Hindsight is 20/20, they say. And it looks like that maxim is to be believed when it comes to the Dodgers, D-Backs series. As we all know by now, the Dodgers have won the West – and decisively so – with a 3 to 0 series win. They swept the Diamondbacks as a team, truly, and are now moving on to the National League Championship Series.
But what did it take for the Dodgers to accomplish this feat? Why did this happen to them and not me? All the good stuff always happens to everyone else and not me! I wanted to win the NLDS! (Sobbing heard in background.)
Now that we’ve gotten the tears off our keyboard, let’s talk about a few things that the Dodgers did during this series that led them to taking home their NLDS crown and sent the D-Backs packing.
- The Art of the Big Bat
Two of the three Dodger wins this series had everything to do with someone quite literally stepping up to the plate. Justin Turner was the first one to make his presence known in this series with his performance in Game 1. This salty dog hits a 3 run jack and ended up driving in 5 runs on the day. Those 5 RBIs alone were enough to tie the Diamondback’s 5 runs that they would end up with for the day so, when Turner’s teammates knocked in 4 more runs throughout the game, that turns into a decisive victory.
And what Turner started, Bellinger finished in Game 3. Bellinger had been a little cold in the first two games of the series but who wouldn’t be a bit nervous going into the first playoff series so young? (And small sample size, people.) But, no matter what the case was, he came to Game 3 and made his statement. He made up for those woes, though, woah, driving in a couple of RBIs via an RBI groundout and a solo homer. Those two runs would have been enough to beat the Snakes alone but the Blue Crew did score another one to help Bellinger out.
- Starting Pitch Your Face Off
Ladies and gentlemen, it appears that the only tarnish that Kershaw has had on his career is seemingly cleaning up. Yes, yes, we all know about how Kershaw’s first postseason starts were not exactly the results that everyone was coming to expect out of the guy. But, give him a break, he sets such a high bar. And, it would appear that Clayton is growing his postseason legs. This most recent start of his wasn’t a walk in the park but he did plenty to keep his team. While he did labor, he kept the opposing team to just two runs over more than six innings so that counts for a quality start, folks.
But the real difference maker here is Yu Darvish. When the Dodgers picked him up during the middle of this season, it was obvious that this was going to change the Dodgers already great postseason outlook. Being able to use Kershaw and Darvish in one series makes for an easy road to some playoff series wins. And, well, things pretty much paid off how the Dodgers would hope for. Kershaw picked up his win and Darvish did the same with an even smaller margin for error. That’s dividends paying off, people, and it helps the Dodgers win this series.
- Dressing for Success
Here’s an underlying factor that we are seeing a lot of analysts ignore and, frankly, it makes us sick to our stomachs. You mean to tell us that these people have committed their entire lives to figuring out the ins and outs of baseball and they can’t even see how the uniforms of these two teams are affecting their play?! Look, it is absolutely 100% true about what they say concerning “Look good, play good.” And the Diamondbacks…Well, they’ve just got some questionable fashion sense to be frank. Teal and maroon? What’s up with that? And those strange fade patterns on their jerseys and pants? Nuhhuh, aint working. Meanwhile, the Dodgers return every year with the same unis and same great play. Why? Because it works. No reinventing the wheel there. Just plain, great uniforms and perfectly fine baseball performances.
So that’s that. That’s how the West was won. Hitting, pitching, and fashion sense. (Never mind defense.) We all know it’s true when it comes to the game of baseball and these timeless characteristics of playing the game. This stuff just can’t be spoken against and we all love the game for it. So, in the next few coming series, watch for these three key factors in the teams that win – and the ones that don’t.