LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – The Atlanta Braves are in trouble. Last year, the Braves posted a 2-0 and then a 3-1 advantage in their National League Championship Series (NLCS) against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers rallied and staked the Braves their two-game lead in the series to come back to clinch a World Series berth by winning the final three games.
Atlanta may be a little spooked after what happened to them in Game 3. Outside of the first inning when shortstop Corey Seager belted a two-run home to give the Dodgers an immediate offensive boost for a 2-0 lead, Los Angeles did practically next to nothing over the course of the next six innings.
By the time it was the Dodgers’ turn to bat in the bottom half of the eighth inning, Atlanta positioned itself to win a third straight game in the series. Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger had other ideas.
Bellinger blasted a game-tying three-run home run in the Dodgers’ half of the eighth inning. Betts then delivered the knockout blow with an RBI double to bring the Dodgers back from the depths of staring at a possible 0-3 series deficit to a manageable 2-1 hole after Los Angeles held on for an improbable 6-5 win.Embed from Getty Images
So what kind of reaction did Dodgers manager Dave Roberts have after Bellinger worked his magic again?
“Man, pure elation, joy,” remarked Roberts. “I mean, it’s just hard to imagine a bigger hit that I can remember really, just kind of what was at stake. And couldn’t be happier for him. So just what a win. I’m just kind of exhausted right now, but very happy for Cody.”
As momentous as Bellinger’s home run was, It was Betts who carried the Dodgers home with his game-winning hit.
“It was a big hit, obviously, to tie the game up, but then to have another base runner out there and to build on that momentum and take the lead and not let the kind of the momentum that we created subside and make it a new ball game,” Roberts said.
Roberts continued, “They certainly had a lot of arms left in the pen, so to take the lead and get it to our closer was huge. The fans all night, we fed off that energy. It was as loud as I’ve heard Dodger Stadium after that homer and they were loud and energetic all day long.”
Luke Jackson, the Atlanta pitcher who served up Bellinger’s home run, said he would make that same pitch again.
“Sad thing is I would do the same thing again,” Jackson said. “I was trying to throw a fastball up and away. I actually threw it better than I thought I threw it. Out of my hand, I was like, Oh, that’s a ball. It’s too high. And no it wasn’t too high. It was, you know, good player, put a good swing on it and pretty remarkable.”
To his credit, Bellinger said he was just looking to put the ball in play.Embed from Getty Images
“Yeah, it’s not a hitter’s pitch right there, but in the moment whatever happened, I saw it, and I just tried to put the barrel on it and continue to pass the baton,” Bellinger said.
Coming back is something of a recurring theme for the Dodgers. Perhaps it’s just the heart of a champion. The Dodgers could have wilted and fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in their playoff wildcard game, but they managed to prevail 3-1 after coming through with two runs in the ninth inning.
The heartbeat of the Dodgers came through in the National League Division Series (NLDS) against the San Francisco Giants. It took the Dodgers all of five games to squeak by their division rivals and march into the NLCS.Embed from Getty Images
It was Bellinger who decided the outcome of the series with a clutch hit in the ninth inning to give the Dodgers an unreal 2-1 win in Game 5 of that series. Fast forward to the NLCS. The Dodgers lost the first two games of the series on walk-off game-winning hits by the Braves in the ninth inning.
Turnabout is fair play. So it was only fitting that the Dodgers would rally late to stun the Braves and their expectancy of a possible 3-0 series lead. The moment at hand called for the Dodgers to sink or swim, said Betts.
“I think everybody’s super aware of it. It’s impossible not to be aware of it,” Betts said. “But I think that’s a weak way to think of things. I think our mindset has been why are we going to focus on that when we are here now, we can win the game now, and all it takes is a hit or two, and then you get some energy, and then you forget, you forget that you’re down 0-2 and whatnot. So I think that’s one of our strong suits is not worrying about what happened yesterday, focusing on right now.”
Featured Image Caption: In this file photo, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler lets off a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 8, 2021. Buehler started and pitched three and two-thirds innings in the Dodgers’ 6-5 win against the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS). Photo credit: Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline