GOAT Gets Monkey Off Back – Kershaw and Dodgers Make It To Next Level

Clayton Kershaw had a lot of issues during his last few playoff appearances. But as Jay-Z would say, he can get that dirt off his shoulder, because Kersh and his Dodgers found a way to knock off the Washington Nationals last night to get the honor of meeting the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.

Let’s see how they got there.

Dodgers 4, Nationals 3

Washington drew first blood, with a single run in the second inning. The Dodgers lay dormant because Max Scherzer was his usual very excellent self for six innings, while Dave Roberts decided to do his best Cardinals-era Tony LaRussa impression, bringing out multiple pitchers doing about two and half innings a piece. Until the seventh inning.

The seventh inning is when everything went to hell.

ESPN has a great write up on the seventh. I mean, the Nats had this in hand! But then Max was human and gave up a homer to my small child, Joc Pederson. And send in the clowns.

In an inning that took an hour – an HOUR!?!? – the Nats and Dodgers decided to play a whole game within one inning. In all truth, this single inning decided the entire game. Sure, the Nats came back in later innings to get close enough to scare LA, but don’t be fooled. This game was won, and lost, in the seventh.

But what of the Ace of Aces? What about Clayton Kershaw?!?!? Well, hold on, I’m getting there.

Dave Roberts went rogue, y’all. In a world where Craig Kimbrels and Zach Brittons don’t see the light of day, Roberts threw the book out of the window and brought out a starter to save the game. And not just any starter. Possibly the best starting pitcher of my generation? Yes. Dave Roberts had Clayton Kershaw close the game. And Kersh delivered. And got the save.

What a world we live in.

Congrats to the Dodgers, who will be quickly demolished by the Chicago Cubs. Er….

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7 thoughts on “GOAT Gets Monkey Off Back – Kershaw and Dodgers Make It To Next Level

  1. I’d quibble with your characterization of the Nats having the game in hand headed to the 7th; being up 1-0 after six only guarantees a win in Little League, where they only play 6. Lots can happen in innings 7, 8, and 9, and boy did it ever last night.

    I’d like to find fault with Dusty for pulling Scherzer after the home run, but the Nats had three lefties in the pen specifically for the Dodgers and their weaknesses against such pitching, so I can’t argue too hard with the choice.

    I will point a finger at Bob Henley for the terrible decision to send Jayson Werth home on Zimmerman’s double in the 6th. Henley’s got a reputation for being liberal in his decision-making, but that one was beyond the pale.

    I’m pleased that the Nats didn’t roll over and die after the top of the 7th; three batters in to the bottom of the 7th they were already back to being down just one with the tying run on base, and they had their chances in the 7th and the 9th, but just didn’t convert.

    I’ll give a shout out too to the fans who went to the game and stayed till the end, transportation be damned. Some of them may still be waiting on an Uber pick up as we approach noon on the east coast, but they were there till the end.

    At the end of the day, I guess my feelings on everything could be summed up in this tweet that I saw:

    And with that, I turn the bulk of my attention to the Capitals, whom I sure will disappoint me at roughly the time next year when the Nats start playing meaningful games again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 41/2 hours for a 9 inning game that didn’t have any life-threatening injuries, or earthquakes, or tsunamis? No friggin wonder I went to bed when it was still 1-all.
      But, congrats to the Trolleydodgers. I guess.

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  2. First of all, why is it that Urias was out there balking like Pettite and the ump never called it? Are they too busy worrying about some NL stratergery business or something?

    Secondly, all respect to someguy, but it was definitely stupid to pull Max after 1 run in a do-or-die game. A good hitter goes long and your response is to give the ball to Scrabble???? Dusty lost that game. Also, #^:>(<$_@!!! with that going home bullshit! Good Lord that was painful.

    Thirdly, mind your affairs Christians and prepare for the Trump presidency because my mother is rooting for the Cubs. End times, y’all.

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    • Counterpoint on blaming Dusty – http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/dont-blame-this-on-dusty-baker/

      The Urias pickoff got my attention, and it looked like a balk to me, but no one on the Nats’ side argued, so I don’t know. Some yutz on Deadspin’s Facebook page last night kept babbling “3/4 rule – wasn’t a balk” and I have yet to figure out what in tarnation he was talking about. I’ve never heard of the “3/4 rule”, my Google-fu turned up nothing, but I was apparently arguing with a semi-sentient algorithm, because he refused to elucidate on the topic beyond “3/4 rule” and “Google it”. Anyone?

      Henley sending Werth was bad, but not out of character for the man they call Sendley:

      Did any of this cost the Nats the series? Meh. Unlike the choke in 2012, or the Big Marine’s incompetence in 2014, this just feels like the team that played (slightly) better ultimately won.

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      • First of all, you’d be hard pressed to find any Tigers fan who would pull His Heterochromianess for the BP.

        Secondly, there is no way in h e double hockey sticks that Dusty made that call based on any statistical analysis like that. And, just because the stats suggest Max might be vulnerable doesn’t mean going with the BP is the answer. They only did half of the analysis. Where’s the part that says Scrabble is better? No way would I have gone with him. In a tough situation, I’d pick Max most of the time. I’ve never seen anyone with the same level of mental toughness and that does count for a lot in high pressure situations. I think the proof of the choice is in the pudding, so…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, of course the fact that the moves didn’t work argue for the conclusion that they were wrong, but that doesn’t mean that leaving Scherzer in the game would’ve been right; it only means that it couldn’t have been worse.

          Despite what the stats say, Scherzer wasn’t exactly on cruise control before the home run. Yeah, he only gave up five hits, but all of them had come in the 5th inning or later, and the 4th and 5th were both high-stress innings for him, what with Turner’s eleventy billion pitch walk in the fourth and the bases loaded jam in the fifth. The 7th was going to be his last inning, I’m sure, even if he’d come through it unscathed, so the bullpen was going to have to get at least six outs in that game.

          The Nats had three left-handers in their pen for a reason, and the Nats’ bullpen in general had been quite good throughout the season and during the series. The fact that the bullpen didn’t get it done Thursday feels (to me) more like just unforeseen failed execution on their part. Contrast that to the decision Williams made to replace Zimmermann with Storen in game 2 in 2014, which, in hindsight, looks like one that was obviously wrong from the get-go, and maybe you can understand my reluctance to blame Dusty here.

          If not, well that’s cool, and we’ll just agree to disagree.

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