Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020
Wednesday, after a rocky ninth by inning by Kenley Jansen and Joe Kelly, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 6-to-5. The Dodgers took a two-game lead in the NLDS.
This win belonged to Cody Bellinger, who had postseason problems in the past. Wednesday his performance should erase his previous failures. In the seventh inning, Bellinger stole a potentially game-tying home run away from Fernando Tatis, Jr. Earlier in the game, Bellinger hit a changeup for a solo home run. Bellinger’s home run was the only homer for the Dodgers in the NLDS though they had the most home runs in the Major Leagues.
While Clayton Kershaw did not perform as well as he did last Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers, he did his job this Wednesday night. He had a quality start. Although he allowed two homers to Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer, Kershaw had great control. He did everything that the Dodgers could have asked from Kershaw.
Corey Seager and Max Muncy contributed to the final score. Throughout the 2020 season, Seager has hit the ball hard and produced runs for the Dodgers whenever his team needed. Wednesday, he had a 2-RBI double.
The 2020 season has been a struggle for Muncy. At first of the summer camp, his ring finger was broken. Having a broken ring finger weakened his dominant hand. While Muncy’s batting average and slugging percentage, he still takes walks and works pitch counts, which exhausted pitchers quickly. Wednesday, Muncy had an important double.
Throughout the playoffs, the Dodger bullpen has performed well. Aside from Kenley Jansen, the Dodger relievers have done fantastically. Although Joe Kelly had control problems Wednesday as he retired the last out, he had not pitched much during the 2020 season. A pitcher who does not pitch regularly usually has control problems.
Clearly, Jansen has not needed to be a closer. Throughout the 2020 season, he has had a drastic decrease in velocity. During the first month of the 2020 season, Jansen was a fantastic closer, and since then, he has lost control of his cutter. Currently, he cannot control any of his pitches. The Dodgers might use Jansen earlier in the games.
The Dodgers have options for their closer. For the first time during the Dodgers’ streak of 8 straight playoff appearances, they need another closer than Jansen. Both Blake Treinen and Kelly have had the experience of a closer. Treinen would be a better closer than Kelly.
Brusdar Graterol was a right-handed flamethrower. Therefore, he would be a logical choice of closer. However, Graterol is 22 years old, so the Dodgers have questions if Graterol has the maturity to handle the enormous pressure associated with closing out victories, particularly in the playoffs. Graterol has handled the pressure of the playoffs.
Wednesday, October 7, 2020