Losing Game 1 was gut-wrenching. I sure as heck didn't want to write the Post-Game Thread (thanks, Orel!). But amidst the wreckage there still is hope.
The headlines are all about how amazing it was that Clayton Kershaw was knocked out suddenly, in the seventh inning, after he had overcome a first-inning solo HR to settle down and become machine-like in his dispatching of the Cardinals.
But lost in this narrative is the fact that 1. we had Adam Wainwright on the ropes from the get-go. St. Louis' ace didn't last much more than four innings, thanks to a steady barrage by the Dodgers that kept runners on the basepaths and Wainwright ill at ease. So sure, they may have knocked out our ace, but not until after we had already gotten to theirs.
2. A.J. Ellis going 4-for-5 with 2 RBI, from the eight hole? This from a guy who batted .191 in the regular season? I'll take it. If Ellis can add yet another bat to an already daunting lineup, that will be great. We'll also need Ellis because...
3. ...Someone has to manage this team, since it's not going to be Don Mattingly. Mattingly's mismanagement of Kershaw in the seventh, when nerves got the best of him, was so typical: the player's coach left it to the player to make the call. When three straight Cardinals reached base, slapping Kershaw's fastballs convincingly, one would think that that would be the perfect time for the manager to come and slow the game down for his ace to recover. Instead, just like Donnie has handled Joc Pederson this past month, Donnie left his young player in a series of difficult spots, forcing him to sink or swim alone. This one could have been prevented--and if Donnie has already exhausted his trips to the mound, it's up to Ellis to stop the game, have some discussions, feign injury if necessary--but take control of this game. We are going to have to win in spite of Donnie, but I am confident Ellis can help do so.
4. Adrian Gonzalez is a stud. Not only did mild-mannered A-Gon call bullshit on Wainwright and Yavier Molina after the Yasiel Puig HBP, but he came back late in the game to stroke a two-run HR. We'll need his fire, but I'm sure we'll get that as well. A-Gon made clear, he's not sticking around just to watch the game; he's here to play.
5. Aside from Pedro Baez' missteps, the bullpen wasn't all that bad in Game 1. One on which to build.
6. Down 10-6, we didn't just roll over and go away. We didn't pull off the comeback, but battling back for three runs late shows we've got some grit, too.
Look, I'm bitter, and angry, and still trying to process this one. It was one bad inning, but that's all it was. This series is still far from over, so let's hope we come back today and show some more fire.