(East Los Angeles, CA) October 18, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: At this level of great competition, it’s only natural that baseball fans all over the world, would want to watch more than just a seven game series. But, that cannot be possible as well all know. So, let’s settle ourselves down into appreciating the MLB talents currently on display in both the American League, (Boston vs. Houston) and the National League (L.A. vs. Atlanta) Championship Series, as we head into Game 3 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium.
(Game 2 Recap): As expected, the Dodgers and Mgr. Dave Roberts, turned confidently to another one of its fabulous pitching Aces, and asked Mad Max Scherzer to pitch their team back into the win column and even the series at (1-1).
The Dodgers didn’t waste any time with their bats. Mookie Betts opened with a clutch “bloop” single to left. Then Corey Seager, on a first-pitch “green light” hitting permit, drove Braves starter, R-H/Ian Anderson’s fastball deep into right center some estimated 425′, giving the Big Blue a quick lead.
Meanwhile, Scherzer was tough as nails as he was dominating Braves hitters with (5) strike-outs in a row through his first four innings. His blend of pitches, coupled with his solid control, kept the hitters off-balance most of their times at-bat. But in the Braves 5th, it all changed when he gave up a walk to Austin Riley and then the explosive thunder came off the bat of Joc Pederson who hit a hanging curve some 450′ into the upper right field stands. Score was then tied at (2-2) with the stroke of his bat. Scherzer then retired the side with no further damage.
In their 5th, the Dodgers then faced L-H/JR Minter on in relief of Anderson. Betts coaxed a quick four pitch walk to start things off. Seager broke his bat with a pop-up to 3B. Trae Turner, struggling with his at-bats in this Series, came up and whiffed. Betts stole second on the play with no attempted throw. Will Smith then came to the plate and was issued an “Intentional” walk. 2 on, with 2 outs. Lux stood in next and flied out routinely to left field ending the frame.
In the bottom of the 5th, Scherzer surrendered a single up the middle to Swanson who led-off. After striking out Arcie, he was then replaced by Roberts in favor of L-H/Alex Vesia. Rosario came up and lined a single to center. This brought up Freeman, who was in a slump and badly looking for a hit of any kind. And fortunately for Dodgers fans, Vesia broke him down for Freeman’s 7th consecutive strike-out making it 2 out. Albies came up with the Braves fans hoping for a hit to bring in the go-ahead run. However, Vesia won the high-stakes pressure match by striking him out to end the inning.
In the Dodgers 6th, new reliever, R-H/Jacob Webb, came in to pitch. After dodging that bullet, they went to work to try and get their Blue Towel rally started. Taylor drew a much-earned walk, Then Bellinger came up and hit a SAC fly to right as Taylor moved to 3rd with only 1 out. AJ Pollock was next up. Webb, then threw (5) change-ups in a row to retire him on a swinging strike-out for the second out. Reliever L-H/Tyler Matzek was next to pitch. PH/Beaty was scheduled to hit, but was then called back in favor of Albert Pujols, who was sent up to try and score Taylor, but his timing was off and he struck out swinging. Inning over.
In their half, the Braves had to face reliever Joe Kelly, who was brought in to keep the door shut and he did. He faced Austin Riley and struck him out looking. Pederson came up and bounced back to Kelly for the easy put-out at 1B. Duvall was up next. Kelly got him on a routine fly-out to left retiring the side.
In the 7th, the Dodgers then rolled their line-up to the top of the order, with Betts, Seager, and Trae Turner set to come up. The timing was now perfect to manufacture a run, and sure enough, Betts got aboard after working Matzek for an outstanding (11) pitch count. Seager swung through a slider and sat down. Going on the pitch, Betts skillfully stole 2B with his patented “head-first” slide, easily beating the throw. 1 out, Betts again in scoring position. T. Turner swung at a very bad ball, a one-hopper to the plate, and struck out. Will Smith was walked intentionally again. 2 on, 2 out. Although Justin Turner did not start due to a neck problem, Roberts still used him as a pinch-hitter and he faced new reliever, R-H/Luke Jackson. Turner took a fastball to his left elbow and that filled the bases for Chris Taylor. Recapturing his timely hitting stroke with runners in scoring position, he drove a sinking liner for a double to center in front of a hard-charging Guillermo Heredia. He somehow misplayed it on the bounce, allowing the ball to get past him. It scored two badly needed runs for the Dodgers, giving them a (4-2) lead. Next, Bellinger was then walked intentionally bringing up Pollock. He was unable to make good contact and he struck out swinging leaving 2 stranded.
After moving Betts to center, reliever Blake Treinen then appeared and after walking C/d’Arnaud, he got Swanson to hit into a routine “6-4-3” double play. CF/Guillermo Heredia nearly got on with an infield single, but a great hustle play by Treinen to get to 1B, ended the inning right there.
Reliever Chris Martin was brought in, for the 8th and the Dodgers came back with PH/Souza, Jr. but he grounded out. Betts was next. He grounded out to 3B. Seager then flied out to left to retire the side in order.
In the bottom of the 8th, Julio Urías entered the game as the new Dodgers reliever. First up, Eddie Rosario slapped an opposite field single to center. Freeman flied out to left as Rosario was sent to 2B when he tagged up. Next, a single by Albies to right and Rosario was waved home in a risky move that proved successful. The play was appealed but the call stood. Dodgers 4, Braves 3. Then, Riley blasted a high and deep drive to right center that went off the wall. Betts recovered it and made the long throw-in, but the relay to home was too low and flew by Smith to the backstop wall as Albies scored the tying run coming in from 1B. The score was now tied at (4-4). Urías then struck out Pederson, two-out. PH Adrianza struck out to close out the frame.
To the Dodgers 9th we go and reliever, Will Smith, was now in. He got T. Turner to fly out to Rosario in deep left just at the back of the warning track, 1 0ut. Will Smith came up and was struck out by his namesake. 2-out. Austin Barnes, pinch-hitting for Urías struck out to end the inning.
And once again we go to a dramatic 9th and Roberts sent Brustar Graterol out to start it. First, d’Artaud singled to center. Swanson then bunted into a fielder’s choice, with Graterol getting the lead runner, Cristian Pache at 2B. Heredia then grounded out to 3B for out #2. Roberts called on his #1 closer, Kenley Jansen to come and get the final 0ut and go to extra innings. However, Rosario was waiting on his first fastball delivery and he smacked that first pitch on an extremely hard line drive up the middle, and although Seager was in the shift, he couldn’t manage to handle it, and Swanson came across home plate with the winning run, for the final score, (5-4) Braves.
Now, the NLCS comes here for Game #3 on Tuesday. Let’s all do our best to help the Big Blue get back on the winning track. As we saw in Atlanta, thousands of “fans in the stands” do make a gigantic difference in these games. We know that 53,000 of ours will be there and millions more will be tuned in on Radio, TV, and many other forms of experiencing it!!