Remember what A.J. Ellis said as the Dodgers celebrated winning their division last month?
“It’s amazing what talent can do,” Ellis said.
He could just as easily -- heck more easily -- have said the same thing surrounded by another champagne-soaked clubhouse Monday after the Dodgers beat the Braves to advance to the National League Championship Series.
Talent, particularly great talent, can sometimes overcome mistakes. And before anyone gets too giddy over the division-clinching victory, let’s not forget the Dodgers managed it by overcoming several mistakes and questionable decisions:
-- Adrian Gonzalez, a three-time Gold Glove first baseman was charged with two errors. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez was late covering second on the second error, but Gonzalez said he should have realized Hanley had been shading toward third on the pitch.
-- Going into the eighth, the Dodgers were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Gonzalez, their leader in runs batted in, had left four on base.
-- Yasiel Puig made an odd, goalie-like slide on what should have been a double by Elliot Johnson and watched the ball flick past him for a triple. Johnson scored what looked like the go-ahead run in the seventh on a Jose Constanza single.
-- Puig, faster than a speeding bullet, was caught stealing and hit into a double play.
-- Juan Uribe blew two sacrifice bunt attempts. Bigger issue: Why was Manager Don Mattingly asking one of his hottest hitters to bunt with no outs and the leopard-fast Puig already on second?
-- The Dodgers unnecessarily started Clayton Kershaw on three days’ rest. They led the series, 2-1.
-- Mark Ellis, as sure-handed and reliable as they come, threw away a relay on a double play.
And none of it mattered.
“The Dodgers have met their enemy,” wrote the Orange County Register’s Mark Whicker. “It is them. They win anyway.”
Yep, it’s amazing what talent can do.
Carl Crawford, who’d hit two home runs since April in the regular season, hit two solo home runs Monday, giving him three in two games.
And of course, Uribe, the round-faced, barrel-chested third baseman who simply shook off those two busted bunt attempts and hit a dramatic, game-winning two-run homer.
Talent won out this time.
The Dodgers seemed clearly the superior club in this series, but things could even out the next round. The Dodgers best clean up some of their issues before relying too heavily on talent.