And now for something completely different
The Dodgers did something they hadn’t done since 1985, win a game one in the NLCS. The tried and failed in 2008, 2009, 20013, and 2016 but 2017 was a different story, and it was a complete team effort.
Date Series Gm# Tm Opp Rslt 1985-10-09 NLCS 1 LAD STL W 4-1 2008-10-09 NLCS 1 LAD PHI L 2-3 2009-10-15 NLCS 1 LAD PHI L 6-8 2013-10-11 NLCS 1 LAD STL L 2-3 2016-10-15 NLCS 1 LAD CHC L 4-8 2017-10-14 NLCS 1 LAD CHC W 5-2
Clayton Kershaw struggled with his command but only made one mistake which cost him two runs. Given his pitch count and his struggles, the choice to pinch hit for him in the 5th seemed like the right move. Something to consider though, when the Dodgers face a left-hand starter the right-hand pinch hit options are very limited. Kyle Farmer is on the roster to give the Dodgers flexibility with Barnes but if Barnes is going to start 80% of the games, maybe they could use a better right-hand pinch hitter.
Forsythe and Barnes worked Quintana for walks, and Puig delivered a booming double to LCF to plate Forsythe. With Kershaw on deck and Barnes at 3rd with one out all the pressure was on Culberson to deliver the tying run. With the count 0 – 2 things looked bleak for the improbable game one starter, but he delivered a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
For some reason, Cingrani has been reduced to a one-out pitcher and he got his out before Kenta Maeda came in to finish a perfect 6th.
Chris Taylor almost hit a home run in his second at-bat and did hit a home run in his 3rd at-bat giving the Dodgers their first lead of the series and game.
With the score 3 – 2, Kenta was allowed to get one out in the 7th before Brandon Morrow came up to finish up the dreaded 7th inning. The bullpen had pitched two clean innings.
In the bottom of the 7th, Puig had his most memorable postseason at-bat. He kept his bat on his shoulder as Montgomery threw the first pitch. He watched it all the way, and shrugged as if, “is that all you got”. The next pitch was high and inside and moved him off the plate. The next pitch was sent soaring high into the night and for most of the flight it looked like Schwarber had a play but as he got ready to leap he had gone to far and the wall kept him grounded while the ball cleared the fence.
Later in the 7th, Culberson would score on a play where the catcher Contreras obstructed his ability to touch home plate. On one hand, you have to like that no one got hurt, on the hand, damn, home plate collisions were the bomb. John Lackey is right, the game is getting soft, but I can’t complain, breaking players only gave fans a few seconds of thrill while ending careers.
Morrow and Jansen finished up and the Dodgers have a game one in their pocket. We won’t talk about 1985 again.