• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

Late tonight one of the most improbable games I ever heard of was played between the Dodgers and the Padres.

Let me back up a bit. The Padres had been chasing the Dodgers in the NL West for an entire month, edging closer and closer until they were only half a game back heading into this weekend’s climactic four game showdown.  Staying true to form, the Padres continued their dominance of the Dodgers this season in head to head matchups (13-5), taking two out of the first three games to finally overtake the Dodgers and snatch a half game lead going into Monday’s final game.

Things looked pretty normal for most of the game. In yet another closely fought contest, the Padres yet again were just a bit better than the Dodgers and eeked out a 6-5 lead heading into the ninth. In a desperation move, the Dodgers brought in their ace closer, Takashi Saito, to preserve the one-run deficit.  Whereupon Saito promptly melted down and let in 3 runs in the top of the ninth.

The Dodgers were now down 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth, and it was looking like a laugher and a 1 1/2 game lead in the west for the Padres.  But then, the Dodgers caught lightning in a bottle.  Jeff Kent and JD Drew hit back to back solo homers leading off the inning to narrow the gap to 9-7.  This against jon Adkins, who had only allowed one home run all season in 51 innings pitched.  Bruce Bochy now pulled Adkins and brought on closer Trevor Hoffman, who has been virtually untouchable against the Dodgers over his career – 55 for 57 in saves, 28 consecutive saves, had not blown a save against the Dodgers in five years. With the bases empty and still down two runs, things once again looked grim for the Dodgers.

But amazingly enough, the next two batters, lineup bottom-feeders Russell Martin and Marlon Anderson, each hit a solo home run as well against one of the greatest closers of all time.  Four consecutive solo home runs leading off the ninth to erase a four run deficit! Only the third time any team in major league history has hit four homers in a row! Ridiculous!

The Dodgers’ fans, notorious for leaving early, came streaming back in from the parking lots when they heard the volume of the cheers. 

However, no sooner had the game become tied, did Trevor Hoffman remember he was Trevor Hoffman and quickly retire the next three batters in order.

It was now 9-9. Extra Innings.

The Dodgers now had new hope, but it was immediately quenched when the Padres promptly scored a run of Aaron Sele in the top of the 10th inning to go ahead 10-9.

To the bottom of the 10th. Kenny Lofton works a 3-2 count and then takes an extremely close pitch and up comes Nomar Garciaparra. Yes, Nomar, who shouldn’t even be playing due to a torn ligament in his knee and a torn muscle in his calf, and hasn’t shown any life in his bat in months, and is barely above the Mendoza line since the All-Star break, but who somehow convinced Grady Little to let him start this game after having been benched for the past week.

So naturally he hits a game winning, walk-off, two-run home run.  Shades of Kirk Gibson, he is so hobbled that he can barely make it all the way around the bases on his own power.  Dodgers win, 11-10.  They lead the division once again by half a game.

Don’t go anywhere folks. At least out West, there is still a lot of baseball left to be played.

No Responses to “There are not words to adequately describe this”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Good ol’ Nomie. Now you know why we loved him so!

  2. Sarah Green says:

    Okay, I just have to explain some things about Fenway being a “very hitter-friendly park.” This is just a huge overstatement. People *think* it is a very hitter-friendly park. This led the Red Sox to overspend on aging sluggers for years, at the expense of their pitching. But the fact of the matter is, the Wall giveth and the Wall taketh away. Why does Mike Lowell have 44 doubles this year? Because of the Wall. And how many times have I had to listen to Jerry Remy say, “Boy, in another ballpark that woulda been outta heah, but with the Monstah that’s just a line-drive single.”

    Of course, Ortiz rarely hits it to left—but by that token, Nick, since you’ve taken off points for him hitting in front of Manny in the order, shouldn’t you *add* a couple points for him having to negotiate those crazy shifts all season? I mean, here is a man with more than 50 homers who is not ashamed to bunt, a slugger who will poke a weak hit through the gap if that’s what it takes, and a 6’4″, 230 lb dude who will steal when he feels like it (and throw in a Karate Kid move when he gets to second, to boot). I respect your choice to rank him behind Mauer, I just feel you may have overlooked some crucial info. That Karate Kid move had me at hello (see visual: http://www.umpbump.com/press/?p=316)

    And finally, you forgot the coolest thing about Grady Sizemore. His last name sounds like a much awesomer version of the venti, the whopper, or the supersize value meal. What if the next time you went to Starbucks, you could order “a mocha frappuccino, no whip—oh, and make it a sizemore please”? Or you could go to Mickey D’s and ask for “a sizemore of fries”? In fact, I think it’s also a verb. I’d like to sizemore my TV, my closet, and my bank account, for instance.

  3. Hmm, I had thrown in that bit about Fenway being a hitter’s park just because that is the conventional wisdon, but your comment forced me to go back and actually look at the data.

    I found that I was both right and wrong. Statistically speaking, Fenway park was the 11th best hitters park in the majors this season, so it remains correct to call it a “hitter’s park”. However, this year it was also, amazingly, the second worst home run park in the majors, behind only the Giants’ ballpark (whatever it’s called these days). What this means is that Fenway dramatically increased the batting average, doubles, and triples hit by everyone who played there this year, so much so as to offset the amazing difficulty of hitting homers there and still have Fenway in the upper echelon of offensive ballparks

    So, while I was technically correct to say that Ortiz has benefitted from playing in what was overall a hitter’s park this year, I should have given him more credit for hitting so many homers in a park that is really not so well suited to his style of hitting.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Aha! Except that since Ortiz is a lefty, I think he has an easier time hitting dingers than most of Boston’s lineup. After all, those bullpens in right were added to help Ted Williams (who threw right but batted left, if you will recall) hit more homers—though now that I think about it, I’m not sure if they actually ended up making a difference, just that that’s what the legend in these parts is. So while I’d say that Fenway generally isn’t a hitters park (for righties) for slugging lefties maybe it is. And maybe the hitters get a rare gift or two when the ball bounces off one of Fenway’s many weird angles and rattles around for a while. But I’m getting distracted. And I realize that now I’m contradicting my earlier comment, but whatevs—-this isn’t about mere pride, this is a search to uncover the TRUTH!

    Anyways, this just means it was even lamer back in the era of my childhood, when the Sox always overspent on righthanded sluggers who would theoretically mash it over the Monster. Bah.

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