The “magic number” has been the phrase on everyone’s mind regarding the Dodgers lately. These past four games might have been some of the most arduous the Dodgers have played this year and some of the most emotional for Dodgers fans to experience.
From heartbreak, to glee, to frustration, it was an interesting three days that saw several key players get healthy, leading up to Thursday’s incredible series finale that ended with the Dodgers clinching their first division title and their first trip to the postseason since 2009. We’ll take a look back at the series and how the West was won this week at Chase Field.
It was an interesting week for Dodgers’ starting pitchers. Hyun-Jin Ryu had an incredible start, but took a complete game loss Monday night.
Ryu allowed only two hits, unfortunately one of them was a two-run home run off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt. That would be all the offense Arizona would need as the Dodgers couldn’t muster up any offense losing 2-1. Goldschmidt killed the Dodgers in the series going 6-for-14 with two homers, two doubles, five RBI and five runs scored in the series. Despite the loss, it was nice to see a good start from Ryu (8 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 4 K, 1 BB), as he’d given up 18 hits over his previous two starts.
Zack Greinke looked like his normal, dominant self in Tuesday’s 9-3 win. Greinke pitched six innings of two run ball with five strikeouts and one walk in picking up his 15th win of the season. However, that game was more important because of the huge impact Matt Kemp’s return had on the starting lineup.
Don Mattingly decided to skip Clayton Kershaw’s turn in the rotation, not only to give him some extra rest, but also to set up Kershaw for Game 1 of the playoffs. A rusty Stephen Fife started in his place and the results weren’t good.
Fife allowed four runs, six hits and three walks in only 2.1 innings of work. Four Dodger relievers combined for 4.2 scoreless innings of relief keeping the team in the game until Ronald Belisario imploded in the eighth inning.
All of this culminated Thursday afternoon as Ricky Nolasco was staked to an early 3-0 lead thanks to Hanley Ramirez’s first home run of Thursday’s 7-6 win. They barely had time to celebrate when Arizona sent 10 men to the plate in bottom of the third inning and scored six runs off of Nolasco.
Nolasco took one for the team and stayed in to pitch five innings total on the day. It was the second consecutive horrendous start for Nolasco, who lasted only an 1.1 innings against the Giants in his last start. The team staged a dramatic comeback and got Nolasco off the hook, but it would be nice to see him have a strong start before the postseason starts.