The Los Angeles Dodgers tied the NLCS at two games with a 13th inning walk-off single from Cody Bellinger in what was one of the most agonizing games to watch.
A win is a win. It does not matter how a team does it, when a team does it or what team does it, a win is a win. That team was the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. And the win was not necessarily pretty.
The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers at home in Game 4 of the NLCS to tie the series at four games apiece. This game was one of the longest in postseason history, going 13 innings with a combined three runs scored.
As a diehard Dodger fan, this game was brutal to watch. I did not catch the first eight innings. I was working my second job, listening to the game on the radio as I helped customers at FANZZ prepare for Game 5 of the series.
Brian Dozier, first inning, RBI single.
“We got this! We will win tonight and tomorrow and all we need to do is win one game on the road,” an eccentric customer reminded me as we high-fived after hearing Dozier’s RBI single.
Little did I know that six hours later I would be writing a column about one of the best, and most frustrating, wins I have experienced as a Dodger fan.
I got home right in time to see Kenley Jansen get out of the ninth inning. That is when I was introduced to the chaos that was the Dodgers’ offense.
Groundout. Strikeout. Walk. Lineout. Strikeout. Groundout. Strikeout. Strikeout. Strikeout. Popout. Groundout. Popout. Groundout. Lineout.
I watched my favorite team struggle through four and one-third innings without anything to show for it. While the Brewers could not capitalize, they were at least grinding out at-bats. The Dodgers, on the other hand, looked uncompetitive and defeated, hoping to finally go home on a solo home run.
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This looked like a team that would score one run in two games at home and fall short of the World Series after falling down three games to one in the series. The bullpen battled and battled and battled. Dave Roberts was running out of pitchers, the Dodgers were running out of time.
In to pitch for the Dodgers in the 13th inning was Julio Urias, a surprise inclusion on the NLCS roster who pitched just four regular-season innings this year. While Urias had extensive work in the minor leagues starting in early August, he did not seem ready for a postseason series.
Game 4 and potentially the Dodgers entire season hung on the balance of a surgically repaired Anterior Capsule in his left shoulder. Urias delivered, freezing two-time all-star Mike Moustakas with a 95 MPH dart at the knees.
That was the 13th. The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t seem to have much of a plan past that. They did not need it.
Manny Machado broke his bat and muscled a line drive into left field for a one-out single. Dozier popped out in foul ground and Cody Bellinger, who has struggled in the postseason, stepped in with the game on the line.
Machado read a ball in the dirt perfectly and narrowly avoided a pickoff attempt moments later. Bellinger battled and battled and battled before sending a 3-2 pitch into right field.
Likely National League MVP Christian Yelich fired a dart home that was not in time. Machado’s hand slipped into home plate. The Dodgers went from on their heels to perhaps in control of this series.
Why did the Brewers pitch to Bellinger? Personally, I would have intentionally walked both Bellinger and Yasmani Grandal to get to Julio Urias with the bases loaded and two out. You do run a risk there, but what damage could Urias really do with the bat in his hand?
Instead, the Brewers pitched to Bellinger and the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year turned this series on its head.
Nearly down to the point of no return, the Los Angeles Dodgers now have a chance to win at home to go back to Milwaukee only needing one win. Buckle up, this is only getting started.