Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2021
Thursday night at Oracle Park, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally repaid the San Francisco Giants for “the shot that was heard around the world,” which happened seventy years ago. While the San Francisco Giants had the best record in baseball during the 2021 season, they are going home, and the Dodgers will advance to the NLCS.
Baseball fans might have seen the best series of 2021 postseason. A questionable checked swing ended the NLDS allowing Max Scherzer to collect his first save of his Hall-of-Fame Major League career. Most baseball-knowledgeable people thought Wilmer Flores did not go on a Max Scherzer slider. Personally, even though I am a Dodger fan, I do not believe in check swings. To me, if a batter offers at a ball unless he accidentally swings getting out of the way of the pitch, no one should have a check swing ball. Even if the Dodger season ended on a check swing, I would feel the same thing.
Although Justin Turner committed an error with one out in the ninth inning, the Dodgers committed only one error while the Giants made three errors during the NLDS. The Giants made many remarkable spectacular defensive plays, but the Dodgers used steady defense to win the NLDS.
At no time during the NLDS, the Dodger pitching staff allowed more than four runs in a game. Twice, the Dodgers scored more than five runs in a game. Unless the Giants homered, they did not win. Their offense seemed to be less dynamic than the Dodgers’. While Cody Bellinger had a forgettable 2021 season, he had two important hits, including the game-winning single in Game 5. During the NLDS, Bellinger’s offensive performance should silence the negativity on social media. Obviously, for the first time during 2021, Bellinger is healthy.
During the NLCS, many people scrutinized every pitching move that manager Dave Roberts made. While it is a part of the modern playoff scene, Roberts is on a path to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame managerial career. Yes, during Roberts’ tenure, the Dodgers have had an incredible amount of talent, but in this NLDS, he made almost every right move. Starting Corey Knebel was brilliant because the Giants could not keep their powerful left-handed hitters on their bench. Using Scherzer as a closer was a gusty but intelligent move. If Turner did not make that error, Scherzer would not have faced Flores.
For the first time in an elimination game, Mookie Betts became the first Dodger to have four hits.
Before the game, Vin Scully tweeted that Game 5 was the most important contest between the Dodgers and the Giants in their 131-year rivalry. After the NLCS between the Dodgers and the Giants, I fear the rest of the 2021 postseason will be less dramatic.