For so much of the season, this writer has been complaining that the 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers don’t seem to have that spark, that come from behind mentality.
Wednesday night, those same Dodgers might have proved her wrong. And of course, she went to bed and missed it.
But that’s ok! The end result is all that really matters and man, what a result. The Dodgers showed a lot of fight and maybe, just maybe building some momentum to carry them through the playoffs.
As we’ve stated many times, the Dodgers need to win out the rest of season to have a chance at winning the division. As Brusdar Graterol was giving up the lead in that game, the Giants scored the lone run in their game. The difference in the division remains at two games.
In as much, the Dodgers knew that the Giants were going to win, and that they had to win their game to still have a chance to win the division. In a reverse of the 4+1 games against those same Padres in 2006, the Dodgers hit one homer in the seventh inning and then hit four homers in the eighth to get the win. Ironically, Nomar Garciaparra, who hit the game winner in 2006, was on the call for the game Wednesday night.
In another reverse aspect, it was the offense that picked up the starting pitching. Max Scherzer had his worst outing as a Dodger, allowing five earned runs. As mentioned, Graterol was not sharp, allowing three earned runs. The team looked like it had scored all it runs early and stopped again. Until.
The win was a total team effort. Besides Betts, Max Muncy, AJ Pollock, Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager all homered in that eighth inning. While I am not naive enough to think that that homer fixed Belli’s swing, it could go a long way in giving the beleaguered player some much needed confidence.
In his weekly podcast with his wife Kourtney Turner, Justin Turner this week reflected on what it’s like to win the division, and win it early. He commented that when they won the division in 2017, they went through that huge losing streak in September because they were far and ahead the best team in the division, kind of lost that, and there were some tough days. Then again in 2019, when they won the division three weeks before the season was over, they ended up sleepwalking into the playoffs, and got rolled out by the Washington Nationals.
JT said that the Nationals had been fighting and clawing their way to the playoffs all season, and they had that fight in them, and he felt like the 2019 team did not. He feels like that mindset and the fact the Dodgers are going to have to give it everything they have here at the end of the season and the Wild Card game, should they not be in the division, might be better for them.
One could also see that while last season was an anomaly, the team knows what it takes to win the World Series now, and could take that with them through the playoffs.
This will be the first year that this Dodgers team tries to win the world championship from the number one position in the National League. Who’s to say that won’t motivate them?
While the Dodgers can only control how they play as far as the division goes, they would be good to adopt the “we’re going to win this game” mentality for the rest of their games this season. They are the most talented team in baseball and all they have to do is play like it.