Dodgers' Yasiel Puig launches himself tongue-first into October baseball

Dodgers' Yasiel Puig launches himself tongue-first into October baseball

Ronald Pratt
October 8, 2017

The Dodgers have never faced a divisional opponent in the postseason since the Wild Card format was introduced in 1995, and snapped a six-game losing streak against the Snakes dating back to August 29.

Kershaw yielded back-to-back homers into the short left-field porch by light-hitting Ketel Marte and Jeff Mathis on his final two pitches in the seventh, making him the first pitcher in team history and the eighth in baseball history to give up four home runs in a postseason game.

Ray was supposed to start this series opener, but was pressed into relief against the Rockies when ace Zack Greinke faltered - and Walker couldn't come through in his place.

That's where our three takeaways begin.

Clayton Kershaw still hasn't figured out how to dominate in October.

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So while it's an easy thing to say if they started Zack Godley or Patrick Corbin instead of Taijuan Walker they would have won, the fact is the odds are long that any of those three starters would beat Kershaw. He's stayed largely healthy, delivering the second-most innings of his 13-year career and posting a 3.32 earned-run average, giving the Dodgers offense a chance in most games. They accepted beating Kershaw was going to be tough and made a decision to live to fight another day.

Ray remains a possibility for Game 2.

If the lights of the post-season were not bright enough, Walker took the Dodger Stadium mound with a streak of wildness.

"I think if he makes a mistake, we've got to be able to capitalize". But the Dodgers have been so good this season because their lineup is loaded top to bottom. The four home runs made Kershaw the first Dodger ever to allow four home runs in a postseason game.

That made it hard for Ray to come back just two days later, so Arizona manager Torey Lovullo is going with Walker against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. That's why this team is so good. "But at the same time they also have a lot of confidence too". At times it did look dominant, mostly because Kershaw looked a bit more like his All-Star self than the version that returned from the disabled list late in the season. In the Diamondbacks loss, the pitching staff allowed nine runs and 12 hits, which means Arizona has given up a combined 17 runs and 25 hits in its first two preseason games overall. In two starts here this season - his first with the Diamondbacks - Walker allowed only two runs in 11 innings. Pitchers will take solo shots any day of the week especially if they have big leads as Kershaw did.