Monday, October 09, 2017

NLDS Game 2 Post-Game Thread / At-Game Recap: Are The 2017 Dodgers Back?

Not the greatest start to the night, but still servicable

SoSG AC and I went to NLDS Game 2 Saturday night, and you could cut the tension with a knife.

It's funny, when watching Game 1 on the tele, it sounded like the Stadium was rocking. But SoSG AC told me that at the start of Game 1, there was so much tension, it was crazy. It was almost like the fans were afraid to cheer, until Justin Turner smashed a three-run HR in the first to break the seal early. And yes, it got closer later on in the game. But that top of the first, AC said, was brutal as every Dodger fan in the house had gnawing and churning stomachs.

On television, you'd never know.

So there I was in Game 2, and once again, the tension was high. At the Stadium, you could feel it, even with the fans streaming into the Stadium at 4p for the 6p start. There were no Dodger fans screaming down the corridors. There were no Dodger fans covered in facepaint, ready for war. Even the pre-game Diamondvision banter, focusing on a handful of fans in the left field pavilion, plus shots of the guys carrying the crazy-huge Dodgers flags up and down the main pavilion walkways, were met with sort of tepid cheers.

Maury Wills' tribute and first pitch was brilliant, steeping the Dodgers back into our hallowed tradition. And the unaccompanied national anthem guy was also solid. But it didn't do much to get Dodger fans alive.

And then came Rich Hill's meatball to Paul Goldschmidt, who with one out smoked a HR to left that was never in doubt (I think the exit speed off the bat was something like 108 mph, if I'm not mistaken). Down 2-0 early, and we went quietly in the first. Hoo boy, I thought.

Luckily, Robbie Ray also had control issues and his three WP led to the Dodgers' first and game-tying second run, the latter of which was in the fourth when Logan Forsythe (who had reached on a one-out single) came home to tie the game during a Kyle Farmer AB. Farmer struck out, but then Chris Taylor got a two-out single to score Austin Barnes (who also had singled) and take a 3-2 lead. Finally, the Dodgers crowd could exhale a little bit, and it got a whole lot louder.

And the fifth inning opened the can of whupass like the Dodgers had done through most of this season, this time advancing runners around the diamond without the benefit of a HR. Justin Turner opened the inning with a HBP, but was retired with a Cody Bellinger force at second. The Snakes went to Jimmie Sherfy again thinking that the Dodgers would wilt before the unknown rookie. However Curtis Granderson, he of the four absolutely awful at bats in Game 1 (2Ks, 4 LOB), came through with a single (and advanced to second on the errant throw by JD Martinez). Forsythe singled in Cody to make it 4-2; Barnes doubled to make it 6-2; and then Yasiel Puig greeted Jorge De La Rosa (remember this guy?) with a RBI single to make it 7-2.

The Diamondbacks got closer in the seventh on an absolutely mammoth three-run HR off of Brandon Morrow, but Morrow settled after that fateful first pitch and got the next three outs, and then the Dodgers tacked on another run off of Archie Bradley in the seventh when Ketel Marte let one through the five hole. 8-5 LA through seven, and that's where she ended.

The scoreboard operators (not to mention Rich Hill) had to implore the Dodgers fans to MAKE SOME NOISE multiple times in the evening, but by the end of the game and Randy Newman's famous song, the place went nuts. Dodgers win, 8-5, and lead the NLDS, 2-0.


AC and I were commenting on how Dave Roberts was playing this game like a Game 7: Rich Hill pulled after four innings. Tony Cingrani brought in for one batter (leadoff hitter David Peralta) in the fifth, up 3-2; and then Kenta Maeda in for two surgical outs over four pitches (K, ground to short) to retain the 3-2 lead.

Maeda looked like he was done when Yasmani Grandal (talk about weak bats of late) was in the on-deck circle, but after Puig's RBI single, Maeda stayed in to bat (pop out to second to end the inning), but then struck out JD Martinez in the top of the sixth before Doc went to Tony Watson for the next two outs. When Watson struggled with two singles to start the top of the seventh, Roberts went to Morrow, who started poorly but settled; Josh Fields got the first out of the eighth and then gave up a double to Daniel Descalso, and then Kenley Jansen came in for the five-out save (which was largely efficient, thanks in part to a great play by JT to end the eighth on a rocket to third that he handled smooth like Santana).

Roberts had Granderson come in at the right time. He played Ethier, who took a walk in the seventh. Roberts saved a catcher on the bench in case he needed him. He also wisely never went to Pedro Baez, particularly given the Snakes' big bats who would have feasted on fastballs.

We got four servicable innings out of Rich Hill. We found a great spot for Maeda, who delivered.

Logan Forsythe, after a season full of offensive mediocrity, went 3-for-5 and is batting .500 with a 1.056 OPS in two games.

Austin Barnes went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI and has a 1.800 OPS, leading the Dodgers (Turner at 1.475; Puig at 1.445; Corey Seager at 1.125).

On the negative, Cody Bellinger looks kinda lost, going 0-for-5 with some bad Ks that I have to think are rookie jitters. Stay on target, Cody. Stay on target.

Puig keeps getting ahead of himself, following his fifth-inning RBI single by getting picked off at second, when I've gotta think he didn't have a "go" sign. That said, Maeda was at the plate anyway, but once again he has to keep his ego in check despite his prodigious talents (3-for-4 with 2 RBI). Let's hope Roberts can keep guiding Puig to be a team player.

In Doc We Trust, AC said. In Doc We Trust.


So this sets us up for a third game in AZ with the Dodgers starting Yu Darvish.

The Diamondbacks have trust in Zack Greinke, he of the tiny head, which I suppose is exactly what you'd want your skipper to say even after lasting only 3.2 IP with 4 ER in the pivotal Wild Card play-in game. This is why we got Darvish in the first place, though, and this is Yu's chance to step up on the big stage. Let's hope all the talk of his simplified delivery yields benefits.

And, just like the start of NLDS Game 2, I'm nervous again.


Orel said...

Great stuff, Sax! There's 29 years of nervousness in the Dodgers fan base right now. Also are you thinking of Rubby De La Rosa?

Steve Sax said...


No i wasn’t thinking of Rubster though we talked about him as well. I remember Jorge De La Rosa when he was on the arid and we saw him like every fifth day

QuadSevens said...

Nervous is exactly how I've felt these past two games. At the start of the game, when we trail, or when we call to the bullpen, I'm nervous. Just writing this comment has me feeling nervous again.