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NLCS: Turner Slays the Cubs

An amazing ending to an intense game.

Some key takeaways:

  1. The Cubs fielding defense is phenomenal. Although we had 5 hits this game, it felt like the ball could not get past these guys.
  2. Playoff baseball in close games is awesome. I love seeing bunting calls (hence the name of my blog) in the bottom of the 8th and 9th.
  3. Starters aren’t being stretched as much. Lester only went 4.2 innings. Hill only 5. The true story of the game was the elite quality of both bullpens. The Dodgers bullpen have pitched 8 scoreless innings these two games (!).
  4. Seager isn’t playing and we’re up 2-0. What is this.

The game started off as a pitching duel where neither side could get the best of their opponent. The Dodgers had some opportunities to score in the 2nd and 3rd, but Lester pitches smart. It looked scary for us in the top of the 3rd, when a walk by Baez followed by a steal and a wild picth gave a man on 3rd base 1-out situation. Rich Hill got Jon Jay to hit into a groundout and struck out Bryant with his sick spin rate.

Yasiel Puig was Michael Jackson this game, drawing 3 walks. He got caught in the 4th though off a great tag by Baez (of course). The top of the 5th wouldn’t be so fun. Addison Russel took Rich Hill deep to make it a 1-0 game. Hill gets out of the inning after that, but now there is pressure for us to score…

Which we answer! After a leadoff double by Culberson (who’s needs Seager right?), the big legend himself Justin Turner singles to make it a tied game. Then it’s the battle of the bullpens. Carl Edwards, Pedro Strop, and Brian Duensing give 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. For us, Brandon Morrow, Josh Fields, and Jansen shut out the Cubs similarly.

We failed to score in the 8th in a man on 2nd 1-out scenario after the Cubs issued an intentional walk and successfully made the double play. Bottom of the 9th. Leadoff walk by Puig as expected. Sacrifice Bunt by Culberson to advance Puig to 2nd. 1 out. Kyle Farmer strikes out and my heart drops. 2 outs. John Lackey walks to the mound. Chris Taylor needs to be a hero. He brings it to a full-count and lays off a ball outside. Walk. Advance to the order. Justin Turner steps up and takes a ball. Lackey makes a mistake throwing his next pitch into the middle of the strikezone. The ball soars over the center field fence. The stadium erupts. It’s the 27th anniversary since Kirk Gibson walked off in the 1988 World Series. 6 more wins. How can you not be romantic about baseball? Final 4-1 Dodgers.

Justin Turner celebrates after his walk-off home run.

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