One word describes Juan Uribe. Clutch. Even more so now as Uribe hit one of the most dramatic home runs in Dodger playoff history since 1988, as he slugged his way into Dodger lore. Ironically this is the 25th anniversary of the Dodgers last world series Championship. The lovable portly third sacker crushed a game winning two-run home run that put the Dodgers ahead and gave the boys in blue a 4-3 win over the Braves in game 4 of the NLDS. The victory clinched the series win for the Dodgers 3-1 in games. For just the third time in the last 25 years, and first time since 2009 the Dodgers have advanced to the NLCS. But just as important was how they got there, and what setup Uribe’s beautiful home run. The Dodger’s game 4 win over the Braves was a team effort.
The Dodgers decided to roll the dice and send out Clayton Kershaw on three days rest. Sending any pitcher out on short rest is never ideal, but the Dodgers did not want to have to board a plane and fly back to Atlanta for a game five. Kershaw himself had gone up to Mattingly and told him to give him the ball. The Dodgers were going for the knockout blow, instead of using scheduled starter Ricky Nolasco. Apparently the club had known since Sunday that Kershaw was going to start game 4, but it’s possible they were trying to use Nolasco as a decoy. Kershaw would get his wish and countered veteran Freddy Garcia. It was a risky move as Kershaw had made 124 pitches in game 1. It worked. This was a risky yet very defensible move in my opnion. If you’re going to lose, better to lose with your best. ‘
Isn’t it amazing what somebody will do when they can’t bunt?! ~Vin Scully
Kershaw had never pitched on short rest, and looked like his usual dominant self, but the Dodger defense let him down. Kershaw pitched six strong frames, along just three hits and two unearned runs, while whiffing six. Adrian Gonzalez made two costly errors, one of them cost the Dodgers two runs.
Kershaw was working with a two run lead early, thanks to two solo home runs from the suddenly red-hot Carl Crawford.
With the club up 2-0 in the fourth frame, Gonzalez couldn’t handle an easy double play roller to first with a man on first. Gonzalez threw low and wide to Hanley at second base, and the throw bounced under his glove. Gonzo was trying to get the lead runner, and didn’t even get the out at first. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and after a strikeout on McCann, (His fourth for the golden sombrero by the way), Chris Johnson’s single to left plated the first run. Andrelton Simmons’ ground out force scored the second run which tied the game.
Kershaw was removed after the sixth, and the Braves scored the third run off of Ronald Belisario in the top of the seventh. Elliot Johnson’s one-out triple, and Jose Constanza’s RBI single put the Braves up 3-2, and in the driver’s seat with the scary Craig Kimbrel lurking in the Atlanta bullpen.
Here’s where thing got interesting, and our loveable third baseman comes up huge. Freddi Gonzalez did not bring in Kimbrel in the eighth, instead using David Carpenter while Kimbrel warmed and watched from the bullpen. Carpenter allowed a double to Yasiel Puig, which set up the game winning……bunt????
Ha ha nah, just messing with you. Uribe didn’t bunt, but not because he wasn’t trying. To everyone’s horror, Don Mattingly ordered Uribe to sacrifice Puig to third, because he’s Don Mattigly of course. It’s almost mind-blowing. Bunting over a guy into scoring position, that is already in scoring position. Plus the worst part is taking the bat out of Uribe’s hands would have ruined the rally. Uribe tried to bunt, but he doesn’t do it very often, and failed, fouling off two pitches. Thank god, those bunts didn’t get down. If they had, I don’t know if the Dodgers would have scored. More than likely, Fredi Gonzalez would have brought in Kimbrel, and that would have been it. I think Fredi Gonzalez was trying to get another out or two before bringing in Kimbrel, which was a big mistake. Kimbrel would never get into the game. Uribe made sure of that. This should teach Mattingly to never ever bunt again.
After the failed bunt on two pitches, Carpenter gave Uribe a hanging breaking ball. McCann did not stop Uribe from crossing home plate. Nobody could. Take a look at what Uribe did to send the sellout Dodger Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
There have been many heroes in this four game series for the Boys in Blue. Chris Capuano’s three scoreless frames in game 3 was huge. Carl Crawford is on fire right now. Crawford hit three home runs in the series, all in the final two games. He hit two solo home runs in game 4. Hanley Ramirez had six extra-base hits in the series which tied an all time Dodger playoff record.
Let’s not forget how great Kershaw is. He is the best pitcher in Baseball, and will lead us to the promised land. Kershaw was 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA in the series.
Brian Wilson, and Kenley Jansen closed the door on the series, as the Dodgers moved on to the NLCS. The Dodgers finally got to celebrate at home, and all of Los Angeles celebrated Dodger Blue long into the night. Welcome to Bluetober everyone! Where new Dodger heroes are crowned each day.