The Dodgers took care of business in the Wild Card Series. They swept the Brewers 2-0, with a 4-2 and 3-0 win. In both games they never fell behind, only scored 1 run in the seventh inning or later, and hit one home run courtesy of almost 450 feet off Seager’s bat. But here are our standout players from this quick series.
- Clayton Kershaw
We’ve long been Kershaw Playoff Truthers. We say that if you take out the games that Kershaw had signs stolen (all the way back to the Cardinals debacle of 2014) he’s actually been pretty good. Granted he has never performed up to his standards in playoffs still. But last night was different.
Kershaw dominated his way through almost the entire game. So much so that this time when he told Roberts not to pull him, he didn’t dare.
Kershaw went 8 innings with only 93 pitches. 67 for strikes. But even more impressive was his 13 strikeouts against 3 hits and a walk. And one batter was half of that offense.
Overall no one was as impressive this series as Kershaw was for us. Except maybe….
2. Mookie Betts
Man, this guy should’ve been paid even more. He’s that good. Not only did he provide his exceptional defense in right for both games, but he was probably the best leadoff hitter for any team in the Wild Card Series.
He went 3 for 7 with a walk, slashing .429/.500/.857. All of his hits were doubles. He he finished the series with a run scored and 3 RBI. He did strike out 3 times, but that also means that when Betts is putting the ball in play (BABIP), he’s hit .750.
He was apart of 4 of the 7 runs the Dodgers scored. He scored the very first run of the series off a double that hit Braun’s glove. The Dodgers never looked back after that. He would add onto the lead later, and blew game 2 open after Barnes opened up the scoring.
Mookie was the most valuable Dodger all season long, and he was offensively again this series.
3. Julio Urias
Julio helped a blistered Walker Buehler to combine for a hell of a start. Buehler left after 4 innings with a 3-2 lead, but Urias got the win with Walker an inning shy of qualifying.
But in a way, Urias deserved it more, even though he pitched one less inning. Urias went 3 innings, allowing 3 hits, and striking out 5. And 2 of those hits were Yelich which also meant Urias never let himself get into serious base path trouble.
But more importantly, he protected the 3-2 lead in 3 high leverage innings and left after Seager added a run of insurance.
He was able to pass the ball off to the ideal 1-2 punch of Treinen and Jansen. Considering Urias spent the year as a starter, it’s even more incredible he was able to do this coming out of the pen.
This means that Urias will most likely stay in the pen for the rest of playoffs, but this isn’t a punishment. In a weird way it’s a promotion for doing the necessary job better than expected. We may see Walker paired with Julio for the rest of the postseason considering his blister.
4. Austin Barnes
Will Smith is definitely the better option normally, but Barnes made more of his start this time around. Before we get into his offense in the game, we think it’s more important we talk about why he played this game.
If you haven’t heard, Kershaw has chosen Barnes to be his battery mate. If you remember he did the same with AJ Ellis over Yasmani Grandal. Versus Zack Greinke (a Dodger at the time) told AJ himself that he would trade him to make the team better.
So Kershaw stuck his neck out once again saying that he does best with Barnes. And Barnes rewarded his faith in his most important start of the year. Not only did the battery call a gem of a game (8 IP, 0 R, 13 K), but Barnes also provided the key offense for the win.
Barnes went 2-3 with a run scored and the games first/ go ahead RBI. And that was with 2 outs and 2 on. He hit a single scoring Taylor and extending the inning for Betts who would double in him and Bellinger. That inning was the only inning the Dodgers scored. Without it, and Barnes 2-out contribution, the series may have gone to 3.
5. Chris Taylor
Finally Chris Taylor had the misfortune of being behind batters who slumped this series. He hit 9th and 7th in the lineup respectively. Otherwise, he was the next best hitter this series behind Betts.
He slashed .500/.500/.667 in 6 ABs. He only struck out once, scored 2 runs, and gave the Dodgers actual production out of second base (as well as playing left for defensive reasons later on).
He’s looking a lot like the 2017 Chris Taylor again this year, and so far he’s enjoying more postseason success.