The Minnesota Twins was swept out of the playoffs today and have not won a game since October 5, 2004 and have not won a playoff series since they beat Oakland 3 games to 2 before meeting up with Adam Kennedy and the Angels in the 2002 ALCS.
The Dodgers did not lose 12 playoff games in a row but they had been swept out in the first two years of the Wild Card era (1995-96) and thus had not won a post-season game since Game 5 of the 1988 World Series. The 2004 trip did not start well either, losing Games 1 and 2 in St. Louis before coming home to play Game 3.
The starter for the third game for the Dodgers was a pitcher who had started the year in the bullpen and then made some spot starts until he was moved into the rotation in June. Jose Lima had been a 21 game winner and an All-Star in Houston but he had struggled for the last few seasons prior to 2004 and was certainly not expected to be a large contributor when he first joined the team.
Steve Finley's two run double and Shawn Green's two solo shots would provide the offense that night but the story was Jose Lima whose shut out remains the best post-season startDiamondbacks vs Dodgers recap by any Dodger starter since Orel shut out the A's in Game 2 of the 1988 World Series. A fan favorite in 2004, Lima captivated that crowd and for one night had Dodger Stadium in the palm of his hand. Lima shut down Larry Walker, Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen that night and was throwing strikes (74/109 pitches).
The crowd, by all reports, was in the game from the first pitch to the last, and for at least one night, Jose Lima joined legends like Koufax, Drysdale, Sutton, John, Valenzuela and Hershiser.
The Dodgers themselves would be out of the playoffs the next day and would not win another playoff game until James Loney hit a grand slam in Chicago in 2008.
But Lima Time will always a special place for those who were there and those who watched, he made being a Dodger fan fun during their quest to regain post-season glory.
A personal aside, I did not get the chance to watch this game though I heard a few innings of it on a MTA bus to the Hollywood Bowl with my girlfriend at that time. So any impressions of that game outside of the few innings I heard, were gained from reading the game stories and talking to fans who went to that game. This will probably be only game on this list that I don't have a lot of personal recollection of my immediate reaction but I thought it belonged there not only because of Lima's great performance but because it was the only post-season win during a span of 20 years of not winning a post-season series.