Posted on October 21, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
For the second consecutive season, the Los Angeles Dodgers are your National League champions. After a crazy, competitive, and at times contemptuous series with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Dodgers won Saturday’s Game 7 by a score of 5-1. The Dodgers will now prepare to face the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. They will no doubt be looking for some redemption after losing last year’s Fall Classic to the Houston Astros.
In a decisive Game 7, the Dodgers scored all five runs on a pair of home runs. Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the 2nd inning to put the Dodgers ahead. Yasiel Puig added a three-run home run in the 6th inning to ensure the Dodgers stayed ahead. Meanwhile, rookie Walker Buehler atoned for the loss he took in Game 3. He gave up just one run while striking out seven over 4.2 innings. Four different Dodgers relievers took it from there, including ace Clayton Kershaw who came out of the bullpen to get the final three outs.
“We found a way to get it done again,” an excited Justin Turner said after the game “You saw big swings from two guys (Bellinger and Puig) that didn’t have the success this year they wanted. Walker Buehler gave us almost five innings, Ryan Madson is the unsung hero of the entire postseason and our bullpen was outstanding in a series when their bullpen got a lot of the press, a lot of attention. Our guys stepped up and got it done.”
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The phrase “get it done” seems like a fitting one for the Dodgers this season. Their season wasn’t easy by any stretch. It also didn’t follow the script of a team favored to win the National League at the start of the season. In the middle of May, the Dodgers were 10 games under .500. Every member of their starting rotation spent time on the DL, usually multiple starters at one time. Even with the midseason acquisition of Manny Machado, nothing came easy.
The Dodgers spent most of the season looking up in the standings. There were times as recently as August when they looked dead in the water as they sat in third or even fourth place in the NL West. But the Dodgers got healthy and got hot just in time. They won 13 of their final 17 games in September, knocked off the Rockies in Game 163 to win the NL West, and kept rolling into the playoffs. The Dodgers now have a chance to win their first world championship since 1988.
“All the heavy punches we took all season about the bullpen, including myself, and here we are celebrating,” said close Kenley Jansen, who was able to return from an irregular heartbeat late in the season. “We win another National League championship and we’re going to the World Series. It was harder from the start and feels so much sweeter than last year.”
The task, of course, will be monumental. The Dodgers are already underdogs against a Boston Red Sox team that was the best in baseball from start to finish during the regular season. They are also 7-2 during the postseason, including a perfect 5-0 on the road. But the Dodgers have overcome a lot to reach this point in the season, so they’re not about to shy away from one more big obstacle in their way.
“Every single person in this room has their fingerprints on this season,” said manager Dave Roberts. “We haven’t accomplished our goal yet. Four more wins. Let’s go.”