Strangest night of October.
Cody Bellinger took the final big swing, yet somewhere down the right-field line he stopped running, stared at the sky, and rubbed his head as if lost.
Weirdest moment of the playoffs. The
On an unseasonably warm Wednesday night that played like late August at Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers lost their first postseason game after six consecutive wins, 3-2 to the Cubs to end a possible sweep in the
After which, another unusual sight, Dodgers shaking their heads and speaking in monotone.
“It sucks we took our first ‘L’” said pitcher
It was, indeed, but everybody chill. It was strange, but it wasn't ominous. It was a hiccup, not a heartache.
You knew the defending champs weren't going to go down without one last punch. You knew Wrigley Field wasn't going to roll over without one last roar.
The Dodgers still lead the series three games to one. They can still finish it Thursday night here with their ace
The Cubs still just had five hits, scoring all their runs on home runs. They are still just batting .163 in this series. They still don’t have a bullpen, because they used closer
"We'll come back here tomorrow and we got our guy going and hopefully finish it off tomorrow," said Wood.
That's the feeling. That's what the Dodgers are thinking. And even though Kershaw lost the clinching NLCS game on this same mound last October, this is a different team, a more rested Kershaw, a stronger bullpen.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t say that the pressure is on us,” said Dodger manager Dave Roberts. “I think that we’re in a pretty good spot. We’ve got our No. 1 pitcher going tomorrow, and we’ve got two of the guys at the back end rested [
Roberts doesn't sound like he's panicking, so neither should you. "I still like the position we're in," he said.
But still, it was all so odd.
Until the final out, it felt like the Dodgers would win. A week ago, perhaps, the Dodgers would have won.
In the ninth inning against a tiring Davis, Chris Taylor worked a one-out walk and up stepped Bellinger, who had earlier homered off Cubs starter
Except Bellinger finished it first, and not in a good way, hitting a sharp ground ball that second baseman
Those final words were ones that have been repeated by vanquished Dodgers foes throughout this postseason, but never by the Dodgers themselves. "That's baseball" is usually spoken after a defeat. Such a peculiar night.
Still, it was startling to hear the crowd of 42,195 erupting in cheers and jeers throughout a night that began with the place smothered in church quiet.
Finally, in the eighth, the fans erupted in a chanted expletive that fueled them for the rest of the game. With one out and Yasiel Puig on first,
Normally this October, the Dodgers have capitalized on such madness. But this time, Granderson was sent back to the plate, where, rather appropriately for this night and for his brief Dodgers career, he promptly struck out.
The game ended one inning later with one final Wrigley salute, the fans singing "Go Cubs Go" in a full-throated tribute to a team that stayed alive for one more night.
"It's great to have this win, because if we're not, we're going home tomorrow," said Baez. "I feel like we're still not on track as a team. I think if we get back on track, everybody as a team, we're going to be the best again."
Does anybody believe they can do that against Kershaw? Well, at least one person thinks it's possible.
"We have to elevate our game offensively," said Maddon. "You've got to be a tougher out with two strikes. You've got to move the baseball in situations. We're capable of doing all those things.''
Yet for the Dodgers, this still feels a bit like the Lakers’ losing the first game of the 2001
Both of those teams won championships. For these Dodgers, that remains a reasonable goal.
"Sweeping the Cubs was going to be a hard thing to do," said Bellinger. "Good thing we got out front [in the series]. We're not going to take it easy, but it is nice to have that little breather."
It is a breather which, one way or another, officially ends Thursday night. If the Dodgers win, they are in the World Series for the first time in 29 years. If the Dodgers lose, OK, you can start to panic.