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Dodgers vs Nationals 2019 NLDS: It Comes Down to This

Win or go home… and I’m not ready to go home yet.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 02: Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chris Taylor (3) scores to tie the game on a walk in the ninth inning during a MLB game between the Arizona Diamondback and the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 2, 2019 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Well, the feeling is back. The butterflies that have accompanied Dodger fans’ stomachs for the past 7 Octobers have returned. There was certainly a flutter in Game 2 and again early in Game 3, but after Washington’s 4-run 5th and then another blown bases-loaded opportunity in the 7th for the Dodgers yesterday, those butterflies feel more like a migrating flock of vultures in there now.

It’s not the lack of faith we have in the Dodgers, its fear of heartbreak. As fans we’ve been dedicated and invested in this “relationship” with the Dodgers for the past 6 ½ months. We celebrated the good, endured the bad, and still loved them despite the ugly. Some days we were stood up, others they just showed up late and rewarded us with surreal walk-off wins.

Likewise though, the Dodgers have been patient with us fans as we’ve cast our dramatics at them day in and day out. They’ve looked beyond the armchair managing and the relentless “booing” of our struggling players and treated us to a 106-win season. They responded to the 7th inning fan departures, by only allowing us to witness 22 home losses. Through it all they never publicly bashed us, instead we were affectionately referred to as “passionate” and “the best fans in baseball”.

In trying to pin point why there is this fear of a, a sort of heartbreak, I’ve realized to some degree, that’s what it is. It’s a love. Not like that of a relative and no it wouldn’t be the same kind of heartbreak as losing them, but it is a kind of love. We’re all attached to the Dodgers for some reason and whether its the people we share the games with, the city, or the game itself we love this team.  Through thick and thin, good and bad, the pretty and the pretty ugly we love this team, and they love us.

Yes, if it all falls apart, the team is back next year, but it’s a new relationship and a new journey. To end things now is like ending your cross-country road trip with 3 fighting children and a dog in the back seat, 10 miles from Disney World.

Crushing.

Tomorrow the Dodgers will play a win or go home Game 5 to determine who advances to the NLCS Series. They are going to have face the likes of Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, and I’m sure another surprise in there. The Nationals will have their hands full as well, as they’ll be squaring off against the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler, and likely Clayton Kershaw.

For the Dodgers to be successful they’re going to need to field their best line-up, not necessarily their most left-handed orientated one. They need to be disciplined and make the already-heavily-used Strasburg keep it in the zone. Fewer strike outs, more walks and more contact. With the pitchers they’re going to face, they may need to call upon their seldom used small ball tactics and manufacture some runs if they can’t get anything together conventionally by the 3rd inning or so. Obviously, this is not a foreign moment for Buehler, but its still high pressure and we need his dominance and frankly, his swagger out there.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day the fans want to know the Dodgers left it all on the field. If we are to be heartbroken, it must be because they got beat by a better team, not because Dave Roberts got cute with the line up or players are swinging to be the hero.

Let Buehler dominate, make the insane defensive plays behind him when one does get hit well, and move the runners at all costs even if it’s taking one for the team the way Chase taught you.

Fellow fans, be loud. Be louder if they are down. After all, when those we love are down, we lift them up.

Let’s go Dodgers.

Written by Jason McClure

Technically a Dodgers bandwagon fan. At 5 years old, I decided they were my favorite team after hearing they won the World Series on my mom’s car radio in 1988. My father (technically my stepfather) watered that seed, teaching me the game and introducing me to the beauty of Dodger Stadium. We got to know each other and bonded over games. Even when we couldn’t get along during my teenage years, we could come together over Vin Scully’s voice and a game. Dodger baseball is, and will always be, so much more than just a game.

6 Comments

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  1. Our fans are lame they won’t lift them up when they’re down they will get quiet and nervous the rest of the game it’s just how it’s been here in the playoffs lately

  2. We have reason to be nervous. We never know what moves our team will make. Even if a pitcher is doing well, he is replaced. Hot hitters suddenly out of the lineup. Can you blame us?

    • Rays fans don’t even show up during the season and have the worst attendance in history yet they provide a better atmosphere and support than LA. Inexcusable

  3. I really enjoyed watching the kids come up and do well this year in the regular season. If Only Will Smith could get a huge hit, or May could shut them down, or Beaty could win the game. It would justify the deep pocket financial group’s decision to not add any help to our weak areas at the deadline. To win, we are going to need some help from the rookies that were brought in by management instead of polished players. This team will have to win in spite of Roberts. It can happen, so let us pray.

  4. “This team will have to win in spite of Roberts.” Correct, Kirk.

    “It can happen, so let us pray.” Pray to whom? God is too busy trying to save this messed up world.

  5. Either Kershaw should retire or Roberts should the combination is a losing one watching them both throw game 5 away
    A fan of over 30 years & so very tired of seeing someone who WAS great & isn’t anymore but doesn’t know when to stop

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