Marcell Ozuna tagged up too early and that turned the tides for the Dodgers.
It was not looking good for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. In the bottom of the third inning with one out and runners on second and third, Atlanta Braves slugger Dansby Swanson hit a looping fly ball into right field. If that sucker dropped, it could’ve very well been 4-0 Braves if it was misplayed.
Instead, Mookie Betts made an incredible grab, scooping the ball on a fly just inches from the ground, and nearly uncorked a perfect throw to home plate to get Marcell Ozuna tagging up.
That made it 3-0, Braves … for just a moment.
Upon further review — another replay situation involving Betts that saved an inning — Ozuna wasn’t even close to tagging up and left third base way too early. The Braves slugger was doubled up at third, the inning was over, and before Atlanta could blink, their lead was cut in half after Corey Seager went yard in the top half of the fourth.
What came next? Six straight Dodgers’ runs — three in the sixth and three in the seventh — and a 7-3 victory in Game 5 to keep LA alive. And it makes you think … did Ozuna just become a catalyst for an epic Dodgers’ comeback? If he doesn’t tag up early, it’s either 3-0 Braves or at the very least, Atlanta still has runners on second and third with two outs.
These types of gaffes are usually what start curses. Though Atlanta’s 3-1 cushion heading into Friday (along with Max Fried on full rest for a potential Game 6) made it seem like this baby was gift-wrapped for the fans back in Georgia, Ozuna’s mistake shifted the tides immeasurably. The Dodgers’ offense is awake again and Walker Buehler, despite his blister issues, is in a familiar position pitching with his back against the wall (he’s done so the last two postseasons).
Though we’ve seen the Braves’ ability to quickly silence any Dodger momentum, one last burst of energy for LA could be the difference, and we’ll know if that’s the case in just a few hours.