The Dodgers Advance the NLCS

Thursday, October 8, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020

A 5-run third inning sealed a sweep of the San Diego Padres to advance to the NLCS. The Los Angeles Dodgers will play the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. The final score was 12-to-3.

Dustin May started the game for the Dodgers. May retired three Padres in the first inning, but obviously, he could not control his two-seam fastball. Manager Dave Roberts understood he had bullpen depth. Although Adam Koralek did not perform well during the second inning, which the Padres scored two runs, Julio Urias, who pitched 5 innings, was brilliant. Blake Treinen, Pedro Báez, and Dylan Floro breezed through the rest of the game.

During the NLDS, the Dodgers did not commit an error. Cody Bellinger’s spectacular home run-robbing catch helped to turn the tide in the series toward the Dodger way. The Padres’ defense was shotty. Their defense lapses gave the Dodgers more scoring opportunities and made their weary pitching staff. While most baseball fans and the media ignore the importance of defense, no team can win a world championship without stellar defense.

Will Smith had the greatest postseason game in history. Before Thursday, Smith, a 25-year catcher, had no hits during the 2020 postseason. Thursday, he became the first Dodger and youngest Major Leaguer in history to have five hits in a playoff game. He had a crucial 2-run double.

Although the Dodgers led the Major Leagues in home runs during the 2020 season, Cody Bellinger’s solo home run on Wednesday was the only Dodger homer in the NLDS. The Dodgers took walks, linked hits together, ran the bases wisely, and took advantage of the Padres’ fielding miscues to score. At no time during the NLDS, the Dodgers seemed panicked partly since they trailed only three innings during the series.

While the Padres were a great young team, they lacked the experience to compete with the Dodgers in a high-pressured environment. Coming into the NLDS, the Padres were a sincere disadvantage after they battled the Saint Louis Cardinals during the National League Wild Card series, where they exhausted their relief pitchers. In the first game of the NLDS, their starting ace Mike Clevinger pitched only one inning before leaving the game with another elbow injury. The already-taxed Padre bullpen could not survive against the deep Dodger lineup. Besides Fernando Tatis, Jr., and Manny Machado, the rest of the lineup did not have the needed offensive skills.

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