DODGERS 6, BARVES 1
Before game time, you couldn't find a Dodger fan whose stomach wasn't in knots. Odds are, we're all feeling just a bit better now.
Clayton Kershaw, THE BEST DAMN PITCHER IN BASEBALL, took the ball for Game 1 and did what he does best: shut down offenses. He didn't look particularly sharp over the first four innings, needing way too many pitches to put guys away and allowing a run in the bottom of the fourth. (Pitch count was up to 73 after four.) Then, he flipped a switch and struck out 8 of the next 10, finishing with 12 Ks over seven innings. (Including 6 in a row at one point, tying a postseason record.)
So, Kershaw was Kershaw, so that means the offense didn't support him, right? Not so fast, my friend! Turns out the bats made the trip to Atlanta too. Thanks to a few Braves mistakes (on the level of what Jon Paul Morosi assumed Puig was going to make), the Dodgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second. (Single by Puig, single by Uribe, sac fly by Skip, double by A.J.)
That should have been enough for Kershaw, but they weren't done yet. Adrian Gonzalez crushed a 2-run home run off Kris Medlen in the third. They added a run in the fourth on an RBI single by Mark Ellis. Medlen was finally chased in the fifth after plunking Puig. It didn't look intentional, but Puig was still fuming. (Puig ended up 2-4 and made a swank play to double off Evan Gattis in the second.) The only one missing out on the fun was Hanley Ramirez, who went 0-3 against Medlen, but he later had an RBI double off Jordan Walden. Yeah, I think the offense is going to be OK.
The bullpen helped out, too. Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless eighth, and Kenley Jansen closed out the game with a wobbly, but scoreless ninth.
Dodgers steal home field advantage, silence that infernal chant, and send Greinke to the mound tomorrow. Do we dare feel...confident?
Image: I took a cell phone pic of my TV.