Andre Ethier seeking an elusive title, and Dodgers give him another chance

The Dodgers celebrate a 4-3 victory over the Nationals in Game 5 of the NLDS. The Dodgers will face the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.

No Dodgers player has a closer connection with the frustration felt by Dodgers fans than Andre Ethier, who has been with the team since 2006 and endured five failed postseasons.

He knows as well as anyone what a World Series championship would mean in Los Angeles.


"I can't tell you how many people from the regular haunts I go through L.A. now, my restaurants, my places I get coffee that know me, that for the last five, six years in the neighborhood I live in are always, 'Hey, when are we going to win the World Series?'" Ethier said before the decisive Game 5 of the National League division series Thursday.

He said he is actually asked three questions.

"When are we going to win the World Series, how is Vin [Scully] doing and have you met Sandy Koufax?" he recalled. "Two of them I can answer, and the third one, I hope this is the year. It would be nice to bring it home for them."

Ethier, 34, is a former All-Star, now a role player, whose pinch-hit single keyed the winning rally against Washington in Game 4. He had another chance to be a hero in Game 5, but struck out with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, stalling a rally.

Ethier acknowledged he hears the huge cheers from Dodgers fans every time he comes to the plate. So do his teammates, who needle him about it.

"I get a lot of ribbing from my teammates because we take pride in our walk-up songs, and they always try to hear my walk-up songs, and they said they can't hear it the last couple of times because of the fans," he said.

Ethier said he feels like he's grown old with the fans and their connection has only gotten stronger.

"I can remember being that young rookie that showed up to the stadium and they cheered me on and rooted me on, and they haven't lost faith throughout my 11-year career there," he said. "It's one where I'm so thankful for and I think that's the only thing I'm missing in my career is bringing that World Series home for the organization, for the city, for the team."

Youth is served

Winning pitcher Julio Urias, at 20 years and 62 days old, is the youngest pitcher to appear in the postseason since Don Gullett of the Cincinnati Reds in 1970.

Gullett was 19 years and 281 days old.

Urias pitched two innings against the Nationals in Game 5, giving up a hit and two walks. He struck out one.

Kenley at the bat

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen threw a big league career high of 51 pitches, and did something else unusual:


He took his second at-bat in a series.

Jansen's last plate appearance before the NLDS came in 2014. On Thursday, batting left-handed, he dropped a sacrifice bunt.

Counter punch

Former Dodger Chris Heisey, who bounced between the big league club and triple A all last season, got a measure of revenge with a pinch-hit two-run home run that brought the Nationals within a run in the seventh inning.

It was the 15th pinch-hit homer of his career, tops among active players.

Heisey was demoted five times by the Dodgers last season, promoted five times, released once and re-signed once.

He spent this entire season with the Nationals.