Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
Both AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor wanted to send the Dodgers to Atlanta. After Joe Kelly, who started Thursday’s game, allowed a two-run homer to Freddy Freeman and must come out after pitching 2/3 of an inning with right biceps tightness, the Dodgers looked dead in the NLCS. However, the rest of the Dodger bullpen performed brilliantly, and Taylor blasted three home runs and Pollock blasted two home runs.
A day after the Dodgers lost Justin Turner to a severe hamstring pull, things looked bleak for the Dodgers. Whereas the Dodgers had to have a bullpen game since they don’t have an established fourth starter with Clayton Kershaw’s injury, the Atlanta Braves had their ace Max Fried. The Braves have had a potent offense during the NLCS, and the Dodgers’ offensive production have been anemic.
Fried could not put away the Dodgers, thirteen of the Dodgers’ seventeen hits came with two strikes. His curveball did not possess the sharp break and his control was not as good as it was Saturday, and the Dodgers took advantage.
Albert Pujols had two hits and a walk while playing flawless first base. AJ Pollock, coming off his best regular season as a Dodger, got his team on the score board. Cody Bellinger, playing center field, had three hits.
The Dodgers used seven relievers. Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol were the stand outs when they pitched more than an inning.
Even though Taylor earned a co-MVP in the 2017 NLCS, not many baseball fans know Taylor, but hopefully, every baseball fan will know who Taylor is now. Before the season, the Dodgers thought Taylor would be their super utility player, but injuries forced the Dodgers to play him every day. For the first time during his Major-League career, Taylor was an All-Star. Despite battling a neck injury in the second half, he earned the Roy Campanella Award given to the most inspirational Dodger. Now, he must play third base with Justin Turner out for the remainder of the season, and third base is not Taylor’s best position. Undoubtedly, without his contributions during Game 5 in the NLCS, the Dodgers would have a more difficult time earning an important victory.