We’re getting into crunch time for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the 2021 regular season. And if Thursday’s NL West games were indicative of the next nine games, a certain writer may not make it to the postseason.
The Dodgers have looked lackluster for a team that is fighting to win the division. But on Thursday, they finally showed a bit of the spark they have been missing.
Down to last strike in the top of the ninth inning, down by one, Trea Turner singled in tying run. Max Muncy, hitless in the game up until that point, hit what turned out to be the game winning homer in extras.
“That was a big one. We always say in baseball every game is big, but looking at where we are with nine games left, that was a big win!” Manager Dave Roberts said after the game. “That ninth inning was next level.”
Both Kenley Jansen and Blake Treinen made things interesting on the pitching end. Jansen allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth and despite not quite hitting his marks, made it out of the inning unscathed.
Treinen gave up a line drive out to center to start the bottom of the 10th, expertly caught by Mookie Betts but moving the runner on second over to third. He then proceeded to not be able to find the strike zone, issuing six straight balls. Blake thought maybe the spot where his foot landed was to blame, and after Corey Seager did some manicuring of the mound, he was able to induce a game ending double play.
Also, moving Betts to center may have been the move that saved the game. Gavin Lux played most of the game there, until the 10th when Roberts moved Betts over and put Luke Raley in right field. Perhaps Lux doesn’t get the right jump or play that game as well as Betts, and the Rockies tie it up or go on to win the game.
At the same time all of the was going on, the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres were exchanging leads in their game. The Padres went up 3-0 in the first inning but at the time the Dodgers game ended, the game was tied 6-6. It took extra innings for that game too, with the Padres walking it off in the 10th inning, enabling the Dodgers to remain one game out of first.
Neither Max Scherzer nor Walker Buehler pitched anywhere near what they had been pitching like previously in the year. While Buehler has been not great as of late, he has been mostly stellar. In his start Tuesday, he could not make it out of the fourth inning, and the Dodgers lost his start.
Scherzer, who has been phenomenal since joining the Dodgers, had his worst outing in Dodger blue. He allowed five earned runs on 102 pitches over five innings of work. Max commented after the game that he just wasn’t able to get a good grip on the ball. Regardless, the Dodgers were able to go 10-0 in games that he has started.
Offense still remains an issue. The team only hit two homers at Coors Field. It took until the last game in Cincinnati for the Dodgers to hit any homers.
But, maybe, that’s ok. They are not reliant on the home runs to win games. Still, the offense is sporadic. Only certain parts of the offense seem to be hitting while other parts go cold. Still, they’ve scored four or more runs in 10 of their last 11 games and with their pitching staff, that is enough to win most games.
Everyone is going to play the Dodgers hard and not roll over and let the Dodgers win. They now head into Arizona, where they are 13-2 against the Diamondbacks. The Giants will also head into Coors, where the Rockies are sure to also play them hard, and where we know crazy things can happen. Dodgers fans hope that this is the point where things finally swing the team back into first place.