Dodgers heading to National League Championship Series after completing sweep of Diamondbacks
The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 in game three of the National League Division Series. The Dodgers completed the sweep and are heading to the National League Championship Series for the second consecutive year.
The Dodgers got to D-Backs starter Zack Greinke early. A leadoff double by Chris Taylor, followed by a walk to Corey Seager and sacrifice fly by Turner led to an RBI groundout by rookie Cody Bellinger. All followed by a 10 pitch at-bat to Yasiel Puig forced Greinke to throw 29 pitches in the first inning.
A scoreless inning by Dodgers starter Yu Darvish brought Greinke back out for the second inning, and the Dodgers continued to make him work, five of the first nine batters worked a full count on Greinke. The Dodgers did not score but quality at-bats and a 8 pitch at-bat by Chase Utley forced Greinke to throw 25 pitches in the second which put his pitch count after two innings to 54.
The third inning was no different, a one out walk to Seager was followed by a single by Turner that allowed Seager to get to third base. A four pitch walk to Puig loaded the bases for catcher Austin Barnes, but Greinke was able to escape the jam.
After escaping a little trouble in the fourth and what looked to be a quick 1-2-3 fifth inning for Greinke suddenly changed with one swing. A solo shot by the struggling Bellinger extended the Dodgers lead to 2-0.
The D-backs responded with a homer of their own, a solo shot by Daniel Descalso made it a 2-1 game. Darvish limited the damage to the lone run after a spectacular inning ending catch by Bellinger as he caught it falling over the dugout railing.
However the Dodgers got the run right back, a lead off home run by Barnes made it a 3-2 game. The homer knocked Greinke out of the game with a final line of 5+ IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 2 HR and 105 pitches. The D-backs replaced Greinke with LHP Jorge De La Rosa. Pinch hitter Kiké Hernández greeted De La Rosa with a double to right-center. A ground out by Utley advanced Hernández to third base. Following Utley's ground out Arizona replaced De La Rosa with RHP David Hernandez. Hernandez was able to escape the jam by getting Darvish to ground out and striking out Taylor.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Darvish hit Christian Walker on the brim of his helmet, in what was a scary moment, luckily Walker was okay. Following the HBP, Darvish's day was done after 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks. Darvish was pulled for LHP Tony Cingrani who got David Peralta to ground into a double play. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Cingrani after getting his job done and retiring the left-handed hitter, in came RHP Brandon Morrow, who got Ketel Marte to ground out to end the sixth inning.
The D-backs sent Archie Bradley to the mound in the seventh, after retiring Seager and Turner, Bradley walked Bellinger and Puig struck out Barnes to strand the baserunners.
A quick 1-2-3 inning by Morrow in the bottom half of the seventh was followed by a 1-2-3 inning of his own by Bradley.
The Dodgers sent RHP Kenta Maeda into the game for the eighth inning. Maeda who was a starter for the majority of the 2017 season, has taken on a relief role for the postseason. Much like his performance in the Dodgers game two win, Maeda was impressive again. A quick 1-2-3 inning by Maeda put the Dodgers three outs away from a trip to the NLCS for the second consecutive year.
A two out bloop by Bellinger led to Turner being thrown out at the plate after the left-fielder Peralta dropped a diving catch, but made a remarkable throw to nail Turner at the plate, and end the top half of the ninth.
In came Kenley Jansen, looking to end the series, the Dodgers closer started the inning off by striking out Grégor Blanco. The K was followed by a Peralta base hit just out of the reach of Turner. Jansen got Marte to ground out and up came Paul Goldschmit. The potential NL MVP against the reigning NL relief pitcher of the year. A battle for the ages led to a 2-2 count and Jansen struck him out on a cutter away. Ending the D-backs season and sending the Dodgers to the National League Championship Series for the third time in the last five years.
Then the celebration began, the Dodgers stormed into the clubhouse where the champagne was waiting on ice. Before the bottles were popped, Dave Roberts had a message for the team "from the beginning of spring training, we said we knew we were the best team in all of baseball, we proved it this series. Lets celebrate, enjoy it" said Roberts. and celebrate they did.
Game one of the NLCS will take place on Saturday, October 14th at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers will host the winner of the Cubs vs Nationals series in which the Cubs currently lead 2-1 after a win on Monday.