This baseball season has been an odd one for Dodgers fans. An overwhelming majority of their fan base has been unable to regularly watch the games on TV due to the Time Warner debacle. It is an issue that has been beaten relentlessly, so I’ll spare you that post. But what has been a tepid experience for most of Los Angeles is now an exhilarating ride. The Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched the National League West Division Title for the second time in two years.
Clayton Kershaw took the mound tonight, and for the first two innings, all was right with the world. Our ace, our historic ace, had pitched a perfect two innings. For a moment, at least for this blogger, I had a tinge of wishful thinking, “How amazing would it be if his season is endcapped with a perfect game, NL West clinch?” You can go ahead and wish a pox on my house because I jinxed it. The perfect two innings came to an end, and honestly, it looked as if Kershaw was going to collapse. Memories of last year’s NLCS flooded my mind. In the top of the third, Kershaw gave up a single to Joaquin Arias. Gregor Blanco singled to left field in the next at bat. And then, in the least Kershaw-y of Kershaw moments, that guy, Kershaw, balked! It was his only in this season and the tenth of his career. With Arias and Blanco on third and second respectively, and Giants pitcher, Tim Hudson up to bat, there was a glimmer of hope that Kershaw would start getting some much needed outs. Indeed, Hudson grounded out, but Demon Lord, Hunter Pence would extend the rally. Pence would end up safe on a botched fielder’s choice, and his at bat would bring in Arias to score. Joe Panik managed to get in a single before Buster Posey could come up and ground into a double play.
For a while, the Dodgers couldn’t muster anything against the 39 year-old Hudson. In the bottom of the 5th, Carl Crawford reached first after being hit by a pitch. Having dealt with an impotent offense before, Kershaw hit a standing triple, scoring Carl Crawford and tying the game. In the bottom of the sixth, the Dodgers offense finally woke up with a Puig opposite field bomb:
(Courtest of Chad Moriyama @ Dodgers Digest)
The Dodgers managed to score three more runs in that inning and then another four in the bottom of the eighth. Our good friend, Brian Wilson, closed the game against his former team and secured the win.
Even though the Dodgers have seen the last of the Giants in the regular season, there is a very real chance that the rivals could face each other much later in the playoffs. If the Giants manage to make it into the wild card game and beat the Pirates, and if they manage to beat the Nationals, then the Dodgers can look forward to a very dramatic boss fight, I mean NLCS before the World Series.
Part of me wants the Giants to make it to the NLCS just so their fans can get a taste of hope’s sweet nectar, before the Dodgers crush the dreams of a third World Series Birth in the last four years.
Sweet sweet baseball, you are not a destination, but a journey. Thank you for this season. I cannot wait for the playoffs.