The Dodgers dropped the third game of the World Series last night behind a clunker from starter Yu Darvish whose terrible command failed to make it past the 2nd inning after allowing four runs. After letting the second game of the series slip through their hands because of a blown save in the bottom of the ninth, and losing the home-field advantage, the Dodgers have done themselves no favors. But it’s a familiar feeling the 2017 Dodgers and us fans know all too well.
What have you done for me lately? Before Game 2 of the World Series, the Dodgers were riding an insane high that saw them sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS, and put away the defending champion Chicago Cubs in five games on their field. Excellent bullpen work, high scoring timely hitting, and savvy managing had the Dodgers well-rested and ready take on the last team that stood in their way of the first World Series title for the franchise in 29 years.
How soon we forget. Remember when the Dodgers lost 16 out of 17 games? It seemed to last an eternity. Everyone, including fans, media, and even the team, was going crazy asking what the heck was going on. Would they lose the NL West division lead and miss the playoffs? Was this going to be the most epic collapse in league history after such a dominant run right before? That happened only six weeks before they swept Arizona in the NLDS at the beginning of this month. The Dodgers have faced adversity and face it once again.
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What did they learn from that? My twin brother does an awesome job of asking his 5-year-old son (who is an absolute stud) what his favorite and least favorite parts of his baseball and soccer games are. Reflection, the best way to learn and grow. Prior to the abysmal losing streak, the Dodgers were on pace to challenge the record for the most wins in baseball history, they learned how to win. Then they got hit in the mouth and got hit hard. They quickly needed to learn how to lose. Nobody can point to any one particular thing as the cause for that losing streak. But, they shook it off and moved forward to playoff greatness. They must have learned something.
Fast forward to today. After crushing the Dodger bullpen in game two, and stud starter Yu Darvish in game three, the Astros seem to have a strong hold on the series. They quelled Dodger bats with 3.2 hitless innings from out-of-nowhere reliever Brad Peacock to seal and save the game three win. But, not so fast.
Down but not out. This is where the 2017 Dodgers dig deep down and pull from their experiences this season, namely that terrible losing streak that came out of nowhere. They need to remember that this is a game that has rewarded them grinding it out. They are much better ball players than they have shown the last two games. One can’t really blame one single player or aspect of the game as the culprit behind these two World Series losses. But riding high on the coattails of a dominant season or streak surely hasn’t helped their cause.
The Dodgers need to realize that this is it, go big in Houston, or go home. They battled in each of the last two games where they lost and scored runs while trailing. Now they are trailing in the series, and need to stop the bleeding. No consolation prize, no World Series participation medals. Channel whatever helped break that losing streak in the latter part of the regular season, and use it to finish strong in the World Series to bring a title back to Los Angeles.