Dodgers Flex Muscles in NLDS Game 2 Victory Over Diamondbacks

Austin-Barnes-Kenley-Jansen
(Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)

The postseason is officially upon us, which means that every theory, every prediction, is about to be either dismissed or fulfilled. October has a way of writing things in stone. If something great happens in October, it’s going to be remembered, no questions asked. Whether it’s a Justin Turner three-run homer in the first, or that one game where the Dodgers scored five runs in the 5th inning. October remembers everything, and so do those who shape it.

In Game 2 of the NLDS against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday evening, the Dodgers faced, possibly, the one pitcher that provided the biggest challenge in the regular season. In 2017, Robbie Ray helped lead the D-Backs with a 15-5 record and a 2.89 ERA. The Dodgers faced Ray multiple times over the regular season, and he remained nearly untouchable the entire year, but tonight was a different story. In just four innings, the Dodgers scored twice off Ray, which was not out of the ordinary. What was out of the ordinary were the four walks issued by Ray, along with three wild pitches.

In the fifth inning, D-Backs Manager Torey Lovullo called on his bullpen, specifically rookie reliever Jimmie Sherfy, to toss the final two outs of the inning, trying to strand the two runners already on base. Pinch-hitting for Kike Hernandez, Curtis Granderson doubled to right, sending Cody Bellinger to third. Logan Forsythe followed with a single in the gap, scoring Cody Bellinger. Austin Barnes followed that with a 2-RBI double, further proving that he’s possibly the most clutch hitter the Dodgers have. Following his double, Barnes scored on a single from Yasiel Puig, capping off an inning that brought Dodger fans, and Dodger players, nothing but joy.

A well-earned five-run lead diminished in the seventh when D-Backs pinch hitter Brandon Drury hit a three-run homer off of Brandon Morrow, but this is the postseason, a time in which the volume never softens, and faith rarely waivers.  In the bottom of the inning, Forsythe scored from third on an error by shortstop Ketel Marte, giving the Dodgers some insurance runs, the type of runs that have a whole new meaning in October.

Josh Fields was called upon to pitch the eigth for the Dodgers, in which he recorded one out and gave up a double to second baseman Daniel Descalso. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, skipper Dave Roberts walked out to the mound and motioned in the direction of the bullpen. Dodger fans knew what that meant, and once again, joy took over at the Ravine. Kenley Jansen, the best closer in baseball, was coming on hoping to secure a five-out save.

And that’s exactly what he got.

David Peralta hit a ground ball to Turner, who threw him out at first base for the final out of the game, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the series. The Dodgers have put themselves in the best possible position with the series heading to Arizona.

Friday night’s game was, in my opinion, a must-win for the Dodgers. Setting the tone is a common theme in baseball, and that’s exactly what the Dodgers did, but it means even more if you can follow it up the next night. With Saturday’s 8-5 win over Arizona, the Dodgers have set the tone, and it’s a loud one.

Game 3 of the series, a possible elimination game, will be played Monday in Arizona, with Yu Darvish taking the mound for the Boys in Blue against former Dodger Zack Greinke at 7:08 Pacific Time.

In the first two games of the series, the Dodgers proved that not only have they moved past their mid-September slump, they’ve become the team we all know they truly are. This is what July looked like, but I think it might be time we abandon July and realize that this just might be who the Dodgers are, no matter what the temperature outside may be.

(FOLLOW SARAH ON TWITTER: @SARAHMANINGER)

 

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