The Dodgers lost the World Series.
(long sigh of relief that I have repeated every waking hour since November 1)
The Dodgers lost the World Series, which means it is my happy duty to show you some highlights of the Astros being better at baseball than the Dodgers. I did it last year, I did it the year before (link omitted because MLB Advanced Media made all the embedded videos unplayable just for funsies), and hopefully every Dodgers playoff appearance will end with one of these articles.
Even more hopefully than that, the Dodgers won’t have any more playoff appearances ever again, but now I’m just getting silly. Onto the highlights!
Game 2, Marwin Gonzalez’s homer
Game 1 of the World Series was a short, tight affair, with the Dodgers winning 3-1 in two and a half hours. Clayton Kershaw had a great start, Chris Taylor and Justin Turner homered, and Kenley Jansen closed it down with a three up, three down ninth inning. It was the blueprint for how the Dodgers would win the series, and it was hard to see the Astros winning a game like that.
So when Game 2 rolled along and the Dodgers took a 3-1 lead, and got into their bullpen early in order to shut down the Astros, and spent several innings mostly shutting down the Astros, it looked like history would repeat itself. Houston was able to get a run back in the 8th off a Bregman double and a Correa single, but Jansen was in, and as Giants fans, we’ve been watching Kenley Jansen spend years making every team he faced look like the 2017 Giants. Even with the deficit just at one run, there was no reason to hope.
And then, Marwin Gonzalez. Up until that point, Gonzalez — on the heels of a breakout 2017 regular season — had had a miserable postseason, but that didn’t matter. Jansen had cemented his reputation as possibly the best reliever in baseball, but that didn’t matter. The ball didn’t even look that impressive off the bat, but that didn’t matter. it kept sailing into the hot Los Angeles night, and it went over the fence, and it tied the game, and tens of thousands of Dodger fans in the stands were willing it to not be so, but guess what? That didn’t matter. It was beautiful.
Game 2, Chris Devenski finally striking out Yasiel Puig
Game 2 only got crazier from there, of course, as the Astros hit back to back homers in the top of the 10th, the Dodgers countered with two runs in the bottom of the 10th, the Astros got a two run George Springer homer in the top of the 11th, and Charlie Culberson hit a solo shot in the bottom of the 11th to pull the Dodgers back within one. It seemed like a game that could go on forever, or until the Astros ran out of decent relievers, which technically happened before the series even started, but that’s nitpicking.
After Culberson homered, there was this sense that, oh man, here we go again. Yasiel Puig was up, and Puig had been a hitting machine for the first two rounds of the playoffs. After Devenski quickly got to an 0-2 count on him, Puig ecksteined the heck out of the at bat, taking three straight balls, fouling off the two pitches after that, and generally making the more Astros-inclined among us certain that doom was imminent. Instead, Devenski threw a nasty off speed pitch below the zone, Puig swung and missed, and we could all finally exhale.
This is where I would put multiple videos of Yuli Gurriel homering, including a homer in Game 5 off Clayton Kershaw that was a huge moment in the game and series that kicked off an incredibly memorable series of swings both emotional and literal, if his success in this series had made me happy
I know that you, the 2017 reader, are aware of why he’s omitted, but this part is here to inform the future generations who will undoubtedly pore over every word of this article that no, I didn’t forget, he just did a Bad Thing that made me unable to take joy in his success, even against the Dodgers.
Game 5, Jose Altuve homering against Kenta Maeda
After Gurriel tied the game in the bottom of the 4th, the Dodgers immediately retook the lead on a 3 run Cody Bellinger homer in the top of the 5th. It seemed to be a momentum killing blow, and with Kershaw on the mound, even having just given up the lead, the narrative was writing itself. “World Series MVP Clayton Kershaw had a rough 4th inning in Game 5, but when it came time for him to prove what he was made of ...”
Kershaw started the inning off by retiring Marwin Gonzalez and Brian McCann, but then consecutive walks to George Springer and Alex Bregman meant Dave Roberts thought he had no choice but to pull him. In came Kenta Maeda to face Jose Altuve, and on the seventh pitch of the at bat, Altuve launched a fastball way out into left-center field to tie the game again. Instead of Kershaw The Hero, he was Kershaw Who Couldn’t Quite Tame A Live Yard And An Incredibly Live Ball. The last run went on Maeda’s record, of course, but the two before that were charged to Clayton Kershaw, giving him six earned runs on the night.
Madison Bumgarner gave up six earned runs in 52.2 innings in the 2014 postseason, by the way. Just throwing that out there.
Game 5, Brandon Morrow’s Six Very Bad Pitches
It is not Brandon Morrow’s fault that he pitched a Game 5 that he absolutely should not have been pitching, and so I almost feel bad about his outing. Then I take a moment to remember Dustin Hermanson and Jim Brower being ground down into a fine paste at the end of 2004, handing the Dodgers the division through no fault of their own because they were so overworked, and I absolutely don’t feel bad at all.
Brandon Morrow came into Game 5 of the World Series with a 1.46 ERA through four appearances in the series. He had been a dominant force out of the bullpen for Los Angeles, though at no point in the season had he appeared in three straight games. Game 5 was his third straight game. It showed.
The Dodgers had just taken a one run lead on a Cody Bellinger triple that would have been a single if George Springer had just played back and not tried to be a hero and dive for it. Don’t try to be a hero, George Springer.
Okay, SOMETIMES you can try to be a hero, George Springer.
Alex Bregman singled up the middle on the very next pitch, and after a first pitch strike to Jose Altuve — the only pitch Morrow would throw in this game with any kind of a positive result — Altuve doubled Bregman in, giving the Astros a 9-8 lead. Then Carlos Correa was up, and the first pitch to him was in the dirt, a wild pitch that allowed Altuve to advance to third. This was the second most positive result of any pitch Morrow would throw in this game. Then he threw the next one.
It is safe to say that that are a lot of ballparks that would have held that ball in. It is also safe to say, “Hahahahahaha Dodgers.” These are both safe and right and good things to say. Feel free to say either of them as much as you would like.
Game 5, Bregman’s walk-off single
After the bottom of the 7th, there were more ups and downs for the Astros. The Dodgers got a run, the Astros got it back, then the Dodgers scored three to tie it with two outs in the ninth, then the Astros somehow pitched a scoreless tenth, then Kenley Jansen was still in so mostly us anti-Dodgerites had to hope the Houston bullpen could also pitch a scoreless 11th and then maybe there’d be some hope.
Instead, Jansen started to look human-ish. After getting the first two outs without any issues, he hit Brian McCann with a pitch, and then walked George Springer, bringing up Bregman with runners on first and second. The Astros pinch ran for McCann, who is very slow, with Derek Fisher, who is not. Bregman lined a solid single into left, Fisher scored easily ahead of Andre Ethier’s throw, and the Astros had won this impossibly long, impossibly impossible game. If you want more about this game, go reread Grant’s recap of it, which is fantastic.
Game 7, Charlie Morton slowly strangling the life out of Los Angeles
The Astros took an early 5-0 lead in Game 7, with George Springer providing the big blow, a two-run homer off Yu Darvish. After that, the game was almost dull. Lance McCullers had great stuff for his two innings but was erratic enough that he didn’t last long, Brad Peacock pitched well for a couple of innings, Houston briefly went to another couple pitchers for an out each, and then Charlie Morton came in.
There is a comprehensive Charlie Morton Game 7 highlights package. It is here:
In the end, the Astros won and the Dodgers lost, and it was wonderful and lovely, especially that second part. For the 29th straight season, the Dodgers didn’t win the World Series, and so we get to put off telling our 1988 jokes about the rabbits for at least another year. We may not have had much this season, but at least we have that.