On October 9th, the Cardinals faced off against the Braves in the first Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS. The Cardinals won in a record breaking fashion, beating the Braves 13-1 with ten of those runs in the first inning. This game was, however, overshadowed by the match up between the Dodgers and Nationals that would follow just a few hours later.
The Dodgers were the heavy favorite against the Nationals after their astonishing regular season, and many fans were surprised that the series had to go to a Game 5.
The Dodgers took an early lead on a 2-run home run by Max Muncy in the bottom of the first and another homer by Enrique Hernandez in the next inning. They held their lead into the eighth inning, though by that point it was cut to 3-1 after an RBI single by Juan Soto.
After a quality start by Walker Buehler, manager Dave Roberts called on Clayton Kershaw to get the last out of the seventh inning. Kershaw struck out his first batter, but that was the only out he was able to get. He came out for the eighth and gave up two back-to-back home runs to tie the game before being taken out. Fans were stunned by their former ace’s failure.
Due to Kershaw’s catastrophic mess up, the game was sent into extra innings where Roberts left pitcher Joe Kelly in a couple batters too long when he had relievers ready in the bullpen. Kelly loaded the bases and then gave up a grand slam to Howie Kendrick, the last runs scored in the game.
Dodger fans were left asking questions and disappointed for the seventh year in a row, each year with an impressive division title that didn’t lead to anything. What happened to their star pitcher? Why did Roberts leave Kelly in when he had other options in the bullpen?
Looking at the graph above, a few students were interviewed at CCHS and of them, 50% expected the Dodgers to come through to win the World Series; the Nationals weren’t even one of the predictions at all. Who wouldn’t expect the Dodgers to win after their previous seven years in the postseason and 106 wins in the regular season? One of the reasons behind these fans’ disappointment was the poor offense.
The Dodgers’ lineup was pretty good, but big hitters weren’t doing as much damage as the should have. Corey Seager went 4 for 20, A.J. Pollock 0 for 13, and MVP candidate Cody Bellinger only 4 for 19. Though they did get quite a few big hits, they were not enough to compensate for Kendrick’s grand slam. Ironic, too, considering that Kendrick was playing in a Dodgers uniform only a couple years ago.
Looking forward to the World Series, with the Washington Nationals facing off against the Houston Astros, the Dodgers’ loss seemed very present. The Nationals went on to win the World Series in seven games, winning a title for the first time in team history. The sting from this loss will definitely be lasting for the Dodgers, and while they’ll have another good chance to win it all in 2020, it’ll be a long off season.