“Yesterday the odds were stacked
In favor of my expectations
Flyin’ above the rest
Never fallin’ from the nest
Tuesday came and went and now
I’m in a little situation”
Ah, the playoffs. The most wonderful time of the year. The nail biting, the nausea-inducing plays, and the pit in your stomach that you’ve seen this before.
So many things in this series have mirrored the regular season. Pitchers not being able to go deep in games. The bullpen, thankfully, is stellar. The offense goes cold altogether, except for little spurts here and there. The inability to hit left-handed pitching. And it has all added up so far to the Dodgers being down 2-1 to the Nationals.
I think the most frustrating thing to me personally is that the Dodgers are better than the Nationals. When they are clicking. But therein lies the rub, aye? I suppose it’s that way with any team. But the bats of the Dodgers are better than those of the Nationals, as a whole. The bullpen is better. The starting pitchers are better. The bench is better.
What makes a team go cold all together? Where is the spark? Justin Turner wrote a great little piece for the Players Tribune about how this team has it this year. They’re going to win it all, and make Vin Scully the Grand Marshall of the World Series parade. Clayton Kershaw said he sees the difference in this year’s team from the last few playoff teams. They have grit. Orel Hershiser drew parallels between this team and the ’88 team.
And then they go out and do this. No starting pitcher makes it past the fifth inning, and Kershaw has to labor to get that far. Kenley Jansen gives up three runs in the top of ninth in a one-run game. Adrian Gonzalez‘s bat goes completely quiet. They leave the bases loaded three times in game two. They gave all the momentum to Washington, and the Nationals capitalized.
Manager Dave Roberts, who has steered the ship through the rough waters of the season, made some questionable switches at defense and pinch hitting. Maybe Yasiel Puig catches the ball that Reddick didn’t. Maybe Andrew Toles is able to hit with the bases loaded instead of Kendrick. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
Maybe it’s true that this team does have the grit and tenacity to climb back. They were down eight games to the Giants, and won the division. Maybe the Nationals go into a sudden slump like San Francisco did. Maybe they rely on the rookies like Julio Urias, and Corey Seager, and Toles to get them a win tomorrow, and a win Thursday. Maybe as this series has mirrored the season they make the unbelievable comeback. Maybe they don’t, and we Dodgers fan are yet again left wondering what it’s going to take to advance deep into the postseason. Maybe this is the wake-up call they need. These are the playoffs, where anything can happen, and if the Dodgers step it up, they can win two in advance. Maybe it would be bad for my nerves, but I can’t wait to see it happen.