have…if they should have had him in in the first place…but remember this isn’t only Kenley Jansen, this is Dave Roberts managing in the postseason. Seriously…giving up 2 runs and letting a man on so that Tatis could bring the go-ahead run to the plate?

Ok, so then Roberts finally pulls him…and puts Kelly in.

Kelly doesn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence, either. The dude is crazy, for starters. And what was the deal with throwing knuckle curve after knuckle curve – almost all of them for balls. (That’s the problem with that pitch: locating it.) Was Barnes really calling for the pitch over and over again, or was Kelly just following his own craziness?

Result: not just walking Tatis…but walking Machado after him…and loading the bases.

With the score 6-3 at the start of the 9th, it was our game to lose. And Roberts, Jansen and Kelly were losing it for us.

It was exciting, yeah, and me and Keaton were on the edges of our seats (if you can sit on the edge of a bean bag lol)..but not in the right way. Finally Kelly threw a fuckin knuckle curve for a strike with Hosmer up…and then finally got him to ground out. So we won by 1 run. It’s still a win, and I’ll obviously take it…but I think I aged 2 years during that half inning.

I felt plenty optimistic about the team afterwards, though. And the thing that made me feel most optimistic of all was that there was no way that Jansen would be brought in to close Thursday night.

It was Floro who closed, but the game was over long before he took the mound. Jansen could have closed for all it mattered. The game was an out-and-out rout of the Padres, and not a very interesting one. The Padres couldn’t run through pitchers fast enough, it seemed…and the Dodgers pretty much did everything right. The outcome was pretty much never in doubt…and my only question is why the game had to take 4 hours to play. I know: it takes time to score, especially when you don’t hit a single long ball and 12 runs have to be assembled out of 14 hits and 9 (!) walks. It wasn’t an exciting game, but it was exciting to see the Dodgers win (although I’m sure some of them must miss the champagne.) The NLCS starts Monday…and we’re now only 8 wins away from…well, y’all know exactly what I mean without my needing to tempt the baseball gods lol.

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