I’d be lying if I said that I never stopped believing. Last Thursday was such a crazy day for me that it didn’t quite sink in that the Dodgers had dug themselves into a 3-1 hole. It wasn’t until I woke up Friday morning that I fully grasped the situation…and we know the odds of a team coming back from being down 3-1 in a 7 game series.
So I didn’t even watch Friday. I’ll admit it. Maybe that takes away some of my Dodger fan cred, but, like just about everyone else who follows baseball in Los Angeles, I wasn’t ready to watch Dave Roberts fuck it up again.
I guess the baseball gods laughed at me, since not watching Friday meant I missed Seager’s 2 home run game, but I did catch his homer on Saturday night, and that got me back to believing.
And I’m still believing after the team’s performance in the first game of the World Series Tuesday night. I watched the game with Keaton and neither of us could think of anything negative to say about how the Dodgers played. They did everything right, from pitching (Kershaw!) to fielding (Bellinger!) to having the bats hot at the right time…and that doesn’t just mean the homers, but also the smaller hits that added up to big runs. And that’s not counting Betts’ stolen bases (he even got Corey Seager to steal, which you never see; Seager also took 3 walks, which you’re also not likely to see again soon.) Betts’ was the star performance, but it was a team effort, like it needs to be in baseball. Tampa Bay played a good game: their pitching was good, their defense wasn’t as good as I’d thought it would be…and their bats went cold.
I know that there’s a lot of hating on Kershaw in the postseason, but maybe because I haven’t been in LA for as long as most Dodger fans, I still have faith in him. Yeah, fine, he totally fucked up last year, but that was as much Roberts’ fault as his. He’s still probably the greatest pitcher of his generation, even if he hasn’t pitched at his best in the postseason. I was nonetheless pretty sure he had it in him to pitch like he did Monday night.
Ok, I wont’ lie: I did get a little alarmed when the first two Tampa Bay batters got on base, but he settled down real fast. And look how well he pitched after that 33 minute bottom of the 5th when some pitchers would have lost focus just sitting in the dugout waiting to go back out.
I know there’s been a lot of talk about Bellinger’s shoulder. Yeah, it was pretty lameass of him to have popped it out in the first place, but most athletes have dislocated their shoulders at some point, and, speaking from personal experience, you just pop it back in and it’s pretty much ok to go again. I’m sure he’s fine. He may have thought twice about slamming into the wall on that one catch he fumbled, but anyone who saw that homer he hit would have to admit that his shoulder can’t be bothering him any. (Still, I hope he learned his lesson about risky celebrations. He should ask Matteo for high 5 lessons lol. I reckon that foot tap thing they were doing last night was safer, but it’s pretty lameass if you ask me lol.)
So there was every reason to feel good going to bed on Tuesday night. I thought that the people on Dodgerheads on YouTube who were predicting a sweep were being premature about it, but I felt good.
And then last night’s game happened.
Ok, first thing: it’s not the end of the world that the Dodgers dropped a game. You don’t get to the World Series without being a good team, Tampa Bay’s a good team, and you can’t realistically expect a sweep. That’s all fine and I still have a good feeling, but…
I know I’m definitely not the only person wondering why Dave Roberts left May in as long as he did, and the reality is that the pen’s pitching wasn’t exactly stellar. Some of the guys were ok, some of them were a lot less than that, but, as a group, they shouldn’t be allowing 6 runs…even if the best arms like Graderol and Urías weren’t available. If you ask me, the guys on the mound weren’t really pitching with any real sense of urgency…you didn’t get the feeling that they were playing a World Series game.
The bats weren’t a whole lot better, and you couldn’t blame Roberts for that. Sure, Tampa Bay’s pitching was pretty dang good, so you’d think we’d of been in really good shape after scoring 2 runs off of Snell. But that’s without reckoning with the less than great pitching and the cold bats for the rest of the game. We came away with only 5 hits on the night. Yeah, 3 of those were homers, but solo homers only score you 1 run, and I was disturbed by how little base traffic we had. (Outside of the 3 homers and 4 walks, we only got 2 men on base all night, and neither of them scored.) Again, I wasn’t getting a feeling of all-hands-on-deck urgency you’d expect in a World Series game.
The Dodgers lost, yeah, because Tampa Bay played better than they did…but you got the feeling that we could have played better. It just wasn’t a good enough effort, and effort is one of the things that’s needed to win a championship.
Let’s hope the team’s back to being hungry on Friday. Maybe winning on Tuesday got them a little overconfident, so maybe last night was a reality check for them. I know they can do it…but they’ve gotta play like they’re playing for their lives. A lot depends on their finally doing it this year.
Meanwhile, tonight’s the presidential debate. Y’all know that Robert Sharpman told me not to write about politics, but, honestly, I don’t know what I could write about it anyway. I do know I’m not interested in watching a couple of grown men yell at each other. Let me just put it this way: if there were a baseball game on tonight up against the debate, I know which I’d be watching…
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