(East Los Angeles, CA) October 13, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: What a difference a day makes, and we are truly speaking about the weather here. In this “do-or-die” NLDS Game 5, and under a perfect Fall night for America’s pastime, the Dodgers used one of their “ace” pitchers on three days of rest, Walker Buehler, and their big sticks led by Mookie Betts, to produce runs that they’ve been badly in need of, and carved out a dominant and decisive (7-2) victory over their rivals, the San Francisco Giants. The win tied the Series at (2-2) and the teams travel Wednesday and prepare for the finale on Thursday, Oct. 14th.
Game Recap): Dave Roberts dug deep into his Manager’s tool box and asked Walker Buehler if he could go with only 3 days of rest. An imaginary reply…Yes, Sir! I am ready to go. And off he went, retiring the Giants in order in the first inning with no issues and giving his team a gigantic home field boost with an outstanding pitching performance of four solid innings.
In the Dodgers first, Trae Turner brought home Corey Seager for their first run with a solid double to right center. In the 2nd, after back-to-back singles to right by Gavin Lux and Cody Bellinger the Dodgers scored again when a Chris Taylor sacrifice fly to left brought in Lux. The score moved to (2-0) Dodgers. Neither team scored in the 3rd.
To open the Big Blue’s 4th, Walker Buehler reached 1B on a throwing error by relief pitcher Jarlin Garcia. Then the drama unfolded when guess who stepped up big time for yet another big time at-bat, correct…#50 Mookie Betts, and he delivered just like those Fed-Ex and UPS delivery drivers. He blasted a Garcia fast-ball into right field measured at 388′ that scored Buehler ahead of him. This moved the score to (4-0) in favor of the Blue Crew.
In the Giants 5th, starter Walker Buehler, who went 4 & 2/3 innings, was lifted by Mgr. Dave Roberts after he struggled with his control allowing a Longoria single and a walk to Steven Duggar, putting two of their first three batters aboard. Dave Roberts then replaced him with his “ace” middle inning reliever, Joe Kelly. It got tense in the Stadium when he gave up a single to right by La Stella. But Kelly then bore down and coaxed Darin Ruf to ground out to 2B, scoring Longoria. It was now 2-out. Kelly then got Crawford to also ground out which retired the side. However, one run was scored to narrow the lead to (4-1).
In the Dodgers 5th, they loaded the bases when Cody Bellinger singled straight up the middle. But next, Chris Taylor bounced back to the pitcher who then threw to catcher, Buster Posey and that produced a “run-down” of Lux who had no choice but to head for home. He was tagged out but the bases remained loaded. Mgr. Kapler then called on his “ace” side-arm reliever, Tyler Rogers, to come in to stop the bleeding with his patented delivery. He faced PH/Steven Souza, Jr. and walked him on 4 straight pitches. Then it was another at-bat by Mr. Betts who greeted him with a sacrifice fly to left field, deep enough to plate Bellinger, making it now a (5-1) game. Seager then followed Mookie with his own long fly to right but was retired when it was caught, ending a very productive frame.
Giants went harmlessly in their half of the 6th, but the Dodgers started where they left-off in the 5th when Trae Turner hit a line-drive off of reliever R-H/Zach Littell, that rolled towards first, allowing Turner to reach without a throw due to no coverage by Littell at the bag. Next, Justin Turner flied out to right. Gavin Lux then stepped up and lined a sharp single to left, moving T. Turner to 3B. Side was then retired on a ground-out to 1B by Bellinger.
In the Giants 7th, Dave Roberts brought in the first of his late-game closers led by L-H/Alex Vesia, who retired the only two batters he faced. Roberts then went to his bullpen and brought in his own super-charged 95 mph & above, pitcher, R-H/Blake Treinen. He faced only Ruf and struck him out to end the inning. The Giants left Littell in for the Dodgers 7th and quite remarkably struck out Taylor, McKinney, and Mookie in retiring the side.
In the Giants 8th, Brandon Crawford led off with 2B to the base of the right field wall as it sailed over the head of Betts. Treiner then got Posey to ground out to 2B. Crawford advanced to 3B. He scored when Bryant grounded out to 3B. Now it was (5-2) Dodgers. PH/Casali was no match for the Dodgers strong reliever as he got his hitter with a “whiffle ball” type of strikeout for the 3rd out.
The Dodgers 8th greeted reliever Jake McGee with a Corey Seager lead-off single to left. Trae Turner followed with a fly-out to center. Will Smith (1-3) then delivered a huge crowd-pleasing 2-run homer to left center that just cleared the wall, landing in front of the seating area. Now it was Dodgers 7, Giants 2. Albert Pujols then came up and drew an ahhh!! from the fans as he sharply lined-out to left center ending the inning. Phil Bickford came on to close out the Giants in the 9th and did so with a perfect “1-2-3” inning. Game over and Dodgers win!!!
And so, the No. Cal vs. So. Cal, interstate, competition goes down to the max tomorrow as the two legendary rivals must return to San Francisco for the right to battle in the National League Championship Series (NLCS). The winner, of course moves to the Series which is set to start on Saturday, Oct. 16th. [Fan Reminder]: Keep those Big Blue rally towels handy and ready to wave as you watch the game whether you’re at home, at a viewing party, or take them wherever you go tomorrow if you can’t watch. Keep the positive vibrations going as much as you can,