Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Monday, October 7, 2013

Complete Agony Followed by Unrelenting Joy

The celebration is on after Juan Uribe homered in the bottom of the 8th inning to put the Dodgers ahead for good, 4-3. (photo by USA Today)

It lasted 3 hours and 19 minutes, and about 3 hours and 15 minutes of it was pure agony.  In fact, I’ll add that the last four minutes to it too because it wasn’t until that final swing and foul tip into Ellis' glove by Justin Upton that I could take a breath.

The Kershaw experiment, (a start on three days rest), would have worked just fine had Adrian Gonzalez’s normal defensive prowess showed up.  Instead a 2-0 Dodger lead became a 2-2 tie in the 4th inning as AGon and the usually reliable Mark Ellis failed to execute defensively.  Give a team like the Atlanta Braves 6 outs in an innings and things aren’t going to be pretty.

So as Atlanta’s geriatric starting pitcher Freddy Garcia racked up out after out and the visiting squad’s confidence rose, the inevitable happened and the Braves scored as soon as Kershaw was removed from the game after 91 pitches in the 7th inning.  Ronald Belisario didn't have it, and ten pitches into his outing, the Braves took a 3-2 lead.

Then the energy was sapped out of the 54,438 strong when two rallies in consecutive innings fell short.  A perusal of the Dodger dugout showed that the normal exuberance found there was absent.  It was as if a realization was setting in that the ball club might be heading back to Atlanta for game five.  But then Puig happened.

Carl Crawford hits his second homer on the night, to put the Dodgers ahead 2-0. (Photo by Jae C. Hong/AP)

In the bottom of the 8th, facing Braves reliever David Carpenter with his 1.52 ERA, Puig shot a double down the right field line and arrived at second base in a fired up celebration, egging his teammates on.  The stadium was electric again.  What followed was Juan Uribe and the dreaded managerial call for him to lay down a sacrifice bunt.  Two pitches later and Uribe had thankfully failed to execute.  In a 0-2 whole, the bunt was called off and three pitches later Uribe got to do what he does best...swing away.

The Dodger third baseman blasted a Carpenter slider into the Dodger bullpen.  It was a two run shot that was a no doubter off the crack of the bat.  What followed was a delirious Chavez Ravine celebration for the ages.  One of those moments that will rate up there with the '82 RJ Reynolds squeeze, the Finley shot in '04 or the the Bill Russell single in '78.  It was a historical Dodger moment to cherish.

Kenley Jansen assured us all that it would be remembered by striking out the side in the top of the 9th and the celebration was on.

I must say, that as I age and realize that I just might not be around for too many more of these celebrations, post-season baseball is becoming torturous and not anything that I'm enjoying at all, unless there's a blowout similar to game three's 13-6 win.  I guess I'm becoming a Jerry West or Billy Beane type.  I simply can't watch these games that are for all the marbles in peace.

I sat and watched every pitch, but to say I enjoyed this thing at all would be a complete lie.  That game was an exercise in experiencing frustration to the nth degree.  Thank goodness there will be four days to recover before the NLCS begins.

Now here's hoping that the Cardinals and Pirates play a 27 inning marathon and they use up their entire pitching staffs before the next series starts.  Oh, and it would be nice to see the Pirates win too, which would allow the Dodgers to remain at home until Monday of next week.

One last thing...a message to Don Mattingly.  I hope that Uribe's failure to execute your call to bunt has taught you a valuable lesson.  Giving up outs is stupid and especially when a guy like Uribe is at the plate with a runner in scoring position.  First, because Uribe can't bunt.  Second, because his failure to bunt puts him in a terrible hitting count.  Third, because there wasn't a chance he could ground into a double play.   Fourth, because a single would tie the game with a base runner like Puig out there. Fifth, because Uribe is very capable of hitting the ball out of the park.  Please Don, stop the bunting.  For the love of God, please stop the bunting.

1 comment:

  1. I was at the game and had the exact EXACT same feelings. I do feel the pain with every error and bunt attempt BUT THIS TIME it was EXTRAORDINARY and the relief was joyous and the celebration WONDERFUL. Yes, I wish we could just power through and WIN or be ahead all NINE innings but this season has confirmed- it ain't gunna happen all the time. GO DODGERS!