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Pennant Race Daily: Back To The Depths of The Abyss

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 Tuesday, the Dodgers kept coming back, and back, and back again. Still, it ended one of the worst heartbreak losses of the season. 

I owe you all a column. When I set out to do this little project – to document this final trek of the journey – I knew what I was undertaking. The journey would have many twists and turns; and strange heartbeats. No matter how it ends up –  I want to try to give you a view of the crazy ending through one man’s lens. I’m going to uphold my end of the bargain.

Maybe it ends up that you don’t want to remember this one at all. It’s possible that you ended up with a stomach ache, or anxiety, and if you were listening on radio at the end like I was you certainly got ‘Steiner’d’ when Max Muncy flew out to deep right field in the top of the ninth.

Things could have turned out differently on this day. Early on, the Phillies jumped out to a 1-0 lead at Coors Field. Predictably it went to shambles and the Rockies won 10-3 without so much of a whimper out of Gabe Kapler’s fading Phillies. The onus was then passed to the Dodgers to keep it a 1.5 game lead in the division. And like they have done all year, they fought.

This is not meant to be a recap – we don’t recap the losses here. It’s not good for business. But this game really tugged on the heart strings. Cody Bellinger launched his 24th home run of the season early off Matt Koch. Walker Buehler was absolutely dealing in the early going. I think if we’re all honest, we knew that one-run lead wasn’t going to hold up.

The Dodgers showed the mark of a champion in this game, at least to me. Sometimes when the hero falls tragically short; well that’s when they’re the best hero there is. Time and again late in the game and trailing 3-2, the beleaguered Austin Barnes threw his body in front of a ball that would have extended the Arizona lead to two. To me, that effort stands out; especially in a situation where the guy hasn’t hit all season and was subbed in to catch.

Los Angeles battled themselves and came back on two separate occasions. When Kiké Hernandez singled and stole second; then wound up on third base in the top of the ninth, it felt like the Dodgers were in great shape. Then Chris Taylor doubled off the base of the wall. It felt like their game to win. Somehow, they were going to steal it once again.

Then, things unraveled and Taylor was left stranded on second. You still had to feel pretty good about turning the ball over to Kenta Maeda and Kenley Jansen. If the offense could get one more crack, they were sure to find a way tonight. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Maeda went full to Eduardo Escobar, and then he hit it into a sea of fans in right field for the win. To watch a team with literally nothing to play for celebrate at home plate – after they have taken so much from the team I love – it’s almost too much to bear.

Now, even if the Dodgers win out; they’ll need a Colorado loss. Tonight basically guaranteed that things are going to get crazy, just as we really always knew. Really, it’s never seemed more clear to me that my gut in March was right.

Perhaps we have just four games left, and this ends in heartbreak and despair. It’s really hard to swallow that reality – that just four games remain with a legion of fans that have grown to feel like an extended family. And with a bunch of people who run this site who I could say the same about.

But this is baseball; it was designed to break our hearts. And maybe it will. The things I know are that the Dodgers are going to go down fighting – I’ll take my chances with that group. They have the same grit and determination that they had in the World Series last year. There is no quit in that bunch – a group that has overcome insurmountable bouts of adversity all season long.

And we will be here – win or lose and rain or shine. The show must go on. Try to enjoy these next four games and take nothing for granted. This is what it’s all about, or what it’s all supposed to be about. Los Angeles is a half game up and there’s a game to be played on Wednesday. The only thing that is guaranteed is the sun will rise – and we are in for a finish that you’ll remember forever.

[button color=”green” size=”big” alignment=”center” rel=”follow” openin=”samewindow” url=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-building-a-playoff-bullpen-one-week-later-tr0864/2018/09/25/”]Building A Playoff Bullpen Part Two[/button]

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.

One Comment

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  1. Another great essay, Clint, especially these words:
    “Perhaps . . . this ends in heartbreak and despair. It’s really hard to swallow that reality.”
    “But this is baseball; it was designed to break our hearts. And maybe it will. The things I know are that the Dodgers are going to go down fighting – I’ll take my chances with that group. They have the same grit and determination that they had in the World Series last year. There is no quit in that bunch – a group that has overcome insurmountable bouts of adversity all season long.”
    Personally, I have seen my Dodgers miss the postseason by ONE damn game too many times. I’m not sure I can stand another, especially after game 7 last year.

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