With the memory of this game more freshly situated in my mind, I'm going to try and write my thoughts of NLDS Game 4, the clinching game of the series, and an incredible roller-coaster ride of a game for Dodger fans. Having just attende...
With the memory of this game more freshly situated in my mind, I'm going to try and write my thoughts of NLDS Game 4, the clinching game of the series, and an incredible roller-coaster ride of a game for Dodger fans. Having just attended Game 3 the night before, and still riding the high of that beatdown, I was hopeful. But little did I know that this Game 4 was going to play with my emotions like a high school girlfriend on Adderall.
To start out, the couple with whom we were attending was late arriving to my house. It was only a 15-minute delay, but having suffered through some pretty bad traffic on Sunday, I was pretty stressed out. I cut through backyards and alleys en route up the hill to the Sunset Gate (luckily, the incline wasn't that bad), only to be thwarted in Lot G (not only were normal entry points closed off, but I had to park all the way over at the far end of the first-base side, which was a pain relative to our third-base side seats).
Literally sprinting down the concourse (stopping only for two Dodger Dogs and two beers), I was able to make the first pitch. (I saw the pre-game ceremony involving our father, Steve Garvey, in between sprints down the concourse; I loved the fact that Garvey said "Welcome to the final game of the NLDS!" to the crowd, which got a great roar of approval.)
Don Mattingly had opted to start Clayton Kershaw on short rest, a decision that was widely panned in the media, given Kershaw had never started on short rest before, and he was coming off a 124-pitch Game 1. Indeed, Kershaw was off his game a bit, only because he has set his own bar so high: balls were landing in the dirt five feet in front of the plate; time in-between pitches seemed extra elongated; the pace of the game seemed to slow to take a lot of bated breaths.
Complicating the factor was Adrian Gonzalez, who pulled the wrong night to stop sniffing glue (or making solid defensive plays, as he has all year). Gonzalez allowed leadoff batter Jason Heyward to reach in the first inning, and even though Kershaw got out of it, it set the tone that this wasn't going to be an easy night.
And then: Carl Crawford. His mammoth home run to right field to lead off the bottom of the first sent the place rollicking. It was if all the energy from the crowd the prior night had just been unlocked again and things were about to start rolling. My wife and our friend even made it to the seats in time to see this HR, which was great.
The guys behind me started doing the fake tomahawk chop chant, which the Dodgers opened up late in Game 3 after we went up 10-4. This was a 1-0 lead. Waaaaaaay too early, I was thinking to myself.
But the Dodgers did keep rolling that first inning. Hanley Ramirez got in a one-out single to left, prompting a clip on Diamondivision of Ken Jeong screaming "I SEE YOU!!!" (they had showed this clip on Sunday night as well, and the place erupted both times). Yasiel Puig hit a moonshot to right that Justin Upton caught on the wall, but instead it was only 1-0, though Dodger fans were feeling and acting like it was 3-0.
Crawford came up in the bottom of the third with one out and hit another solo HR (2-0, LA), immediately followed by a strange Mark Ellis double that landed just inside the right foul line. Dodger fans were feeling it, again; the tomahawk chop chant started from behind me, again. But Freddy Garcia gutted through the inning and kept the Dodgers from scoring again, so it was only 2-0.
Between innings, Nancy Bea Hefley played "Master of the House" as Diamondvision tipped its hat to Orel Hershiser, who was in the booth. Orel got a nice round of applause.
And then came the fateful bottom of the fourth. The Braves tied the game after Gonzalez made his second error of the night, turning a likely double play into a no-out, men-on-first-and-second situation. The crowd groaned when both Braves scored to tie the game at 2. And this is where Kershaw's laboring became increasingly apparent; Ke