The Los Angeles Dodgers are going back to the World Series for the second consecutive season after their 5-1 game-seven win in over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Cody Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the top of the second inning to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead, an advantage the Dodgers never relinquished in the deciding game in the National League Championship Series on Saturday.
Yasiel Puig added to it with a three-run homer in the sixth and Clayton Kershaw closed it out in a non-save situation in the ninth as the Dodgers earned a World Series meeting with the Boston Red Sox.
Do the best with what you have
Walker Buehler did not have it in Game 7. He did not have his tight curveball, his fastball command was off and he was probably a little too amped up for his own good.
However, that did not matter. Buehler is a gamer — to use a cliche, he is a bulldog. The guy goes out there and competes each and every night. Sure, he did not have his curve, but he did have great velocity to go with his adrenaline and he used it.
Buehler repeatedly got swings and misses on high fastballs and tossed in the occasional show-me curve to keep the hitters honest. He also worked in a nice cutter, because he did have some feel for that pitch. It just goes to show a pitcher is not going to have his best stuff every single night, but he can still compete and help his team win.
Buehler did not get the victory, but he helped the Dodgers to a win with 4.6 innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts.
Let Hader go
It is easy to understand why Craig Counsell took Josh Hader out of the game in the sixth inning. He had thrown three innings for the first time since his last career minor-league appearance and was coming up on the second time through on the Dodgers' order.
He had given up just one hit and one walk while striking out four and giving up no runs, not to mention he was only at 31 pitches — far from a season high. In fact, Hader threw more innings and pitches than that eight times as a minor leaguer last year. While he likely was not going all out like he does in the bullpen now, he can certainly be extended further than that.
Counsell opted to bring in Xavier Cedeno to start the sixth and then Jeremy Jeffress one batter later. Jeffress had allowed six hits, two walks and two runs in 3.3 innings coming into game seven. He then gave up a three-run homer to Puig and the game was all but over.
It is easy to second guess now, but Hader had thrown just once in the last seven days before Saturday. He is your best reliever. Ride him as long as you possibly can.
Puig plays good baseball
As much as Puig can annoy the baseball traditionalist with his celebrations and emotion on the field, no one can ever say he does not love the game. And, at the same time, he can make some really, really good plays.
Take the second inning for example. The Brewers shifted to the left side of the infield on him and he simply took a fastball the other way for a double. He did not hit it hard, but he did just enough to get a base hit and make Jhoulys Chacin get deeper into the line-up.
Things like that and hustling around the bases, even when he grounds into a double play, are good baseball. Home runs with celebrations in the sixth inning are simply what he can do, because he is so immensely talented. He will have his moments, but Puig can play this game and he can play it great.
|Bauer leads Indians past Astros|
|Mariners introduced to Padres´ Paddack in loss|
|Top prospect Guerrero called up by Blue Jays|
|Wheeler impresses in Mets´ win over Phillies|
|Rays bounce back with win over Royals|
|Red Sox, Yankees claim extra-inning wins to continue turnarounds|
|Tucker´s homer on MLB debut powers Pirates to fifth straight win|
|Red Sox star Eovaldi on injured list with elbow issue|
|Hendricks leads Cubs to fourth straight win|
|DeGrom to undergo MRI for elbow ailment|
|Dodgers hold off Brewers|
|Braves, Red Sox bullpens both lose as Kimbrel sits at home|
|Paxton leads Yankees to win over Red Sox|
|Yelich powers Brewers to win over Cardinals|
|Astros win ninth straight, Marquez snaps Rockies skid|
|Rockies lose eighth straight as early season woes continue|
|Arrieta celebrates 100th win as Phillies crush Marlins|
|Mariners continue one of hottest starts in MLB history|
|Davis hits two homers as Athletics win, Nationals in 15-1 rout|
|Reds break losing streak, Harper cannot stop Nationals|
|Pirates´ Archer suspended for five games following Reds brawl|
|Cubs rout Pirates 10-0, Mariners stay hot|
|Davis breaks hitless streak record|
|Orioles´ Davis ties unwanted MLB record|
|Orioles’ Chris Davis 0-for-44 at bat, closes in on record futility|
|Trout steals show as Angels shine, Yankees crush Orioles|
|Mariners crush White Sox to hold MLB´s best record|
|Dodgers, Diamondbacks continue offensive onslaughts|
|Bauer throws no-hitter through seven innings, sets MLB record|
|DeGrom stars as home runs fly in MLB|
|Machado crushes first home run with Padres|
|Francona signs two-year extension with Indians|
|Harper returns to Nationals Park, Yankees lose again|
|Blue Jays, Grichuk agree to five-year extension|
|Harper receives steady stream of boos in return to Nationals Park|
|Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. agrees massive contract|
|Alonso hits first career homer in Mets´ win over Marlins|
|Yankees place Andujar on 10-day injured list with shoulder injury|
|Yankees slugger Stanton on injured list with biceps strain|
|Phillies only undefeated MLB team after Braves sweep|
|Indians win fascinating pitchers´ duel featuring Bauer, Odorizzi|
|Rockies infielder Murphy expects to go on IL with broken finger|
|Harper´s first hit for Phillies is a 465-foot blast|
|Morton, Rays shut down Astros in emotional win|
|Brewers´ Knebel to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery|
|Keuchel in discussions with ´a number of clubs´ – agent|
|Sale, Snell struggle on Opening Day|
|´We can hurt you from anywhere´ – Tulowitzki on Yankees|
|Home runs fly out at historic rate on MLB Opening Day|
|Athletics acquire Morales from Blue Jays|
|MLB Opening Day: Five intriguing pitching matchups to watch|
|MLB 2019 preview: Five storylines to watch|
|MLB 2019 preview: Five bold predictions for the upcoming season|
|Emotional Trout addresses Angels team-mates, fans for first time since signing extension|
|MLB 2019 preview: Predicting the AL´s division champs, pennant winner, award getters|
|MLB 2019 preview: Predicting the NL´s division champs, pennant winner, award getters|
|MLB preview: Projecting AL West|
|Rays sign Blake Snell to five-year, $50m extension|
|Ichiro retires: Baseball legend bids farewell in Tokyo|
|Angels confirm Trout´s record contract extension|
|MLB preview: Projecting AL Central|
|Harper happy Trout blew him out the water|
|Ichiro´s standing ovation & A´s pitching woes - Five things you may have missed from MLB opener|
|MLB preview: Projecting AL East|
|Trout reportedly set to sign record-breaking deal with Angels|
|Brewers spoof Mean Girls during spring training|
|MLB preview: Five storylines to watch during season|
|Giants pitcher Samardzija wants ties in MLB|
|Phillies star Harper limps out of training game with foot contusion|
|Mariners star Seager to miss at least eight weeks after hand surgery|