Game 3 review
Never since 1988 have the Dodgers been this close to the World Series. They’ve been in the NLCS since then, but they’ve never won three games in the NLCS since 1988.
One more win. OK, actually five more wins. But right now, let’s just focus on one more win.
I hope Andre Ethier’s back isn’t bothering him after Game 3, because I’d love to see him in left field every time a right-hander starts in the playoffs.
Before getting to the rest of Game 3, I want to talk a little about Ethier.
Remember who the Dodgers traded to get him? Milton Bradley. It was the very first trade Ned Colletti made after becoming GM of the Dodgers in late 2005. (Strangely enough, the Dodgers had acquired Bradley in 2004 for outfield prospect Franklin Gutierrez, the same Gutierrez who was with the Dodgers this season before going on the disabled list.)
Ethier is in his 12th season with the Dodgers and was a productive player until 2016, when he broke his leg in spring training, missing almost all of the season. He got 24 at-bats late in the season, and went two for six in the postseason.
This season he was fighting Andrew Toles and Yasiel Puig for a starting outfield job when he hurt his back, again most of the season. He had 34 at-bats in the regular season and had one plate appearance in the NLDS.
Did you ever hear Ethier complain? No, he just quietly worked to get as healthy as he could be, and then sat on the bench, waiting for the Dodgers to call on him.
Dave Roberts finally called on him in Game 3, and in his first at-bat he homered to right, drawing the Dodgers even, 1-1. He singled later in the game.
It’s an impressive performance for a 35-year-old who has rarely played since he was 33.
Here’s the other important thing about Ethier. He is in the final season of his contract. He has played in 1,455 regular season games with the Dodgers. In L.A. Dodgers history, he is in the top 10 in home runs, games played, runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, RBIs and walks. He has had several dramatic walk-off hits. In short, one of the great L.A. Dodgers careers in history.
The next time you see him at Dodger Stadium could be the last time you see him in a Dodgers uniform. So when he comes up, stand up and applaud. He deserves it.
On to the rest of the game.
--Justin Turner went 0 for 3. He’s just no good at all.
--Every time I look up, Yasiel Puig seems to be on base.
--TBS analyst Ron Darling seems to have an intense dislike of the Dodgers. I wonder why? Maybe someone still remembers Game 7 of the 1988 NLCS? The mighty New York Mets were favored to slaughter the Dodgers. But what happened in Game 7. Oh, yeah, the Dodgers won. Who was the losing pitcher…. Let me check ….. Oh yeah, it was Ron Darling.
--Chris Taylor is the first person to hit a home run as a shortstop and a home run as a center fielder in the same postseason.
--The Dodgers bullpen pitched 9.2 hitless innings against the Cubs before giving up a hit.
--Ross Stripling tried his best to set up a save situation for Kenley Jansen, but Roberts pulled him too soon.
--Everything Roberts does right now seems to work. Don’t hit for Darvish when it’s 3-1 and the bases are loaded in the sixth with two out? He draws a walk. Pull him after just one batter the next inning? Tony Watson shuts down the Cubs. Play Ethier and Joc Pederson? They both get hits. So when he doesn’t make a move, like bunting with Chase Utley with none out and runners on first and second in the sixth inning, I’m not going to question him.
--It sure would have been nice to give Jansen an extra day off though.
--The Cubs look about as lifeless as the Dodgers did the last few postseasons.
--I hope Willson Contreras is OK. Don’t like to see players get hurt, even if it should work to the Dodgers’ advantage.
--Cubs fans were leaving in the seventh and eighth innings. Why do we only hear about it when Dodgers fans leave early?
--Remember who the Dodgers traded to get Chris Taylor? Zach Lee.
--I fully expect to see Yasmani Grandal in the lineup for Game 4. And he’ll probably hit a homer. Nothing surprises me on this team anymore.
Game 4 preview
Dodgers versus Arrieta
Yasiel Puig: .500 (2 for 5), 1 double
Curtis Granderson: .324 (11 for 34), 2 doubles, 3 RBIs
Yasmani Grandal: .222 (2 for 9), 1 double, 1 homer
Justin Turner: .200 (1 for 5), 1 homer
Andre Ethier: .143 (1 for 7), 1 double
Chase Utley: .056 (1 for 18), 1 homer
Joc Pederson: .000 (0 for 8)
Charlie Culberson: .000 (0 for 2)
Logan Forsythe: .000 (0 for 3)
Enrique Hernandez: .000 (0 for 3)
Chris Taylor: .000 (0 for 3)
Cody Bellinger: .000 (0 for 2)
Pitchers: .200 (1 for 5)
Team: .183 (19 for 104), 5 doubles, 6 homers
Cubs versus Wood
Kris Bryant: .375 (3 for 8), 1 double, 1 homer
Javier Baez: .333 (2 for 6)
Addison Russell: .300 (3 for 10)
Jason Heyward: .250 (2 for 8)
Anthony Rizzo: .231 (3 for 13), 2 doubles
Jon Jay: .200 (1 for 5)
Willson Contreras: .200 (1 for 5)
Ben Zobrist: .143 (1 for 7)
Leonys Martin: .000 (0 for 4)
Kyle Schwarber: .000 (0 for 1), 2 walks
Ian Happ: .000 (0 for 2)
Albert Almora: .000 (0 for 1)
Pitchers: .000 (0 for 7)
Team: .208 (16 for 77), 1 homer, 28 strikeouts
All numbers are courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
(All times PDT)
Game 4: Wednesday, 6 p.m., Dodgers (Alex Wood) at Chicago (Jake Arrieta), TBS
Game 5*: Thursday, 5 p.m., Dodgers at Chicago, TBS
Game 6*: Saturday, 1 p.m. (will move to 5 p.m. if ALCS is complete), Chicago at Dodgers, TBS
Game 7*: Sunday, 4:30 p.m., Chicago at Dodgers, TBS
* if necessary
This needs no explanation. Just watch.