With the only LDS series tied at 1 , this ongoing feud between the Dodgers and Cardinals shifts to The Show-Me State for games 3 and 4. Hyun-Jin Ryu will take the mound for The Blue for the first time in 3 weeks against former Angel John Lackey with the first pitch scheduled just past 6.
No Shortage of Drama
By now, we all know there is no love lost between these two storied franchises. If the first two games are any indication, this series should be primed for another dramatic finish. So far…
*Benches clearing after a hit by pitch to Puig from Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright
*An unforeseen offensive output from both teams with Kershaw and Wainwright toeing the hill in Game 1
*Kershaw surrendering 8 runs in the fateful 7th inning . Yup, I also thought Friday was money in the bag.
*Matt Carpenter continues to be a thorn to the Dodgers side in the post-season
*Matt Kemp showing he’s still clutch
*Mattingly’s moves being scrutinized once again
All this adds up to this series being tied at one. The biggest surprise so far , without a doubt Kershaw’s meltdown in the 7th inning of Game 1. With a 6-2 lead and already 8 strikeouts to that point, you just had to think the game was in the bag. But even a sure bet can come up snake eyes, as the Cardinals would score 8 times in that fateful 7th, capped off by Matt Carpenter’s bases clearing double and Matt Holliday’s 3 run shot off Pedro Baez giving the Cardinals a 10-6 lead.
The Dodgers would not go away quietly though as they would rally themselves thanks in large part to a 2 run shot by Adrian Gonzalez and a ninth inning rally that would come up 1 run short, with Puig striking out to end the game.
Game 2 would see the Dodgers take a 2-0 lead into the 8th inning when starter Zack Greinke, after going 7 strong would be pulled for lefty JP Howell. However, as they say , ” The best laid plans…” , and Matt Carpenter, once again, would show why he has been a thorn to our sides in post-season play…
A huge inning ending 6-4-3 induced by Brandon League would prevent further damage, setting up what could be the biggest moment yet in 2014 for The Blue…
What are the keys for a Dodger win in Game 3 ? Will Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford break out of their post-season slump ? Does Hyun-Jin Ryu fell no effects of his recent injury and pitch deep into the game through at least 7 ? How much confidence does Mattingly have in his bullpen ? These are just some of the upcoming story lines as The Blue attempts to salvage at least one in St Louis, where historically, they have had a miserable time in the playoffs…
Dodger Blues in Mizzou…
1985 NLCS 0-3, Lost in 6 games
2004 NLDS 0-2, Lost in 4
2009 NLDS 1-0, Won in 3
2013 NLCS 0-3, Lost in 6
That, my friends, adds up to an overall mark of 1-8 in the post-season in The Show Me State. Now on the positive side. The Dodgers had MLB’s best road record this season at 49-32, so being in a hostile environment will should not phase them. One of these stats has to give. Let’s all hope for the latter. Are you all enjoying your Blue October yet ?
Steve Sax, also know to many as Saxie, would don the Dodger Blue from 1981-88 . During his 8 seasons with the Dodgers, Sax would be the last of 4 consecutive Dodgers Rookie of the Year winners from 1979-82. Sax would be nominated to the All-Star game as a Dodger in 1982, ’83 and ’86. A solid fixture at 2nd base, Sax of course will always be remembered for his defensive misfortunes in 1983, the season he committed 30 errors. Pedro Guerrero, not exactly a handiest 3rd baseman either before returning to left field, once said ” First I pray to God that nobody hits the ball to me. Then I pray to God that no one hits the ball to Steve Sax ”
Other Dodgers to Wear Number 3
Down Memory Lane With Dre, 2004
Of all Dodgers/Giants games I’ve attended in over 30 years, this of course is without a doubt my most memorable. With the slam by Steve Finley, the Dodgers would win their first division title in 9 years , and their first in a non-strike season since 1988.
On this day, 1986, Fernando Valenzuela would win his 20th game, beating the Houston Astros at the Astrodome 9-2, becoming the first Mexican born pitcher to win 20 games in the bigs. Thank you Dodgers-LowDown!!! For all your Dodger fun facts and Dodger related news, follow the Dodgers-LowDown on their facebook page. Tell them Drei here sent you !!!
Round 1 of 3 begins tonight, with Dan Haren taking on Jake Peavy at The Ravine. The Dodgers are coming off a 4 game series against the Cubs in which they took 3 of 4, with the bullpen by committeedoing just enough yesterday as the offense lifted the Blue over the Cubs 8-5. Haren, who was originally slated to start yesterday, was held back so that he could start tonight’s huge game against the hated ones as the Blue looks to move one step closer to clinching another NL West title. The Giants come into Dodger Stadium limping, having been swept over the weekend in San Diegoby the Padres.
Just a reminder, the Dodgers want a Blue Out for these 3 games against the hated ones !!! Time for a DODGER BLUE OUT !!!
Congrats to Yasiel Puig on being named National League Co-Player of the Week , driving in 11 Dodgers while belting 3 out of the yard . After a slow start, The Cuban Missile is proving that he is not one to succumb to a sophomore jinx. QUE VIVA CUBA, VIVA PUIG !!!
Dee Gordon getting a little ” Dodgerball ” going in an elementary school in New York before their 3 game set with the Mets
Dodger SuperFan Marlon Brandereno, aka El Viejo , or Kid Marlz, who you’ll see later in Dre’s Stadium Bytes, taking a bite out of this Big Apple. These are one of 3 apples that are on display on the 1st base concourse on the right field reserve level. The Apples we’re scattered throughout New York City last season as part of the All-Star festivities. Now let’s see if the Boys in Blue can take a Big Bite of of the big apple during these next 3 games against the Mets in The Big Apple as Josh Beckett takes the mound for The Blue as he takes on Mets rookie Rafael Montero, making his first big league start tonight. You can also check out more of my pics on my instagram, @good_drei .
More of Dre’s Stadium Bytes, With Kid Marlz vs. the Marlz, ahem, Marlins
In this informal edition of Dre’s Bytes, we have 5 clips here from the home 6th from last Tuesday evening against the Marlins, and a huge 6th it was for the Blue and also a nice birthday gift for Kid Marlz against , the Marlins. First up, HanRam at the dish with Dee and Puig on base…
Now that we got a good thing goin’ in the home 6th, let’s see if Crawford or Turner can get Matt Kemp a ride home. Oh yeah, with the Marlins in town, we wonder why the Miami Heat fans here in L.A. don’t show up when the Marlins are also in town . Hmmmm….
At 12-9, half a game ahead of the Colorado Rockies heading into today’s action, considering the Dodgers recent offensive woes, the overuse of our bullpen, and of course, our porous defense at least early on, things could certainly be much worse then standing at 12-9 atop the NL West in spite of themselves. Last night’s 10th inning gaffe on a pop fly by the Phillies Carlos Ruiz on the part of Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez was a notable example of the Dodgers defensive ineptness. Dominic Brown would make the Dodgers pay by driving home the game winning RBI for the Phillies. Mattingly made no bones about the Dodgers defensive lapses after the game last night, as they have become a frustration .
Somebody call for this !!! Crawford and Hanley bump into each other during Carlos Ruiz’s pop fly that would have been the 2nd out in the 10th. Instead, Ruiz reaches on this 2 base error and would be cashed in.
Tonight, Zack Greinke takes the mound for the Blue as he goes against Cole Hammels, making his 2014 debut for the Phillies.
Other Notes and NL West Thoughts
The Giants, after a 5-1 start, have leveled off a bit and have had their share of offensive struggles as well, losing 9 of their last 14.
Nothing has gone right for the DBacks this season, who currently stand at 5-18. I felt before the season that Kirk Gibson could be on the hot seat if the DBacks don’t make a run toward the post season. I’m starting to believe he may be gone before season’s end, maybe before the all-star break.
100 Years and Counting For Wrigley
And Ode to Wrigley, from Vin Scully
Today marks the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field . Wrigley Field is the 2nd oldest ballpark in the Majors behind only Fenway Park . Many historic moments have happened inside Wrigley Field, except a World Series championship celebration. If you’re like me and have hopes of hitting up all 30 MLB Parks, Wrigley should definitely be up there on your ballpark visit lists . HAPPY BIRTHDAY WRIGLEY FIELD !!!
A familiar sight to generations of Cubs fans, the blue L flag. ( The white W flag has also had it’s fair share of time up there too….)
Back in May, 2006 beneath the famous scoreboard.
Out and abouts on Sheffield Avenue, behind the RF warning track. Yes, i’m that close to the field
For those of you who like to eat, follow my friend’s blog A Voyage Through Food and Learning as Jonathan Revies guides you through his culinary schooling experiences from Tucson .
And for the latest on the Dodgers Lowdown, check out the Dodgers-lowdown for all your latest Dodgers news items from Dodger fan Eric Versolavich’s POV.
Nats have the best rotation in the division anchored by Stephen Strasburg. Acquisition of Doug Fister form the Tigers will also be a boost to the rotation. If the Nats, especially Bryce Harper can remain healthy for a good part of the season, Nats will be dangerous in the NL. Nats finished last season strong, going 26-12 down the final stretch.
Braves bats will be providing some heavy lumber again this season, especially the middle of their lineup. The loss of 2 of their starters, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, could be a hindrance to the rotation. But with an offense that includes the power trio of Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, and a strong back end of the bullpen, the Braves still remain a legitimate threat to win this division.
Phillies starting rotation still sport a formidable 1-2 tandem in Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels but age has caught up to this organization that had made it to the post-season 5 consecutive seasons from 2007-2011, appearing in 2 World Series and coming out on top in 2008. 5 years ago, I would have loved to have Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz in my lineup.
In my surprise pick, I’m picking the Marlins to finish beyond the NL East’s cellar. It will be interesting to how if NL ROY pitcher Jose Fernandez follows up his ROY campaign as he will be anchoring this young rotation. Marlins still have too many inexperience to pose a serious challenge for the division.
The Mets starting pitching should make for a lot of close games, but scoring runs continues to be an issue for them. David Wright is not the home run threat he once was. I’m also interested to see if Bartolo Colon can match his somewhat surprising performance of 2013, and I say somewhat because, yes, he will be turning 41 in May. Can he pitch 200 innings ? Having said that, Colon should still provide a steady veteran presence in their rotation.
So, as for the NL East , it appears that there is no lack of pitching from the top on down the bottom. I still see this being a 2 team race between the Nationals and Braves.
Over the last 14 seasons dating back to 2000, the Cardinals have had the most successful run in the National League, with 10 post-season appearances, including 4 trips to the Fall Classic in which they have won 2. Aside from the loss of David Freese, the Red Birds pretty much field the same personnel from last year’s squad that took them to the World Series. Their pitching staff, a good mix of veterans and youngsters from Adam Wainwright to Michael Wacha, could be the deepest in all of baseball. The offense along with Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina is also expected to put up some big numbers.
The Pirates, after going 21 consecutive seasons of sub .500 baseball, not only broke that dubious streak but won 94 games en route to a Wild Card victory over the Reds before taking the eventual NL Champion Cardinals the full 5 games in the NLDS. A lot has been made of the Bucs pitching and defense, which was certainly a huge factor in returning to post-season play for the first time in 21 years. The Bucs and their fans got a taste last year, now everyone in Steel City wants more, and they should. If they can add another solid bat or two to back Andrew McCutchen to their offense ranked 9th in the NL in scoring last year, the Bucs could make another serious run in October.
Overlooked last year was the fact the Reds made it to post-season play for the 3rd time in 4 years. However, closing out the season on a 5 game skid, including a 3 game sweep at the hands of the Pirates in the season’s final weekend at home, capped off by their Wild Card loss to the Bucs, eventually cost Dusty Baker his job as skipper. Fair ? I don’t think so. But that’s life in any major coaching capacity these day’s when even a hint of success is achieved and higher expectations are not immediately met. The big 3 run producers, Votto, Bruce and Phillips remain intact. The health of the pitching may be a question mark. The bullpen will be thin at times with the loss of Aroldis Chapman until at least June. ( Thank goodness he’s OK after being hit in the head by a line drive from Royals Salvador Perez ) .
Ryan Braun return from his suspension will definitely add some pop to the Brewers lineup along with Lucroy, Segura and Carlos Gomez. Pitching, as well as keeping key players off the DL , will be key for the Brew Crew if they are to sneak up toward the NL Central, the only division with 3 teams with 90 plus wins in 2013.
It has been 105 years since the Cubs have won a World Series. With all the youth on their team, it’s highly doubtful Wrigley Field, celebrating it’s 100th birthday, will finally be presented with a World Series triumph any time soon. Anthony Rizzo led the club with 23 dingers, and he could pass that up this season, but with a thin all-around lineup comprised of youngsters, he may not get many opportunities to drive home many runs.
So the NL Central could very well have 3 post season teams this year. St Louis with all it’s depth is the favorite to win the division, but Pittsburgh and Cincinatti, the somewhat forgotten team of last season, could pose a serious challenge for the NL Central crown.
The Dodgers are the overwhelming favorites to repeat as NL West Champions. Many expect the Blue to run away with this division. If only it we’re so easy. However, with all the depth they have, there really is no reason to think the Dodgers will not win the division unless injuries, which no expert prognosticator, can ever predict. The starting 5 could potentially have 2 20 plus game winners in their rotation in Kershaw and Greinke, and a couple of 15 plus game winners with Haren and Ryu. The bullpen, anchored by Kenley Jansen along with the return of Brian Wilson and the acquisition of Chris Perez, could be the best in the game.
Is this the year Dee Gordon solidifies his everyday spot in the infield at 2nd base ? Will the Dodgers be with 4 outfielders the entire season ? Can Matt Kemp ever return to the Matt Kemp of 2011 ? Yasiel Puig, after his breakout rookie season in which he played a huge part in the Dodgers run toward the post-season, how will he handle the pressures of higher expectations in 2014 ? Yeah, I’m being somewhat pessimistic. But that’s what fans who follow their teams closely do. Having said that, this team really is loaded. Many of these so-called issues are ones lots of teams would like to have, especially when talking about the outfield and pitching depth. I haven’t even mentioned the presence of Hanley and AGon in the lineup, also expected to put up some more big numbers this season.
Our rivals up north, the Giants, after struggling through 2013 with many of it’s players spending time in the DL and an unlikely shaky season from it’s rotation, look to give the Dodgers a run for the division. As much as Cain and Lincecum struggled, they still form a pretty formidable tandem along with Madison Bumgardner. The offense may be a question though, however, if the top of their lineup can stay healthy, Hunter Pence and of course Buster Posey could have more run-producing opportunities. How does a lighter Pablo Sandoval do in a contract year ?
There will be no shortage of runs in Arizona this year, as long as they got notorious Dodger killer Paul Goldschmidt in that lineup along with the addition of former Angel Mark Trumbo. The starting 5 is another story and the loss of Patrick Corbin before the Opening Series did not do any favors to the top of their rotation. The usually durable and dependable Bronson Arroyo should provide a good veteran presence. Will it be enough for the DBacks to pose a serious challenge in the NL West ?
The strength of the Padres, celebrating 10 years in Petco Park, has always been their pitching. Even with the changes in the outfield, Petco still remains a pitcher friendly yard. Now if only scoring runs wasn’t such an issue. Not helping matters is Josh Johnson, slated to be the Opening Day starter, is starting the season on the DL. With Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin in their lineup, will they have enough talent in that lineup to provide those two ample opportunities to drive home runs, always a tough task at pitcher friendly Petco.
The Rockies, opposite the Padres, have always been known for high offensive numbers. Playing 81 games at Coors Field certainly helps, especially when you have guys like Tulowitzki, CarGo and Michael Cuddyer in that lineup. Pitching, on the other hand, has historically been an issue for the Rockies. I really think it does have something to do with the thought of pitching in thin air , thus possibly affecting the mechanics of their starters.
As stated earlier, NL West is their for the Dodgers to take. Will they run away with the division ? No. I look for the Giants and DBacks to be the Dodgers closest contender, with the Padres and even the Rockies being possible sleepers to move up in the division. I still feel this is Matt Kemp’s team to lead. He may not be the 5-tool player that we saw in 2011 and may never go back to that form, but his presence in the lineup along with Hanley, Gonzales, Puig and either Ethier or Crawford, can still not be overlooked.
More of Dre’s Take’s…
I also would like to see Juan Uribe to build upon his performance from last year . It’s been noted that Juan struggles after a contract season. We will find out this year which Uribe we see, be it the Juan of 2011-12, or Juan Uribe of 2013.
And of course, let’s not forget our favorite Cuban, Yasiel Puig. Yes, he may be the most talented player the Dodgers have, which, when compared to a healthy Matt Kemp, is saying a lot. Yes, he still has the potential for an even bigger upside. And of course, yes, there’s also potential that dealing with the young Cuban Missile can be an ongoing issue. By now, we all know that Yasiel Puig was called out by manager Don Mattingly after last Saturday’s 7-5 win over the DBacks, in which Puig went 3 for 5. There is no denying the world of talent this kid posses. What is driving Mattingly, and others up the wall , including the fans…. ATTITUDE .
I have in the past questioned Mattingly himself on some of his decision making ( I’m sure you have too ), but in this case I see his point. They often say young talented players are the most difficult to handle. L.A. Sports fans, lets remember some guy named Kobe whom Phil, and even his own teammates, particularly some guy named Shaq, we’re not always on the same page either. Kobe and Phil still found a way to win 5 rings together. Puig will no doubt play another huge role as to how far the Dodgers go this year. Puig will also make more mistakes along the way, you know, growing pains. All of us will feel those pains along the way too. But as former MLB player Gabe Kapler said earlier this week, Mattingly can’t handle Puig by himself . Yes, like anything in any organization, it’s going to take a whole team to make this all work out. Calling a team meeting to address issues surrounding Puig is a start. Let’s see how this story turns out with both Puig and the Dodgers. This may sound crazy, but in some way’s Puig reminds me of another Dodger who had a world of talent as well as a world of baggage. Does the name Raul Mondesi ring a bell to you ? I really don’t see Puig going down the road of Mondesi, a world of talent met with unfulfilled promises. It’s all there for Puig to take, with a little help from his friends…
Dre’s NL Playoff Forecast
Pirates over the Braves. The Bucs vanquish the ghosts of 1992.
Cards taken to the limit again in the NLDS this time by Washington. Could be the premier LDS matchup
Dodgers too deep for the Bucs on the offensive side, Dodgers in 5
A repeat of last year’s NLCS, if all goes to form, this will be another evenly matched series
The World Series
It’s been 26 years, the time is now !!! Dodgers over the Tigers in 6 !!!
Hey Dre !!! Are you really the longest tenured Dodger ? It doesn’t seem that long. It’s time we get you a ring Dre !!!
Also, for more in depth coverage of our Boys In Blue, you can follow the Dodgers Low Down for all things related Dodger Blue.
Tonight was a tough one to swallow. Neither the Dodgers or Cardinals had gone yard heading into Game 4 until Matt Holliday launched a rocket toward the Dodgers bullpen in left field to give the Red Birds a 3-0 lead. Shane Robinson would later hit a pinch hit solo shot off J.P. Howell to pad the Cards lead and that’s how it would hold up as the Cards take Game 4, 4-2 to take a commanding 3 games to 1 lead.
A Break Here, A Break There….
Through 4 games, the Cardinals have had a slight edge in total runs scored, 8-7. Tonight, the long ball certainly played big in doing the The Blue in….
3 double plays, 2 of them inning ending and one of them a potential rally killer, as well as Nick Punto being picked off 2nd base after a one-out double and the Dodgers trailing by 2 also spelled doom for The Blue tonight….
The Dodgers have outhit the Red Birds 31-19 throughout the 4 games, however when being asked to come through in the clutch, while neither team has torn the cover off the ball throughout the series, with exception of tonight, it’s the Red Birds who have been that much more clutch than the Boys in Blue….
Other Key Moments The First Four….
After a one-out triple from Mark Ellis in the top of the 10th, the Cards intentionally walk Hanley Ramirez to pitch to Michael Young, who had replaced Adrian Gonzalez in the 8th inning for pinch runner Dee Gordon, who would not score. Michael Young hits a shalow fly to right center, Carlos Beltran catches and fires home to nail Mark Ellis at the plate. Score remains tied…
Top 12, after Carl Crawford leads off with a single and is sacrificed to 2nd by Mark Ellis, up comes HanRam. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out he will be walked to get to Michael Young’s spot, the spot originally occupied by Adrian Gonzalez, to set up a double play. Yup, you guessed it. And another rally is shut down. The Cards would end up winning in 13 on Carlos Beltran’s one out hit down the right field line….
With the Dodgers trailing by a 1-0 deficit, Kershaw and Crawford at 2nd and 3rd with no one out, The Blue would fail to score, capped off by strikeouts by Puig and Uribe, 2 key reasons why the Dodgers advanced past Atlanta to reach the NLCS. That would be their best scoring chance of the day and in spite only 2 hits combined off Kershaw, Belisario, and Howell, the Red Birds would hold off the Blue 1-0 and take a 2 games to none lead in the series….
So, again, as I have stated, neither team is really doing much to run away from each other, statistically speaking. The Cards have done just enough to position themselves for their 4th World Series appearance since 2004, and in a series between what many have said was a matchup of 2 evenly matched teams, just enough may be, well, just enough….
Outside The Yard…
A Place Called Home is a non-profit youth center located in South Los Angeles for which my sister currently works for. They provide assistance for at-risk youths in South Central an opportunity to achieve higher education and pursue their dreams. Well, APCH NEEDS YOUR HELP!! They’ve been selected as finalists to win $5,000 for our Nutrition program and we need YOUR VOTES to win! Voting only lasts until THIS Friday, so vote every day this week!! Like and Share to help our members AND their families! Vote at: http://www.greenfestivals.org/fcgg-la THANK YOU!! And perhaps this video clip from January of 2012 will inspire you to cast your votes….
From The Twitter Feeds….
Eleven teams have come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win a best-of-seven series. #Dodgers
As I said earlier and will say again, the Cardinals have not , in any way, shape or form, dominated this series. They have done just enough to get themselves into position to clinch a World Series berth. We get Greinke tomorrow and should we be fortunate to go back to the Show Me State for Game 6 we get Kershaw. Has anyone won back to back games against these two this season….twice ? It will be tough to do it again. The Dodgers just gotta come up with that clutch hit, and not let tomorrow’s starter, Joe Kelly off the hook as they did early and often in Game 1. Momentum can be a fair-weather trait. It’s time we get that back tomorrow !!!!
We shoulda had white towels today, Holliday doesn't like those.
Many have brought up this great moment in This Day in History, 1988, for you insomniacs who need a little encouragement for tomorrow….
OK, enough from the past !!! It’s all about tomorrow !!! BELIEVE !!!! GO DODGERS !!!!
Andrei here,Southern California Correspondent for Stadium Journey Magazine and StadiumJourney.com, along with the broham, Marlon B, aka Kid Marley Marlz. We like to call ourselves, KID N DREI…2 crazed Dodger fans bringing Da Beatz and Da Talez or sometimes, both. Kid with Da Beats on SoundCloud at MDario GlutenFreeSonds, and Drei with Da Talez.