Pennant Race Daily: Conquering Madison Bumgarner One Final Time

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 Friday, the Dodgers did their part to extend their hopes, and ours. Los Angeles defeated San Francisco and Madison Bumgarner 3-1 in a pressure cooker. 

Kiké Hernandez. Justin Turner. Hyun-Jin Ryu. Pedro Baez. And even Kenley Jansen. These are the standout names in a tight rivalry game that was never going to be an easy out. Madison Bumgarner had his start pushed back to face the Dodgers – and waiting for him at the receiving end of his request was a team with a lot of fire and desire left within them.

The Giants took an early 1-0 lead with a Nick Hundley home run – and sure some feelings of dread set in. The darkness of that San Francisco ballpark lets you know that it’s only going to allow so many runs in an evening. The Rockies again won their game handily. So the Dodgers were faced with a back-to-the-wall situation in a hurry on Friday night.

In a manner that should only make you proud, they responded defiantly and directly. Manny Machado ripped a game-tying single to score Kiké Hernandez – and how about his three knocks off Bumgarner. Hernandez set the tone in this game from the lead-off spot. He let the Giants and Bumgarner know from the first moment of the game the Dodgers weren’t about to be intimidated or pushed around.

And then, with the game tied; Justin Turner was nothing but guts and determination. The stoic leader in the Dodgers clubhouse – playing with a banged up thumb – made sure the night would belong to his club. Madison Bumgarner made a fatal 90 mile per hour mistake down the middle of the plate.

Still, there were some shaky moments to follow.

Pedro Baez answered the bell again – recording two huge strikeouts in a pressure spot after Scott Alexander walked the lone lefty he faced. I cannot think of a better way to describe Baez’s recent performance other than inspiring. The man has been through a lifetime of up’s and down’s as a Dodger, only to be a truly dominant reliever down the stretch for the ball club.

Ryu of course; was Ryu. One mistake in six innings of work – lowering his ERA to 1.97 on the year – and showing the world that he’s one of baseball’s best starters at the present.

When Kenley Jansen entered in the ninth, the excitement howled on social media from the Dodger faithful. Jansen would make it just interesting enough that we had to stay invested. The dust settled, and the Dodger remained a game out of first with two to play. A dragon in Madison Bumgarner, had been slayed; perhaps for the final time.

It was an ugly win, the type of game that could only be a product of AT&T Park. Sloggy, slow paced, and tight from beginning to end. But the Dodgers survived. With two days left – having climbed out of their own grave several dozen times – maybe that is the mark of this team. Survivors.

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  1. Another good article, Clint, giving credit to all the key players. Let’s hope this game was the final time Dodger fans have to look at or listen to this arrogant “bum” on their archenemy team.