Pennant Race Daily: Padres Send Dodgers Through Trough of Wave
A moment is a memory. During a pennant race – there are lots of moments. I want you to remember them; so I’m going to write a nightly post that tells the tale of emotions of a pennant race and hopefully; a ride back to the World Series. On Friday evening, the Dodgers got thrown back into the fray of the race by an unlikely suspect.
I think it was Goodfellas – or some mafia movie – where they said the line. You thought you were out until they pull you back in again. That is precisely what the San Diego Padres did to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night at Chavez Ravine. The final Friday of the regular season of the home slate will forever be a 5-3 loss.
A loss that came at the hands of a ginger kid named Eric Lauer – a guy who owns the Dodgers just as much as Billie Jean King now does. Lauer is now 3-0 against the boys in blue, and it’s been particularly painful television in all of those contests.
Things seemed so wonderful, until suddenly they didn’t. The Dodgers were riding the crest of a wave, having swept the Rockies and of course they would finish things up in a tight manner against the lowly Padres at home, right?
Colorado was losing 2-0 in Arizona and the Dodgers held a 2.5 game lead. In the third inning, Kiké Hernandez put a baseball into the AYCE pavilion in left; and all was as it should be in my world.
It's gotta be the stirrups. pic.twitter.com/6ysotCfiqn
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 22, 2018
But baseball – oh baseball if I’ve learned you at all – I know that when things appear a certain way the opposite is certain to unfold immediately thereafter. Almost always. And that is exactly what happened.
The Padres struck back for a two run homer from Hunter Renfroe, and almost simultaneously; the Rockies tied the game in Arizona. About an hour later, Freddy Galvis put the Dodgers game on ice; and word made it’s way to all of us that the Rockies had taken the lead. Some guy named Nolan Arenado homered, and it was clear that this was suddenly going to get tight again.
All those inevitable feelings of doubt crept in again. I want to preface that by saying: I’ve believed since the beginning that the Dodgers would find a way to pull out this division title by the slimmest of margins. It’s going to come down to the last day, my inner voice has told me all season during high and low points. But what if?
What if in some cruel act of sadism – the San Diego Padres are the way this season gets ruined? Yes, right here at Chavez Ravine where the Dodgers have just been an okay baseball team? I mean, crazier things have happened right? I had drifted off to sleep to miss the rally that fell short. Friday was finished, forever just a failed opportunity.
That insurmountable lead is back to under two days of failure, one and a half games until insanity can ensue once again. But we have Saturday, and we have the right-handed starter on the bump for San Diego. And so with that, there is again hope.
That said – and this is a matter for another post – my all-too-often correct intuition is telling me something. It’s saying to me that even if the Dodgers pass this small test, this platoon lineup is going to befell them at the toughest of turns down the line. The Padres showed a willingness to throw left-handed relievers in the game last night too eagerly; even after Lauer had departed. No matter how hard I try to get with the program and get behind this, something just tells me it stinks; there is rotten food in the back of this refrigerator.
But we have Saturday, and Saturday has always mostly been good to me. We are at home and Rich Hill will take the ball; suspect as he’s been of late. Hill too, has been good to me over my baseball life when the chips are down. I trust Rich Hill in a pennant race against a last place team, I tell myself.
This is not going to be easy, and may even come down to the final hour. Make no mistake about it, the Dodgers have stepped back ‘in it’. Exciting as a pennant race is, it would be nice to just relax. But alas, that is not the mark inside the crazy diamond 2018 Dodgers.
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