Matt Kemp will be shut down for the rest of the season.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 29, 2013
There was craziness going on all around MLB during the final day of the regular season. Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins pitched a no-hitter against the Tigers, but the game was decided in the bottom of the ninth on a bases loaded wild pitch. The Rays and Rangers won their games ensuring there will be a tiebreaker tomorrow at Texas to determine the winner of the second AL wild card. That’s just the ninth one-game tiebreaker for a wild card or division title in MLB history. The biggest news today was finding out the Dodgers will be playing the Braves in the division series. The Cardinals clinched home field advantage with a win against the Cubs, so that meant Atlanta is the number two seed, and the Dodgers are the number three seed. The Dodgers will begin the division series on the road in Atlanta on October 3. The pitching match-up will feature Clayton Kershaw against Kris Medlen.
There wasn’t much crazy during the Dodger’s game on Sunday afternoon. The team finished off their regular season schedule with the rubber game of a three game series at home against Colorado. There wasn’t much to talk about this game. This is just a warm-up for the Dodgers who are heading to the playoffs to face Atlanta, while Colorado is heading home. The Dodgers drop the regular season finale to Colorado by a score of 2-1.
This was Rockie’s long time first baseman Todd Helton’s final game as a player. The 40 year old went 1 for 4 with a walk and a single, and received a nice tribute from Vin Scully before the game. During his final at-bat in the top of the ninth the Dodger fans gave him a standing ovation. A classy move for a classy player. Helton whiffed in his final at-bat and was given another standing ovation as he walked off the field.
The pitching match-up pitted familiar lefty veteran Jeff Francis against Hyun-jin Ryu in the matinée. Ryu did not look good as he was hammered for two runs on eight hits through four frames. He walked one and whiffed four, and looked out of sorts. Opponent Francis pitched well, although to be fair, the Dodgers couldn’t hit my grandma at the moment. Francis who entered the game with an ERA above six, held the Dodgers to one run on three hits through five effective frames. Francis walked two and struck out six.
The Dodger offense continued to struggle. The game was littered with more of the usual poor plate approaches and routine outs.The club scored eleven runs on Friday, so go figure. The Dodgers had just three hits through the first seven frames. The lone run scoring in the bottom of the fifth. In that frame, M.Ellis walked, Uribe’s bloop single fell just in front of a diving Charlie Blackmon, and Skip Schumaker’s RBI flare single to center scored the run. Scott Van Slyke’s force out, and Castellanos’s whiff prevented the Dodgers from scoring more. The Dodger bats were not heard from again after that.
Colorado scored two runs on 11 hits. They had runners on base constantly, and left ten men on base. The Rockies scored a run in the bottom of the first when Blackmon walked, and consecutive singles from Rutledge, Helton, and Mullet Man, scored Rutledge to give Colorao a 1-0 lead at the time. After leaving two runners stranded in the second inning, Colorado pushed across another run in the top of the fourth. Culberson and Pacheco singled in that frame, and after Francis’s sacrifice moved the runners over, Blackmon’s RBI single scored Culberson to put Colorado up 2-0.
Colorado’s bullpen took things the rest of the way as Oswalt, Ottavino, Bettis, and Brothers held the Dodgers scoreless the rest of the way. The Dodgers had one last failed rally in the bottom of the ninth, leaving the bases loaded in typical Dodger failed rally fashion.
Ryu starts the game with the typical first inning problems that have plagued him from time to time. A lead-off walk to Charlie Blackmon, and then three consecutive singles to Josh Ruteledge, Todd Helton, and Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo’s line drive single to left scores Blackmon to give Colorado the 1-0 lead. Ryu settles down to whiff Michael Cuddyer, and Nolan Arenado, and get Charlie Culberson to ground out. The Dodgers go down in order against Jeff Francis in the bottom of the first inning. Yasiel Puig whiffs, and Carl Crawford, and Michael Young are both retired on line outs.
Ryu gives up a double to Francis, and a single to Blackmon in the top of the second, but gets out of the inning without allowing any runs by retiring Rutledge on strikes, and Helton on a fly out. Francis retires the Dodgers in order again in the bottom of the second frame. In the bottom of the third, the Dodgers waste a lead-off double from A.J. Ellis, and the club continues to do nothing on offense.
Colorado scored their second run in the top of the fourth. Culberson and Pacheco both single. After a sacrifice from Francis moves the runners to second and third, a ground ball single from Blackmon scores Culberson to put Colorado ahead 2-0 at the time. Ricky Nolasco pitches the top of the fifth, and whiffs Tulowitzki, and gets Nolan Arenado to ground into a double play.
The Dodgers finally cross the plate in the bottom of the fifth. Mark Ellis draws a walk, and a bloop single into left puts runners at first and third with none out. Despite a diving attempt by Charlie Blackmon which comes up short. A.J. is called out on strikes for the first out. Skip Schumaker’s flare single to center scores M.Ellis and the Dodgers get on the board. The score is now 2-1 Colorado. Van Slyke’s force out extends the inning, allowing Yasiel Puig to walk. That loads the bases, and the Dodgers send up Alex Castellanos to pinch-hit for Nolasco. Castellanos unfortunately whiffs swinging on a ball in the dirt, and Colorado escapes the frame with the lead.
The Dodgers go down again in the bottom of the seventh. This time it’s against Roy Oswalt. Yes the Roy Oswalt, the man of constant sorrow. He whiffs Uribe and Federowicz, and retires Schumaker on a fly ball. Colorado still leads 2-1 after seven. The Dodgers couldn’t hit Chad Bettis in the bottom of the eighth. A meaningless single from Van Slyke gave us a bit of hope, but the horrendous Butera whiffs and Van Slyke is hung out to dry at second base. Castellanos grounds out.
Move to the top of the ninth, with the Dodgers still trailing by a run 2-1. Kenley Jansen is called in to pitch. Blackmon grounds out. Rutledge walks. Then up comes Helton for the final at-bat of his career. The Dodger Stadium crowd gives him a standing ovation as he walks to the plate. Jansen whiffs Helton, and the Dodger crowd gives him one last ovation as he walks off the field. So long Helton! With Tulowitzki at the plate, Rutledge steals second base. Then Jansen walks Tulowitzki, which brings up Cuddyer. Jansen finally ends the inning with a whiff to Cuddyer.
Move to the bottom of the ninth. Enter Rex Brothers. Young draws a walk. Dee Gordon is ordered to bunt, and as usual, the bunt fails, and Gordon has to swing away, but already in a hole 0-2, he whiffs on a foul tip. M.Ellis follows with a single into center, putting runners at first and second. Predictably Nick Buss is allowed to bat with the tying and winning runs on base. While Buss is at the plate, a ball gets away from Pacheco allowing the runners to advance to second and third. A passed ball is charged to Pacheco. Then on a 2-1 pitch, Buss is hit by a pitch to load the bases. Fedex whiffs for the second out. Fittingly Schumaker whiffs pathetically to end the game. The Dodgers drop the last game and finish 2013 with a 92-70 record. This is the first time Colorado has won the season series against the Dodgers (10-9) since 2007.
The playoff rosters don’t have to be set until Thursday. The offense has struggled, but the club appears to be relatively healthy heading into the division series, Andre Ethier , and Kemp not withstanding. The club had a rally after the game to wish the club good luck on their journey to the playoffs. Tommy Lasorda gave a motivational speech before the club lined up along the base lines. The Dodgers couldn’t have done it without all of the Dodger fans, and we couldn’t have gotten through another exciting Dodger season without you the readers. We thank you for following along all season with us.
Don’t forget to join us for our postseason coverage. We’ll bring you all the action from the division series within our normal game recapping format. Game 1 of the division series will be played Thursday night at Turner Field. Clayton Kershaw will duel Kris Medlen. The Dodgers head into Atlanta to take on the Braves. Everything gets real on Thursday night! See you then! Thanks again for reading! Go Blue!