After Game 5 I said to a friend, “If LA loses Game 6, they won’t win Game 7.” I’m glad to not be a betting kind of girl.
Saturday night in a NLCS win or clean out your locker, a Dodger rookie starter with an iconic surname took the mound at Milwaukee’s Miller Park and owned it.
Twenty-four year old Walker Buehler kept the Brewers bats awfully quiet for 4 2/3 innings – allowing a run on six hits, striking out seven – without a walk.
The Kentucky kid rebounded from his prior loss, bookending the evening with ace Clayton Kershaw, who fittingly closed the show fanning two out of the three he faced in the ninth.
LA’s bullpen picked a perfect time to be almost perfect – holding Milwaukee to a base hit, and for the second consecutive year Dave Roberts’ boys of summer are playing through ‘till the end hoping to finish the business they started in last season’s fateful Fall Classic.
Another less than six degrees of separation reunites Roberts with his former Red Sox team whose famous steal against the Yankees sparked the biggest seven-game series comeback in MLB history.
The Brewers drew first blood in the first off of Christian Yelich’s bat – a solo shot to right center.
But in the top of the second, postseason pariah Manny Machado got the best of Milwaukee’s “boos” by laying down a sly bunt single – making way for Cody Bellinger’s go-ahead two run blast.
Flashes of leather greatness by Chris Taylor, who’s over the shoulder grab of Yelich’s sure to be game-tying double, fired up the Dodger offense in the sixth.
After Max Muncy and Justin Turner reached base on consecutive singles, Bellinger hustled to first for a fielder’s choice. With runners on the corners, Yasiel Puig, the protocol problem child turned tamer hitter, launched a three run blast to center putting a hush over the hometown crowd. The Dodgers and their brilliant bullpen never looked back.
With the World Series starting on Tuesday, the Dodgers will face a much rested, better on paper Red Sox team. The odds are not in their favor, but that’s the beauty about sports – sometimes it doesn’t really matter.