Here come the questions. Here come the doubts. Here is, improbably, the Dodgers.
There will be Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, and as it happened after the Dodgers’ 11-2 win, there will likely be Game 7. These things seem to be going that way – which know why? – and now that the Dodgers have won seven knockout games in the last two playoffs, it’s fair to wonder if they put these worst case scenarios in place just to be able to pull through.
“I mean, we definitely don’t prefer elimination games,” said outfielder AJ Pollock, who hit two home runs to help prepare at least one more. “We want to eliminate the other teams. “
It all sounds a little silly, frankly, which is one of the thoughts that may have crossed Snitker’s mind as he watched from the canoe a man who had been hitting .111 since August 27th hitting his third home run of the match. It’s stupid that this series returns to Atlanta after the Dodgers spent most of the four games playing as amateurs, stupid that the Braves couldn’t even get to fight in Game 5 with the Dodgers staff in fighting with beaks and claws and ace completely rested Max Fried pitcher for Atlanta, and especially stupid that the Dodgers hitters – terrible every series – lost Justin Turner to injury in Game 4 , then got out of their shoes the next night to get 17 hits, including five homers.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I’m glad it happened tonight. … I mean, it’s… it’s baseball. Honestly, I’m happy to just give you a series. I expected our guys to fight and scratch and claw, and I thought we did. “
The Braves were here last year, up three games to one in the NLCS before losing three straight to end their season. The big failure is so ingrained in the double helix of Atlanta sports history that a reporter from Atlanta even inserted a “28-3” reference in a post-game question to Freddie Freeman.
“This will be the narrative,” Freeman said with an air of resignation but not defeat. “It’s been brought up in the last few days, so I don’t think we have a choice until we kill this narrative. We are leading 3-2 at home. It’s a great position. I think we are it will be fine. “
After the game, Roberts and a parade of Dodgers players took turns auditioning descriptions of Taylor’s unique and quirky personality. They all praised his ability to play baseball simultaneously and put his brain to neutral – “He’s right in the moment,” as Roberts put it – and Pollock broke the news that Taylor is only passionate about two. things: beer and surfing videos.
“He’s not a big guy for drama,” Pollock said.
He took an encore after his third home run, however, after his teammates gave him all the applause and the “CT3” chant -ankly, it doesn’t really come out of the tongue – was meant to get him to do just that. After the match, he went through all the post-match TV and radio interviews on the pitch relying on smiles and shrugs, and by the time he reached the interview room, the the emotion and the jubilation that had accumulated in him had clearly dissipated. Asked what he was thinking as he made his way to the plate in the eighth with a chance to hit his fourth home run, Taylor said, “I was trying not to think about it. “
Immediately after Kenley Jansen recorded the final, Taylor ran across the infield to hug Albert Pujols for at least the fourth time on the night. The Braves headed to their clubhouse with the intention of convincing themselves that winning one of the next two remains the preferable position.
But over the previous nine rounds, the whole complexion of the series has changed, and in mysterious ways. The Dodgers keep losing players like it’s some kind of macabre arcade game. It was Turner in Game 4 and pitcher Joe Kelly in Game 5. Kelly served as the opener for the Dodgers, and he threw 28 shots – of which Freeman hit the wall at center field to give the Braves a lead of 2-0 after three batters – with a level of deliberation bordering on stubbornness. With two strikeouts and a 2-2 count against Adam Duvall, Kelly walked away with a bicep injury that Roberts says will end his season.
“Same with Justin, same with Max [Muncy], we’re just going to have to figure it out, ”said Robert. “It’s not to be dismissive, but that’s where we’re at. “
But Kelly came out and Evan Phillips came in, the first in a six-pitch Dodgers line who pitched two innings or less but never had more than one hit. For the first time in more than two weeks, Pujols played first, effectively replacing Turner, and he had two hits, one walk and scored twice on Taylor’s homers.
Pujols took each 90 foot increment like he was barefoot and the base trails were littered with tiny, sharp boulders. It is clear that man will still be able to strike when he is 70 years old; at this point all about his swing is above the waist, but his hands are still quick and the adult man’s strength remains. And in another positive development for Pujols, he believes he still runs like the 41-year-old he is at 70.
After the game, the Dodgers ran off the field and bounced off the steps of the dugout as the Mariachi group continued to kill him from their post in the center-right stands and a good percentage of fans remained stuck. The Dodgers did not greet them, however, or make any big gestures after their last NLCS home game. They have two Atlanta playoff games ahead of them, which could mean they have the Braves where they want them. They didn’t need to say goodbye to Los Angeles – apparently they plan to return.