NLCS Game 5

That was obviously more like it. But I’ll admit it: like just about anyone else watching the game last night, seeing Freeman get that homer and the having Kelly (who’s been great all season) go down worried the fuck outta me. I just didn’t have the feeling that we could do it the way we did last year. The injury to Kelly probably explained why he gave up the homer (although Freeman is a dang good hitter), but that wasn’t much consolation when the Braves put up 2 in their half of what was only the 1st inning.

So I was kinda sunk in the doldrums…although Jacob kept reminding me it was only the 1st inning. It wasn’t until Pollock got that ball out on the 2nd and, then, when Taylor got the two-run shot a few minutes later, that I was back to believing.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s not like I didn’t keep on supporting the Dodgers and it’s not like I didn’t cross my fingers and wish for them to win, but everybody’s brain has a realistic side and, well, when the other team is up by 2 before your team even gets to bat and is also up 3-1 in a series, that realistic part of your brain tells you your team is sunk.

That’s no excuse not to keep on playing as hard as you can. I’ve been in similar situations, and I’ve been there for my share of talks from coaches telling us it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and so of course you keep trying. But you also kinda know when you’re fucked no matter what you keep trying to do to win the game.

Ok…so now it’s time to tip my cap to CT3, one of my favorite Dodgers, and one I didn’t stop believing in, even when he went through that super bad slump in the second half of the season. I thin of Taylor as a ballplayer’s ballplayer: he doesn’t just have spectacular nights where he hits walk-off home runs or hits three home runs in a game during the postseason, he’s a complete ball player, and, even when his bat went totally cold, he was still an incredibly valuable piece of the team because of his fielding ability. You can look him up on Baseball Reference: this past season, he played all three outfield positions, 2nd and 3rd bases and shortstop. That’s pretty dang versatile for someone who calls himself a natural shortstop. I’m a natural shortstop and I sure as heck can’t play the outfield the way Taylor does. He’s the most versatile player on the team, and is there, night after night, doing what he can to help the team win. That’s what being a ballplayer is all about.

And, oh yeah, he can fukin explode too. And stay totally humble about it. AJ Pollock told us last night in his press conference that Taylor’s a real low-key dude who likes a beer and likes to watch surfing. He’s not someone who’s gonna go jumping around outside the dugout like Joc Pederson. Some guys who hit 3 homers is a game would be waiting to take a curtain call. Taylor said he’d gone back into the dugout and was talking to Corey Seager when he had to go out and acknowledge the applause. He’s one classy ballplayer.

Tip of the cap to Pollock as well, although his 2-homer game got overshadowed by the night CT3 was having. The fact is that everyone in the bottom half of the order was having a great night…a better night than the top half was having. The Dodgers won the game 11-2 with 17 hits, but, of those 17 hits, 12 came from batters 5 through 8. That shows just how deep the team is, but it also shows that we’re not firing on all cylinders (although cylinders 5 through 8 fired enough last night for us to blow the Braves out of the water.) I’m not sure what it means entirely, but I reckon the optimistic thing to say is that, once the top half of the order gets going, we should be unstoppable.

I guess it wouldn’t be me writing about the Dodgers if I didn’t have something to say about Dave Roberts lol. Last night, he left me – and a whole lot of other Dodgers fans – scratching our heads when he let Graterol bat…but didn’t let him keep pitching. The bullpen was fuckin lights out last night, but Graterol was a star among stars. He got 6 outs on 14 pitches, 11 of which were strikes and something insane like 9 of them were over 101 mph. The dude was on fuckin fire and there was definitely more gas in the tank. There really was no need to take him out of the game. He could easily have gone another inning. Treinen was pretty great too, so it all worked out, but, then, if you were gonna go for Treinen in the 6th, why let Graterol bat with a man on base? It was a classic pinch hitter situation.

So what does Roberts do, when the score was still only 6-2? Throws away a runner in scoring position and gets nothing in return. I reckon he was saving his bench players for later in the game, but you can ask (and I sure as heck am asking) when was he saving them for?

Still…however awesome last night’s victory was, the reality is that we still have to win two more games to stay in this. We’re working without a safety net, and, while we proved last year that it was possible to beat Atlanta and get to the World Series by winning three games in a row, we ain’t there yet.

But, fuck yeah: Go Dodgers!

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