Pennant Race Daily: A Manny Machado Moment, A Playoff Spot Clinched

A moment is a memory. During a pennant race – there are lots of moments. I want you to remember them; so I’m going to write a nightly post that tells the tale of emotions of a pennant race and hopefully; a ride back to the World Series. On the season’s final Saturday, the Dodgers took a hard-won contest 10-6 over the Giants. They will be playing beyond Sunday, with their exact place still hanging in the balance.

Saturday for me was a wide-range of emotions, as I imagine it was for all of you. I spent much of the game pacing my floor in front of my television. When Kiké Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw ripped their respective big hits into the San Francisco outfield, I yelled loud enough with excitement that my daughter began yelling with me. When the Dodgers squandered golden opportunities, I clenched my teeth and tried to contain obscenities.

And in the end, the Dodgers had my back all along. The bats picked up the beleaguered pitcher in one of his worst outings since the 2017 World Series. When it was over, and the outcome was secure; I reminded myself of the things I already knew. This team was always headed to the playoffs – so why did I hang on every pitch for the last month as if it were life or death? The Dodgers did what I felt in my heart they would do all along.

At the end of what seemed like a long afternoon with bouts of frustration, I could only express gratitude.

You’re damn right I’m proud of them.

Sure, they have their imperfections and blemishes like any team you follow for five months and 162 games. However this team fought, clawed, defied, and earned everything in a year of so many twists and turns. Watching them celebrate, I felt such happiness for them. Look at this:

This is what it’s all about. And sure, tomorrow is the biggest test since the final game of the 2018 World Series. The Dodgers could end up in any number of destinations on several different days in the coming week. The season could last another month or it could be over in a matter of 72 hours.

Such is life in baseball and in a pennant race. It is cruel, and it is harsh, and it was designed to mostly break our hearts. But I know these guys are going to battle until the last out, in the face of ugliness and adversity that faces them.

My adoration for this odd but lovable bunch is almost completely cemented now. Just as I’ll never forget the 2017 Dodgers – there is no way I could ever forget the 2018 version. They brought happiness, frustration, excitement and a million other unforgettable moments to my life. A team that was anything but uninteresting or ordinary. Coupled with the fact that I’ve aged about a decade over the course of a season while telling their story right here since day one.

And now, I have all the ingredients for a team I am attached to.

More will be written, as there are chapters left to write. The most important part of the story is yet to be told. To some degree, the 2018 Dodgers delivered. They never rolled over, and they haven’t died.

Over the next 24 to 48 hours, they must battle with everything they have to reach the zenith of the mountain. That chance to make the climb excites me, even if it doesn’t relax me in the slightest.

Positively, this will go down as the day in the pennant race when Manny Machado had his signature moment as a Dodger.

I’ll take it, along with whatever tomorrow brings. I still believe in this group, warts and all.

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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