Now how the hell did we get here? A few days ago, your Dodgers were coming off back-to-back shutouts, had a commanding 2 games to 1 lead, with games 4 and 5 at home and a chance to close the Cubs out. Cubs’ nation was gripping. Hard. The best team in baseball, the best team the Cubs have ever had, were on the verge getting knocked the hell out, and the Dodgers looked like they were headed to the World Series for the first time since 1988. It was setting up perfectly. It all looked so good.
Only question left was, who, not named Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Kenley Jansen was going to be the one to step up and do something.
Kershaw can’t pitch every single day. You can’t win a world championship with one great starter, one good one and one dominant reliever. So who was going to be the hero? Who was the guy who was going to demand the ball and choke the Cubs out? And the answer is, no one.
None of their arms, outside of those three have done anything to help them this week. Especially those arsonists in the bullpen.
Julio Urias couldn’t get it done in Game 4 and while Kenta Maeda looked like he wouldn’t make it out of the first inning and was able to grind out a few tough innings last night, he still forced Dave Roberts to go to his band of gascans earlier than he wanted to.
As much as Roberts wants to go with Jansen, he can’t ask him to get 18 outs. So someone else had to pick them up. And that guy was Joe Blanton.
To be fair, they wouldn’t be where they are without Joe Blanton, a converted reliever. He was nails during the regular season and lights out in the Divisional Series where he made four appearances. They’re not in the NLCS without this guy. But… if we’re being fair, he’s gone straight goat in the LCS. And I don’t meat GOAT like greatest of all time. I mean goat, like a goat. Not one of the best, but one of the worst.
Bad enough that he gave up a grand slam to Miguel Montero to cost them game one. That’ll happen. I guess. I just didn’t expect it to happen again, 4 games later when Addison Russell stepped to the plate:
Then they needed someone to stop the bleeding. Fast. And keep them in it and give their bats a chance. Of course, the exact opposite happens. The bullpen implodes, they choke behind it defensively, the Cubs go on to score 5 in the 8th in what had to be the longest, most tortuous inning in Dodger history. And suddenly, they’re playing their worst baseball of the season when it matters most.
Look, it’s not over. L.A. is still in this. It’s not the first to 3 it’s the first one to 4. The Dodgers still have their ace going in Game 6, with a chance to get it to Game 7 where anything can happen. They’re not dead. But history says they may as well be: losers of Game 5 when tied after 4 rarely come back.
The Dodgers have shown they have some grit; I just can’t see them have enough to fight their way out of this one.