The Dodgers defeated the Giants 9-2, tying the series at one game a piece. Here are my three biggest takeaways from last night’s victory.
You know the old fashioned saying, “Defense wins championships.”
We saw it last year with the Dodgers on their World Series run and it was on full display last night, as the Dodgers made numerous highlight plays in their victory.
We’ll start with the biggest play, coming from no other than Mookie Betts. During the postseason run in 2020, Betts made a number of crazy highlight plays in right field. On Saturday night he added to his defensive resume.
With two outs in the sixth inning, Brandon Crawford singled to right field, bringing in a run to make it a 6-2 game. Betts picked up the ball, spun and gunned it to third base on the fly, nabbing Wilmer Flores for the third out of the inning. Had Betts not made that play, the Giants would have had runners on the corners with two outs, and who knows what happens the rest of the inning.
You wouldn’t know it by watching him last night, but Trea Turner isn’t a natural second baseman. That didn’t stop him from making some incredible plays. With runners on first and second and one out in the sixth inning, Turner prevented a run from scoring with a diving play up the middle. Not only did he prevent a run but he got an out at second base as well.
Turner had another fantastic play in the seventh inning, as he saved a leadoff base hit.
The Dodgers have had games this season where their defense has been insanely sloppy, so it was great seeing the defense shine last night.
Offense is back!
It’s hard not to get too excited after watching the offense score nine runs on 11 hits, but boy was it great to see. After scoring only three runs in their first two postseason games, the offense exploded last night.
Nearly everyone in the lineup contributed, as Justin Turner was the only starter who didn’t record a hit. Yup, Julio Urias recorded one too!
Yes, it was great seeing the offense score a lot of runs, but it was even better seeing contribution from players who desperately needed it, including Cody Bellinger and AJ Pollock.
Bellinger helped break the game open in the sixth inning with a two-run double. Pollock followed with a double of his own, giving LA a five-run lead. If the Dodgers can get contributions from both those players moving forward, this offense will be in great shape.
Pitching continues to be amazing
Through the first three postseason games, the Dodgers’ pitching staff has allowed only seven runs. Even though Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler didn’t have their best stuff, they still gave the Dodgers solid outings. Julio Urias had the best start among the three, as he allowed one run in five innings with five strikeouts.
“You look at the five innings, I thought that those guys grinded at-bats,” Dave Roberts said following the game. “It was sort of a stressful kind of work-intensive outing for Julio and you got to kind of disregard the pitch count. So I felt he did his job for the night, and giving it to the pen who did a fantastic job.
“But I think it’s growth and experience where Julio’s really done a good job of kind of focusing his energy into just making pitches.”
Urias continues to show that he’s one of the best postseason pitchers in all of baseball.
Julio Urías picked up his 7th postseason win, tying Madison Bumgarner for the most by a pitcher age 25 or younger in postseason history. pic.twitter.com/AORJsDnGCI— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 10, 2021
After Urias, the bullpen tossed four solid innings. Things got a little interesting in the sixth inning, but Joe Kelly was able to escape with limited damage. They combined to throw four innings and allowed three hits.
Through the first three games this postseason, the bullpen has combined to do a great job.