As 2017 draws to a close, we here at Think Blue Planning Committee thought that we would take a look back at the season that was, and highlight 17 of our favorite moments, plays and happenings of the Dodgers‘ 2017 season. These are in no particular order, just what stood out to us and to you as the best parts of the season.
1. Vin Scully Being Inducted into the Dodgers Ring of Honor – 2016 saw the end of the long and storied career of the great Vin Scully, and in May of 2017 his name was rightly added to the Dodgers Ring Of Honor.
2. The New Broadcasting Era with Joe Davis – How lucky are we as Dodger fans that we lost a great broadcaster to retirement, but were blessed with a replacement who could have his own long and storied career. He gave us the soundtrack to a crazy year, with quips such as “moment after moment, memory after memory!” Joe and sidekick Orel Hershiser are endearing themselves to fans with their hijinx on and off the field such as their carpool karaoke.
3. The “Memory After Memory” Game – On July 6th, the Dodgers were playing the Diamondbacks, and were losing by four runs going into the bottom of the ninth. They were facing Fernando Rodney, and he imploded. The Dodgers were patient at the plate and aggressive on the bases, getting four walks and two singles to tie the game, and then a walk-off single from Chris Taylor sent the go-ahead run home, prompting Joe Davis to make that famous-to-Dodger-fans call. They did all of this with no outs in the inning, too.
4. The “Absolute Madness” Game – The April 29th game against the Philadelphia Phillies saw a pretty insane comeback, and another epic Joe Davis call. Entering the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers were down 5-2. Yasiel Puig stepped up to bat and sent a ball out to left center for a home run. Then Cody Bellinger came up, and hit his second home run of the night, which was also the second home run of his career. That was promptly followed by a right field blast by Justin Turner to tie the game. “Absolute Madness!” Joe Davis called out, and it was. The Dodgers went on to win when Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground ball that deflected off of Maikel Franco’s glove and scored Austin Barnes from second.
5. Kyle Farmer Walk-Off Game – Catcher Kyle Farmer was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City on July 28th, and his first at bat came two days later in a pinch hit situation, in the bottom of the 11th against the Giants, down 2-1. Farmer hit a one out liner down the right field line for a walk off double. It was the Dodgers 31st come from behind win on the season, and their eighth straight win.
6. Kershaw Reaches 2000 Strikeouts – On June 2, Clayton Kershaw struck out 14 batters, one of whom was the 2,000 of his career. He was the third fastest to ever record that milestone in major league history, in 1837-2/3 innings of work. He is only the ninth to do it before his 30th birthday.
7. Cody Bellinger’s Rookie Season – In most trade rumors over the last few years, Bellinger was always included from the asking teams’ point of view, and the Dodgers always said “No.” This season, we saw why. Cody hit for the cycle, showed incredible athleticism at first base, and hit the Dodgers’ and National League record for most home runs in a season, just to name a few things. No wonder he was named the NL Rookie of the Year.
8. Emergence of Chris Taylor – After outfielder Andrew Toles went down with an ACL injury, the Dodgers were in need of both a leadoff batter and outfielder. Chris Taylor stepped up the plate, literally and figuratively. He took over the leadoff spot, hit .288 on the season, 21 home runs, 34 doubles, 17 stolen bases, played center field pretty well for never having played there before, and all around proved to be a spark plug throughout the season. He also was named Co-MVP of the NLCS along with Justin Turner. Not bad for a guy who most people hadn’t even heard of before the season started.
9. Yasiel Puig Has a Comeback Year – There’s always been many rumors flying around about who does and doesn’t like Yasiel Puig within the clubhouse. This year, it was mainly quiet. But Puig’s play was not. Yasiel seemed the most comfortable on the team so far in his career this year, and it showed on and off the field. His arm is still a canon, making base runners think twice on advancing when the ball is hit in his direction. But his patience at the plate is what was most noticeable. He had a career high 64 walks, with 28 homers and 26 extra bass hits. He gave all the credit to hitting coach Turner Ward, and their bromance was one of the most fun things to watch throughout the season. As my friend Jody says, letting Puig be Puig is paying off.
10. Justin Turner’s All-Star Season and #VoteJT – Justin Turner started 2017 off with a bang and never really slowed down. He was the leader in batting average for the National League for almost all of the first half of the season, and would have had the lead going into the All-Star break had he not missed some time due to injury. He did not make the All-Star team in the first round of voting, and was relegated to the final five. Dodger nation did everything they could to get him to the All-Star game, recording the most amount of votes for anyone in the final five ever. He was rewarded with a trip to Miami for the All-Star game, joining five of his Dodgers teammates there.
11. Walker Buehler’s MLB Debut – Another coveted prospect of the Dodgers is pitcher Walker Buehler. He made his debut for the Dodgers on September 7th, in relief in a blowout game where the Dodgers were losing to the Rockies. He tossed two scoreless innings on 26 pitches with two strikeouts. The hard throwing righty had some struggles in some future outings, but we all look forward to watching him pitch for years to come.
12. Justin Turner’s NLCS Walkoff Homer – Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs was a tight affair, tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the ninth. Taylor had reached on a walk, and Turner drove a 1-0 fastball out to center field to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the series. It just happened to also be the 29th anniversary of Kirk Gibson’s famous World Series walkoff homer.
13. Kiké Hernandez Hitting Three Home Runs in NLCS Game 5 – Hurricane Maria had recently hit Kiké’s home island of Puerto Rico. He talked to his mom before the game to make sure she had a tv with a generator so she could watch the game, because he told her he was going to hit a home run. Well, he did a little better than that – he hit three of them, including a grand slam, to resoundingly send the Dodgers into the World Series, defeating the Cubs four games to one.
14. Clayton Kershaw’s WS Game 1 Performance – So much was always made of Kershaw’s playoff performances, that he can’t live up to the hype. That was definitely not true in Game 1 Of the World Series, where he out-dueled Dallas Keuchel of the Astros. He allowed one run, on three hits, recorded 11 strikeouts and issued no walks in 103° heat.
15. Chris Taylor Takes First Pitch of World Series Yard – It was so fitting that Taylor sent Keuchel’s first pitch of the World Series into the seats. It was the culmination of his fabulous season, and was just pure euphoria for all Dodger fans.
16. Charlie Culberson’s World Series Home Run – This one is a personal favorite of mine. A player who had spent most of his season in Triple-A hits a home run on the biggest stage. It didn’t matter that it didn’t tie or win the game. In the pure love of baseball, it doesn’t get much bigger than that.
17. The Simple Fact the Dodgers Played in the World Series – The season didn’t end quite the way we all wanted it to, but that doesn’t negate our guys making it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
A memorable season in so many ways, and it was hard to choose just 17 players/games/moments to highlight. Which one was your favorite?
(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)