2014 NLDS (Seventh Inning from Hell, part deux)
The Los Angeles Dodgers again found themselves at the brink in the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. In game four the Dodgers once again had the lead going into the seventh inning.
In fact, in games one, two and three, the Dodgers either lead or were tied going into seventh and in every game the Dodgers gave relievers gave up a home run wiping out the Dodgers lead.
Now with the season on the line and his ace on the mound, Don Mattingly was going to ride with Clayton Kershaw win or lose. Up to the seventh inning, Kershaw was one hitting the Cardinals with nine strike outs.
Kershaw was doing this all on three days rest the second year in the row he was trying to win game four of the NLDS on short rest. Dodger fans know the story by heart, two men got on base and then Kershaw proceeded to give up a three run home run. Game over, season over, Kershaw gets a choker reputation.
What was most galling of the sequence for Kershaw were how the Cardinals got men on base. The first batter Matt Holliday hit a ball just out of the reach for second basemen Dee Gordon for an infield hit. The next batter was the killer.
Jhonny Peralata on 1-1 pitch hit a soft line drive towards shortstop Hanley Ramirez, he leapt up to catch it and it went off the tip of his glove into centerfield for another single.
When Matt Adams the next batter took an 0-2 hanging curve into the seats Kershaw’s game was over and so was the Dodgers season.
A centimeter down and at worst Kershaw is giving up a two run home run to tie the game or perhaps he goes with a different approach with a runner on first and one out and he gets out of the inning.
Everyone remembers the Matt Adams home run but it’s the barely single by Jhonny Peralta that makes it a so devastating.