2014 NLDS (Seventh Inning from Hell)
The Los Angeles Dodgers had the best pitcher on the planet on the mound with a 6-2 lead in the seventh inning. The Los Angeles Dodgers were 16-0 that year when scoring 3 runs or more with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.
Up to that point, Kershaw had eight strikeouts and only two hits given up on a scorching October day in game one against the St. Louis Cardinals. Of course, those two hits were uncharacteristic home runs and they foretold of worst things to come.
Personally being in the stands along with 56,000 other Dodgers fans we all witnessed the biggest meltdown in Kershaw’s career. Kershaw proceeded to give up four straight singles get two more strikeouts before a bases clearing double by Matt Carpenter turned a 6-2 deficit into a 7-6 Cardinals lead.
With Kershaw out, manager Don Mattingly needed someone to stop the bleeding and give the Dodgers a chance to win the game. With a unreliable bullpen, Mattingly chose to go with his youngest arm, Pedro Baez.
Baez had come along late in the season but parlayed his 26 appearances and 2.63 ERA into a spot on the playoff roster. Over his last nine appearances, Baez had struck out nine while walking none.
So with Carpenter at second and the Dodgers desperately needing an out, what does Baez do in his first postseason batter? Baez walked him and then proceeded to give up a three-run home run to the Cardinals Matt Holliday.
Eight runs came across for the Cardinals that inning and now with a 10-6 lead, the game was completely over. This being the Los Angeles Dodgers though, they proceeded to torture their fans by rallying for three more runs to lose the game 10-9 with the winning run at the plate. If Baez had staved off the Cardinals it is likely the Dodgers would have won the game.
I wish I could tell you the Dodgers brushed this game off and proceeded to win the next three games, but there was more torture to come.