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1988 Dodgers: NLCS Game 3 vs. Mets

The Dodgers 25 years ago Tuesday lost a game and a closer, though not in that order

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Game 3 of the 1988 NLCS was delayed a day due to rain so instead of John Tudor, the Dodgers kept Orel Hershiser to pitch on three days rest against Ron Darling. So on a dark cloudy afternoon, the Dodgers and Mets played the first of possibly five straight days of baseball.

The Dodgers scored the first two runs of the game, after Keith Hernandez made an error attempting to throw out the lead runner when Mike Scioscia bunted with runners on first and second and no out in the top of the second.

The Dodgers would add another run and the Mets scored a run but they were still facing Hershiser, who took a 3-1 lead to bottom of the sixth. But then bad defense by the Dodgers led two unearned runs. With one out and a runner at first, Jeff Hamilton made a bad throw to put a runner on base. And then with two outs, consecutive singles by Gary Carter and Wally Backman tied the game at 3-3.

The Dodgers would take the lead in the top of the eighth when Randy Myers walked Mike Sharperson with the bases loaded. Myers would then get Steve Sax to ground out to end the inning.

Jay Howell came into the game for Hershiser and was set to attempt to close out the game when something unforeseen took place. Sam McManis of LA TImes wrote about the incident:

But after Howell's fifth pitch to Kevin McReynolds, who was leading off the inning, Met Manager Davey Johnson asked plate umpire Joe West to examine Howell's glove for what he believed to be a foreign substance. After a thorough examination, crew chief Harry Wendelstedt ejected Howell and delivered the glove to National League President Bart Giamatti, who was sitting near the Met dugout.

By using pine tar on his fingers to help improve his grip on the ball on the cold and rainy day, Howell was in violation of Rule 8.02 (b) in the baseball rule book, which states that the pitcher "shall not have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction . . . the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game."

After Howell's ejection three Dodger relievers imploded and allowed five runs, turning a 4-3 lead into an 8-4 deficit. David Cone who had pitched just two innings in Game 2, came in to finish up the game and the Mets took a 2-1 lead in the series.

The Dodgers two losses both came in starts by Hershiser, the best pitcher on the planet.

Up next

John Tudor makes his Dodger NLCS debut as he will attempt to even series against Dwight Gooden in Game 4.

Game 3 particulars

WP - Randy Myers (2-0): ⅓ IP, 1 walk

LP - Alejandro Pena (0-1): ⅔ IP, 1 hit, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Box score