Pennant Race Daily: Surviving The Diamondbacks, The West, and Joe West

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 Monday the Dodgers survived an ugly one in Arizona, umpired by the game’s nastiest Umpire Joe West. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers entered Monday a game and a half up on the Colorado Rockies. Colorado destroyed Philadelphia at Coors Field by around the time the Dodgers took the field – so Los Angeles would need to win to keep pace. The only way the magic number was getting reduced from six to five was going through Arizona, Robbie Ray; and most importantly, Joe West.

The Dodgers have already had their trials with the grouchy umpire this season.

Joe West doesn’t want to let anyone cheat, and this game wasn’t going to come easily to the Dodgers. But when I doubted them – they answered the bell once again.

Just as I was ready to tweet something about ‘Kershaw can’t be trusted in a big game anymore’, the offense bailed him out. Kershaw kept his sea legs underneath him just enough to give his gritty teammates a chance to win the ballgame. And win the ballgame they did.

Still, the game didn’t end without West getting a minute to steal the spotlight. West ran by boy Joc Pederson with the flabby wave of his arm late in the game after just a little dialogue. This really didn’t take much:

However – I do leave this game – (one that ended up being relatively stress-free) with some question marks. I have discussed it internally with FRG of Blue Heaven Podcast: in a one-game shot for all the marbles; do I want Kershaw or Buehler? Without question, I want Buehler. Kershaw was able to side-step his old foe Christian Walker on Monday, but Ketel Marte tagged him for a home run. This was not your typical ‘give the ball to Kershaw and put it in the win column’ type victory.

Furthermore, I still don’t trust the platoon lineup when we face a left-handed pitcher. This group will take center stage at least one more time this year, in the season finale against Derek Holland. Record be damned, they just cannot make me comfortable.

Lastly, I am concerned with Kenley Jansen. Jansen allowed a meaningless home run in the ninth to A.J. Pollock. Or was it? This is clearly not your father’s Kenley. We have to begin to think about what we are seeing effect our long-term prospects of ultimately winning a title. Kenley just can’t seem so solve his issues – with lapses between past dominance and some futility.

Inner Thoughts From Monday Night

  • In any case, David Freese was a winning acquisition by the front office. If the hallmark at-bat wasn’t his signature moment as a Dodger, his opposite field home run off Ray to tie the game on Monday night will be. He’s cemented his place as a fine (albeit short-term) Dodger.
  • Thank goodness for Max Muncy. Again, this man-from-nowhere finds a way to rescue his team off the bench with the single that held up as the go-ahead run.
  • The bullpen has developed into one that while without big names, has a plethora of guys we can trust. It’s unlike last season’s group.

So, we earn the right to breathe easy for another evening. Still, we have earned really nothing at all. The Dodgers will play the next two evenings in front of a national audience (ESPN) with the baseball world outside Los Angeles waiting for some type of collapse.

In a week, I could be writing about a postseason to come or writing our eulogy and exit interviews. So much sand passed through the hourglass, so little decided. High drama is coming at some point very soon, and I know I am not quite prepared for it.

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  1. Fuck Joe West and the other umpires who have cheated the Dodgers this year and in the past.
    Who was behind the plate and called Kershaw’s strike three pitch to Matt Evans a ball in game four of the division series against the cheater Cardinals several years ago? Evans hit the next pitch for a home run, ending the Dodgers season.