Entering game 162 in a dead heat tie with Colorado, the Dodgers decided to pull Walker Buehler from starting the series finale, to hold him back for a potential one-game playoff or possible wild card game start. Rich Hill would start, and I would buy a ticket to the last game.
|Chris Taylor is congratulated after scoring the first run in the Dodgers' 15-0 win on Sunday. (USA Today photo)|
What a performance it was. With their backs against the wall, the Dodgers destroyed San Francisco 15-0 in an epic and memorable season finish. Hill was stellar and the offense completely superb. The Rockies were up to the task on Sunday as well, demolishing the Nationals in their home finale 12-0 to set up today's game # 163 at Dodger Stadium.
Winning as they have all year, with the home run, the Dodgers took game # 163 with a 5-2 victory, backed by an ace-like pitching performance by Walker Buehler and a pair of two-run homers, one each by Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy. Buehler took a one-hitter into the 7th before being lifted with a five-run lead.
Today's win was huge for a number of reasons.
1) A loss meant a wild-card play-in game as a visitor in Chicago. Facing Jon Lester on the road would have been a very tough chore.
2) The ball club gets two days off to set the pitching order in place and rest up after a rigorous stretch run.
3) They clinched a home field advantage in the first series, and against all teams except Milwaukee.
4) They remain at home through Friday night while others are all traveling, a huge advantage.
5) Their first opponent, Atlanta, is a young and inexperienced team, completely beatable. Facing Milwaukee initially would be facing a team even hotter that the Dodgers.
So October baseball has begun. Eleven wins will be required. Last year's team went 10-4 in post season play, one game short of the brass ring. The Dodgers know that there is one thing on their minds and that is winning the whole thing.
On San Francisco radio this morning, former Giant pitcher and current broadcaster Mike Krukow, one who is usually reluctant to spread praise on the Dodgers, did just that.
"They're the best team in the National league. Their offense is hitting it's stride. We just finished a series against probably the best team in baseball. 15-0 tells you that."