Do Or Die

It was a familiar situation.  The Dodgers had to win this game or postseason would already be over.   We were all nervous, apprehensive but hopeful because it was announced that Clayton Kershaw would pitch.

The game started at 2:00 so we were ready for a hot day but were pleasantly surprised when the weather went our way and it was in the 70’s.

The guys were out there shagging balls.
They came back into the clubhouse to meet once again before the game started.  It was an important game.  No one wanted to end it here.




Carlos Ruiz and Steve Yaeger


Ross Stripling


Kenta was being interviewed by the Japanese contingency as usual

Wonderful Andre stopped to sign autographs as he always does.

Then he stopped to talk to us and gave us fist bumps and hand shakes

Charlie’s charming parents 

Couldn’t resist a selfie with his mom.  I told her that Charlie was one of the nicest Dodgers ever.  She said that made her cry knowing that.  What a wonderful person she is.

I went to the club to eat before it got too crowded.  The penne pasta with braised pork was delicious.  The slow roasted turkey breast was amazing.  I couldn’t get enough of the grilled casino steak.  The salads included young arugula salad, couscous salad and heirloom carrot and gala apple salad.  

I hurried back to the field.  We fans were excited, apprehensive, hoping for a win.

We had all been following the Dodgers through thick and thin and here we were in post season hoping to win it all.

Our wonderful ushers are always our cheerleaders.  We are all like family.  We’ve lived the season together.  We live and breathe Dodgers for 6 months.
And this could be our final moment together this season.  Our hopes were on this game.  Doc turned to Clayton Kershaw, our ace who is the best pitcher in all of baseball.  He had been out a large part of the season with a back problem but still came back strong and always smart.

He crossed the field deep in thought.  You could tell he was focused.
And he went through his routine stretching and throwing.
The weight of past post seasons must have felt very heavy on his shoulders.  He had won game one even not having his best stuff and here he was in game four with the responsibility of getting us to game five.
Yasmani came out next.  Hopefully he and Clayton would be in synch this time around.  

I know that Clayton was missing his best friend AJ who was his usual backstop.  But Clayton is a professional and will be brilliant no matter what.

Chase is always the first one out to stretch.  Why is it that when I think of him I think of him being in this position?
And then unflappable,  cool Corey usually comes out second.  Chase has been teaching Corey to be as determined and professional as he is.  Corey is very polished although he is only 22 years old.  Hard to believe.  He always plays as though every single step, every hit counts.
Some of my favorite people
National Anthem time
Jaime Jarrin the Dodgers Spanish speaking announcer threw out the first pitch

And Clayton and Yaz took that long walk back to the dugout.  I think Asher photobombed my picture.

It was nervous time.  We all wanted this win.

The umpires all gave their customary salute to Vinny.  Did anyone tell them that Vinny retired?  
And then it was time
They took their position on the field.  Joc skipped out to center field.  He is a kid at heart.
Clayton did his usual pre game meditation, looked my way to make sure I was ready….
and threw that first pitch.
The first inning was a little scary.  Trea Turner, who should never be allowed to be on base, singled.  Bryce Harper walked.  then Daniel Murphy singled scoring Turner.  0-1.  Not a good start.  I had a feeling of dread but I knew Clayton would right the ship.

Joe Ross, a right handed pitcher thank goodness, was pitching for the Nationals.  I think he was checking to see if that barb was on the ball 
before he hit Justin Turner with a pitch.
Then something wonderful happened…Adrian Gonzalez fought his way out of his post season slump to hit a huge homerun scoring Justin.

We were all on our feet!!!  2-1.

The Nationals were out in order in the 2nd as were the Dodgers.

In the top of the 3rd inning, that Trea Turner singled.  Former Dodger Jason Werth singled.  Daniel Murphy scored Turner with a sacrifice fly to center field.  The score was tied.  Back to the beginning again.  2-2.

And then Clayton helped his own cause.  He hit a double.
Justin singled scoring Kershaw.  3-2.

Adrian walked.
Josh Reddick also drew a walk.  Justin now on 3rd and Adrian on 2nd.
And Joc who has a flair for the dramatic, was hit by a pitch scoring Justin.  4-2.
Unfortunately the Nationals decided to change pitchers at that point.  I was kind of liking Joe Ross.
There seemed to be a lot of rubbing heads and hair pulling during that discussion.
In the top of the 4th the Nationals were out in order.

In the bottom of the 4th inning, Chase was hit by a pitch but was left on base.  
In the top of the 5th inning, the Nationals were out in order.

In the bottom of the 5th inning, Josh Reddick singled.

Joc doubled, scoring Josh.

The score was now 5-2.

In the top of the 6th inning, Jayson Werth singled but Murphy, Rendon and Zimmerman were out in order.

In the bottom of the 6th, Clayton walked but was left on base.

Doc came in to take Clayton out but Clayton wanted to stay in.

Then trouble started when Clayton loaded the bases.  Danny Espinosa singled, that Trea person singled, Bryce Harper walked so the bases were loaded.

No choice…Clayton was replaced by Pedro Baez.  I cringed in horror.  Werth was hit by a pitch scoring Espinosa. 5-3.
Avilan came in to replace Baez.  I became even more apprehensive.  Daniel Murphy singled, scoring Trea Turner and Bryce Harper tying the score.  The runs were credited to Clayton although it certainly wasn’t his fault.  He might have gotten out of that inning since that’s what he does best.  5-5.
Joe Blanton replaced Avilan.  OK now Joe, the key is not to let them score.  That’s just between you and me.  He finally got the side out.
In the top of the 8th inning, the Nationals were out in order.

In the bottom of the 8th inning, the Dodgers came alive again.  Andrew Toles was hit by a pitch.  Andre came in as a pinch hitter and he did what he does best:  he came through with a single.

And Toles went to 2nd.
Chase Utley then singled, scoring Toles.  6-5.  An enthusiastic fan almost knocked my camera out of my hand.  So much for pictures.  I had a terrible time during the game.  Everyone wanted to stand up.  Why people who already sit in the front row have to stand is beyond me.  This is not a concert.  A couple of fans wanted to stand the entire game.  I mean really??  It blocks everyone’s view so everyone has to stand.  When everyone stands, I am so short I really can’t see anything let alone take pictures.  The game was around 4 hours long.  3 hours 44 minutes.    Who wants to stand that long?  I was glad to go to the other side of the stadium so I could see until the fan almost knocked my camera out of my hand.  
It was the top of the 9th inning.  The score was 6-5.  Everything was riding on this inning.  Kenley was called on to save the game.

Kenley had an uncharacteristic meltdown the day before.

You could tell the guys were excited.
Stephen Drew and Trea Turner (yes, Trea Turner) struck out.  
And with that final pitch, Bryce Harper ground out.  Dodgers win with a score of 6-5.
And they all climbed over the railing to celebrate.

It was by far the most exciting game this year. It was a must-win situation to go on and the Dodgers pulled it off.
Back at AT&T Park, the Giants lost in a huge upset after being ahead most of the game.  They were knocked out of contention.  The Cubs are a team to be feared.  As my friend Jack said, the Giants would have been an easier team to beat.

But first, the Dodgers have to win the game on Thursday.  They have the momentum and are hungry to go on in post season.  

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope I can write a positive Blog on Friday after the Dodgers win the Division.  Thank you everyone for your support.  You make writing this blog worthwhile.  GO DODGERS!!!!!!

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