Photo by Jimmy Bramlett

Dodgers Derailed in Grand Finale

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After taking an early lead in decisive playoff game, a former teammate dashes their hopes with a 10th inning slam

My co-worker who sits right next to me is an Atlanta Braves fan.

He was hyped for Tuesday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals especially since the Braves, like the Dodgers, had home-field advantage. 2 p.m. came. He had the game on one of his screens.

This was what the Red Birds did in the top of the first inning: walk, sacrifice bunt, single, single, fielding error, walk, double, intentional walk, walk, double, double, double, line out, strike out but wild pitch keeps inning alive, ground out.

The Korean beer was extra cold, as advertised, but so were too many Dodger bats. Photo by Jimmy Bramlett

That’s 10 runs the Cardinals scored in the first inning, tying the record for the most runs scored in any inning in the history of the postseason.

The game was over in a blink of an eye, and co-worker was surly the rest of the day.

Then came the Dodgers turn to choke.

After an early 3-0 lead, Clayton Kershaw coughed up consecutive home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto in the eighth inning, tying the game up. Joe Kelly completed the choke job in the 10th by yielding a grand slam to former Angel and Dodger Howie Kendrick, giving the Nationals the 7-3 margin of victory. 

What was once joy became agony. 

So ’tis better to have experienced the joy then the agony, than never to have experienced the joy at all?

With apologies to Lord Alfred Tennyson, my heart could have better handled a straight-up loss rather than the rollercoaster of emotions this stupid Game 5 put me through.

Everything was so easy leading up to the game. I got a different co-worker to come with me to the game. We took Metro from Santa Monica, walked up to our reserve-level seats. 

The largest capacity stadium in the MLB became the Heartbreak Hotel after Kershaw served up two dongs to that turned a lead into a tie. Photo by Jimmy Bramlett.

Even the atmosphere at the stadium buoyed my normally sullen disposition. Of course Korean beer and soju helps — along with nachos in a batting helmet.

But at 3-1 through seven innings, I thought maybe the Dodgers could pull this off. Young Walker Buehler had struck out seven batters when he was pulled with one out remaining in the seventh inning.

Just seven more outs, and we’d face St. Louis for the next round. 

Then Clayton Kershaw happened, and I realized I was correct in not wanting him to be anywhere near the game. No one could have kidnapped him? 

I guess that’s what I get for falling for this silly inane emotion called hope. 

Adios, Chavez Ravine. Photo by Jimmy Bramlett.

The Dodgers are now out of the playoffs. We can thank Kershaw’s 7.11 ERA. Joe Kelly’s 23.14 ERA. A.J. Pollack’s .000 batting average (in 13 at-bats.) Chris Taylor’s .125 batting average (one hit in eight at-bats.) Corey Seager’s .150 (3-for-20.) And “MVP candidate” Cody Bellinger’s .211 (4-for-19.) 

Those numbers will not, and did not, get it done.

A season where a World Series title was expected has ended far sooner than expected, and it’s hard to say that this was anything but a failure even with the franchise-record 106 regular season wins. 

Los Angeleno