MLB got exactly what they wanted with two Game 7s in the championship series of both leagues. The Dodgers raged back from a 3-1 hole, forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 to get to the World Series.
The Dodgers were playing for three World Series trips in the last four seasons. The Braves were playing for their first trip to the Fall Classic since 1999. I remember the formidable Braves teams of the 1990s, and this 2020 team reminds me a lot of those talented Atlanta teams.
It was a worthy Game 7 battle, both teams battling for the chance to play in the Fall Classic. The Dodgers did what they do. They came back from a 3-1 deficit in the series to win the NL pennant and head to the World Series for the third time in the last four seasons.
The comeback Dodgers completed the ultimate comeback.
Dustin May took the mound for the Dodgers to open the win-or-go-home game. He hadn’t pitched more than two innings in an appearance since September 27, making the decision a bit questionable. Things immediately started off shaky when May walked Ronald Acuna Jr. on four pitches. With Freddie Freeman at the plate, Acuna stole second base. It didn’t matter, because May walked Freeman to put himself in a jam within minutes of the start to the game.
Yeah, uh that’s not good.
Marcell Ozuna delivered the pain wth an RBI single to left field, the Braves attacking early.
It could have been much worse. May came back to induce a double play, and he struck out Ozzie Albies to strand Freeman at third.
As Mookie goes, the Dodgers go. Mookie Betts started things off for the Dodgers with a single to left against Ian Anderson. Betts advanced to second on a close play at first. Corey Seager and Freeman both got to the bag at the same time, but the Dodgers didn’t challenge.
The Dodgers started a two-out rally in the bottom of the 2nd. AJ Pollock singled, and Joc Pederson followed with a single to the gap in center. Pederson advanced to second on a passed ball by Travis d’Arnaud.
It was up to Chris Taylor with runners at second and third and two outs. He ran the count full, but he whiffed on an Anderson changeup to strand another two runners.
The Dodgers tied it up in the 3rd with, you guessed it, two outs. Justin Turner drew a walk, and Muncy hit a double down the line. Will Smith came up big, once again, with a two-run single.
Back-to-back walks from Gonsolin opened the inning for the Braves in the 4th. Austin Riley put the Braves ahead 3-2 with an RBI single.
Dave Roberts tried to limit the damage, bringing in Blake Treinen with two on and nobody out. The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. No harm, no foul. Both base runners were erased on a double play. The Braves messed up again in a tag-up situation. Swanson was caught leaning and was tagged out between third and home. Then Riley got doubled up at third.
Tyler Matzek relieved Anderson in the 4th. Anderson allowed 2 runs on 5 hits with 2 strikeouts and 2 walks on 73 pitches.
Perhaps looking for redemption for his strikeout in his first at-bat, CT3 singled with one out. Betts walked, bringing up Corey Seager with two on and one out. Seager, who grounded out twice on the night, loudly flied out to right for the second out. With Turner at the plate, the runners moved up to second and third on the wild pitch. Turner’s second walk brought up Muncy with the bases loaded and two outs.
*Insert footage of Muncy’s grand slam in Game 3*
Sorry folks, there’s no highlight for this one. Muncy struck out, stranding another three runners. The Dodgers had already left eight men on base and were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position at this point.
Mookie, the machine, did it again in the top of the 5th. He robbed Freeman of a home run with an amazing jumping catch over the eight-foot wall in right field. The Dodgers really have two of the best outfielders in the game in center and right. Aside from this game, I’m looking forward to Belli and Betts manning the Dodgers’ outfield for years to come.
They also wasted another walk in the 5th when 2019 postseason Pollock grounded into the inning-ending double play.
Brusdar Graterol was in to face the heart of the Atlanta lineup in the top of the 6th. The young flamethrower pitched a scoreless inning, while John Smoltz continued to be miserable and bitch about statistics.
The guy that started Game 5, A.J. Minter, came in for a relief appearance in the home half of the 6th. Enrique Hernandez, who always shines in the postseason, crushed a huge game-tying pinch-hit dong.
Taylor followed up Hernandez’s homer with a double, the go-ahead run at second with nobody out. Minter was forced to face Betts due to the three-batter minimum rule. Taylor moved to third, tagging up on a Betts fly ball. That’s not exactly the at-bat they needed from Betts right there.
They needed a big hit from Seager too, but he hit a ground ball to the middle infield. Taylor went home on contact, but he was cut down at the plate on a mound-assisted throw by Albies to d’Arnaud.
Chris Martin came in and retired Turner to take the knotted game into the later innings.
Martin got back-to-back strikeouts in the bottom of the 7th, stalling Muncy and Smith. THEN…
TAKE-OFF! Bellinger blasted a shot on the eighth pitch he saw from Martin, a towering home run to right field to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.
The Braves were trailing for the first time in Game 7. Urias was back out for the top of the 8th.
Bellinger may or may not have blown out his shoulder celebrating after his homer, but I just wanted them to hold the razor-thin one-run lead. Freeman was limping in the dugout. This long series started to show the wear and tear it caused.
Urias finished off all nine batters he faced for three perfect innings of work. Kenley Jansen was warming up in the bullpen just in case. Although the Dodgers have been careful with the development of Urias over the years, Roberts had confidence in his young lefty. Urias, and the bullpen, pitched them to the World Series.
Seager, with 5 HRS and 11 RBIs, wins the MVP of the NLCS.
I can’t believe we got here in the season despite the absolutely trash of a year overall.
PLEASE WIN IT THIS TIME.