Kike Hernandez Had Clayton’s Back!

In what was a highly charged emotional interview after the game, a teary-eyed Clayton Kershaw reported that before the game started Kike Hernandez told him “I’ve got your back tonight!”  Boy, did he ever! The fact that the Dodgers won the NLCS is a testament to how deep the team is as they won without their All-Star Shortstop, Corey Seager who is part of the heartbeat of the team.  Just like all year, a number of different players stepped up when they had the opportunity.  Taylor and Turner were the co-MVP’s but it was truly a team win. However, when it came down to the clinch game, no one came up bigger than Kike Hernandez.  The Cubs and their fans still had hope when Kike came up to the plate in the third inning with the bases loaded.

By the time he returned to the dugout, all of that  hope was gone!  Kike Hernandez cemented his place in Dodger Lore by killing the Cubs with a single swing of the bat.  At that juncture, it was over. He already had one home run at that point and would ice the cake with another in the 9th inning, but that blast (which barely got over the wall) was the one the killed the Cubs!  It was all over at that point, as the fat lady started warming up.

The Dodgers didn’t just win, but they beat the World Champs like a rented mule! That was a statement game! Clayton pitched very well and changed his pitching pattern to a degree.  The Dodgers also changed their hitting pattern somewhat by frequently jumping on the first pitch. What can you say about Charlie Culberson who filled in admirably for Corey Seager? He wasn’t even on the roster at the start of the season.

Enjoy the moment.  It’s been 29 long years and here we are.  It won’t be the last time either! Enjoy all the highlights here:

https://www.mlb.com/dodgers

If the Dodgers play Houston, Granderson and/or Utley may not make the squad, but if they play the Yankees, they just might be on the roster as the short RF porch is built for them.  We shall see.  Granderson did well there in his time with the Yanks. Let’s hope Corey is healthy, but I would think that Charley Culberson has to make the squad for two reasons: (1) Insurance in case Corey’s back flares up; and (2) He earned it! Honestly, if  Corey is on the roster, they can’t have Utley and Granderson unless they drop Farmer. Remember that they will use the DH is the AL parks.

Back in February of this year, I wrote this:

Recipe for a World Series Casserole:

  • Start with a hungry team who fell just short and age it a year;
  • Stir in a few new players;
  • Blend in growing maturity;
  • Add a dash of experience;
  • Simmer with lots of competition;
  • In a side pan, simmer Turner Ward’s system until gelled;
  • Allow the creation to rest periodically;
  • Boil in a large pan of determination;
  • Slowly combine growing manager experience; and
  • Broil away all vestiges of injury.

Cook for 162 games and serve it over the next 19 games – serves millions.

Then, on April 3, 2017, I wrote “WORLD SERIES OR BUST!” in which I said:

The natural sequence of things is for them to go to the World Series in 2017…  well, not just go… but win! It’s a lot of pressure and a lot of it involves “luck” but 2017 will be considered a BUST without an appearance in the Fall Classic.

What will happen this season?  That is the big question and you know I have answers.  I think the team is better in 2017 that it was in 2016 and I will give you some reason why:

  1. The team is much deeper than last year.  The Dodgers used 15 starters last season including Mike Bolsinger, Bud Norris and Nick Tepesch.  This year, the Dodgers have 9 quality starters and I doubt they use more than 10 (however, I do not see that as a bad thing – it’s just a different thing). All told, the Dodgers has nearly 40 players who deserved to be on the 25 man roster…  and would be if they were on other teams.

  2. This is Turner Wards second full year.  The Dodger offense improved dramatically under Ward the second half of 2016. They hit .241 with a .708 OPS the first half of last year and .260 and .754 OPS the second half.  That was a considerable improvement and I think you will see the same incremental improvement as well , not just because of Turner Ward, but also because youngsters like Joc Pederson are maturing… maybe even Yasiel Puig.

  3. Confidence is growing.  This team is becoming more confident. It’s a process you go through and they are starting to understand what it takes to win.

  4. They added more and better RH bats.  Of course, Franklin Gutierrez and Logan Forsythe come to mind, but Yasmani Grandal, Justin Turner, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager are intent on hitting LH pitching better.  With Ward’s help and a healthy Trayce Thompson, SVS and/or Puig, I think Lefties will not own the Dodgers as in recent times past.

  5. The front office are not just stat geeks and numbers guys.  They actually value character (measure that) and have programs in place throughout the system to develop and improve it.

That was the Dodgers’ goal and here they are… on the brink of achieving their goal.  What a ride, but it’s not over.  Let’s enjoy it – FOUR MORE!

UPDATE – PRESS RELEASE

BROADCAST SCHEDULE FOR THE 2017 WORLD SERIES ANNOUNCED

Dodgers Will Face Yankees or Astros in Baseball’s 113th Fall Classic;

FOX Sports Will Cover the World Series for the 20th Time

Major League Baseball today announced FOX’s broadcast schedule for the 2017 World Series, which is set to begin at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, October 24th and is presented by YouTube TV.   Baseball’s 113th Fall Classic will feature the National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers facing either the New York Yankees or the Houston Astros representing the American League.  The Yankees currently lead the Astros in the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World by a 3-2 margin, with Game Six at Minute Maid Park in Houston set for first pitch at 8:08 p.m. (ET)/7:08 p.m. (CT) on FS1.

All World Series games on FOX will be available to MLB.TV subscribers who are authenticated subscribers to the network through a participating pay TV provider.  ESPN Radio will provide live national coverage of all World Series games.  MLB Network, MLB.com, MLB International and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive coverage of the Fall Classic.  The 2017 World Series schedule can be accessed at MLB.com/postseason or via the MLB.com At Bat mobile app.  The broadcast schedule for the remainder of the Postseason, subject to change, follows:

Game Match-Up Date Air Time (ET/Site Time) First Pitch (ET/Site Time) Network
ALCS Game 6 NYY @ HOU Fri., Oct. 20th 7:00/6:00 p.m. 8:08/7:08 p.m. FS1
ALCS Game 7 NYY @ HOU Sat., Oct.21st 7:30/6:30 p.m. 8:08/7:08 p.m. FS1
World Series Media Day @ Dodger Stadium Mon., Oct. 23rd *Times of Media Day TBD*
WS Game 1 HOU/NYY @ LAD Tues., Oct. 24th 7:30/4:30 p.m. 8:09/5:09 p.m. FOX
WS Game 2 HOU/NYY @ LAD Wed., Oct. 25th 7:30/4:30 p.m. 8:09/5:09 p.m. FOX
Travel Day to AL Champion Thurs., Oct. 26th
WS Game 3 LAD @ HOU/NYY Fri., Oct. 27th 7:30 p.m. 8:09 p.m. FOX
WS Game 4 LAD @ HOU/NYY Sat., Oct. 28th 7:30 p.m. 8:09 p.m. FOX
WS Game 5^ LAD @ HOU/NYY Sun., Oct. 29th 8:00 p.m. 8:16 p.m. FOX
Travel Day to NL Champion Mon., Oct. 30th
WS Game 6^ HOU/NYY @ LAD Tues., Oct. 31st 7:30/4:30 p.m. 8:09/5:09 p.m. FOX
WS Game 7^ HOU/NYY @ LAD Wed., Nov. 1st 7:30/4:30 p.m. 8:10/5:10 p.m. FOX
^ indicates If Necessary

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don’t do game recaps or such things — lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don’t think they are the “end-all-be-all.”. This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We’d like to hear your voice.

This article has 34 Comments

  1. WE MADE IT MARK. I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE YOU PUT UP WITH. NOW LET’S WIN THE SERIES FOR VIN SCULLY. MAY YOUR DAY BE BLESSED

  2. Here’s to the values of work: hard work, which the entire franchise has endured in order to develop over the past five years; teamwork, which has allowed the team to survive and thrive even when challenged by misfortune and injuries and; workmanlike performance, with every individual, the team, and organization doing the duties and tasks needed to succeed and finally, brainwork; as the FAZ driven front office and organizational development group provided the Dodgers with the stats, sabermetric driven theory and coaching development necessary for the long term success we all are enjoying. WORK ON, DODGERS, WORK ON.

  3. Great post Mark, you hit all the highlites.

    Congratulations to the Dodgers and all us loyal fans who are enjoying what might be the best season ever!

    I want to see a Dodger Yankee World Series and the same results we had in 1963.

    I am confident that the team will play well. We likely get Cory back and I am so glad to see Cody come out of his funk and start hammering the ball.

    Being on the national stage could serve elevate the value of some lesser known players. Case in point Charlie Culberson.

  4. First, the players are doing their jobs. They played great defense. They did not swing at bad pitches. They fouled off many pitches until they got their pitch. Our starters were very good and the bull pen was in lock down mode.

    Second, Roberts and coaching staff made many good decisions. Moving Maeda to the pen was a great move.

    Third, FAZ made all the right moves. Bellinger, Morrow, and Taylor were in the minors when the season started. Darvish, Cingrani, Granderson and Watson were added before trading deadline. We did not give up the farm kids we wanted to keep for these acquisitions. Barnes played himself into a starting position.

    We have four more games to win. However, if we continue to use the formula they have been using, I have hopes we will win.

    This team is so different from last years team there is no comparison. What can you say about Culbertson. The big moment did not scare him. Puig finally listened.

  5. Like everyone else here, I have waited 29 years for this day. In their first 30 years in LA, I got to experience 9 WS teams, and 5 WS championships, but nothing since that magical 1988 team. Just like the season, the NLCS was a TEAM effort. A team put together by the small market minded FAZ. For those who criticized FAZ with their commentary that this is not the Rays or A’s, you were right. These are the Dodgers and they are the 2017 NL Champs on their way to the WS.
    .
    While it was great and worthy that CT3 and JT were co-MVP’s, the award could have gone to many others. How about Brandon Morrow/Kenley Jansen or the entire bullpen. 19 innings of shutout ball over the 5 games. Only 7 base runners (4 hits, 2 HBP, and 1BB). And 22 K against that 1 walk. The bullpen only had the one ill advised pitch by Brandon Morrow or they would have allowed 0 earned runs in the playoffs. They have been brilliant. Or how about journeyman Charlie Culberson who came in to replace All Star Corey Seager at SS and was flawless offensively and defensively? Yasiel Puig? Kike’ Hernandez? Yu Darvish? This was as much fun of a series that I can ever remember.
    .
    And what can you say about the moves Doc Roberts made throughout the NLCS? They were spot on. He out-managed Joe Maddon, and that is great praise. Even the small criticism he received for his Game 4 lineup may prove to be a huge foresight. Maybe giving those AB’s to Utley/Granderson/Ethier in Game 4 will payoff in a WS game. Who thought Kike’ was capable of doing what he did? After all it wasn’t Madbum on the hill. I will not be surprised to see any of the three AARP left handers getting a key hit in a WS game.
    .
    Listening to Rick Monday and Charlie Steiner was far better than Brian Anderson and Ron Darling. I was too nervous to just sit down and watch the game, so I got up and went for a 4 mile walk to listen to the game. When I got back home, I was not turning off the radio until the end, so I watched the game and listened to Charlie and Mo.
    .
    Later I turned on MLB Tonight and listened. I know Harold Reynolds has never been supportive of the Dodgers, but he sure was last night. I think he was celebrating right along with the Dodgers. It was not so much of the game, but the family atmosphere and the TRUE friendship in the dugout. He was especially impressed with Joc who was jumping up and down acting like a schoolyard kid with Kike’s last HR. While we all recognize that MLB is a business, baseball is still a game being played by big kids. And I do believe that is what Harold saw last night.
    .
    Great team effort. 11 runs with 16 hits, including three each from Belly, Culberson, and of course Kike’. A big two run double for Logan. Clayton was great. Got the much anticipated big playoff win. Now get ready for Game 1 of the WS. I do not care who it is. Bring on the Yankstros.

  6. Ron Darling accused Yasiel of poor sportsmanship last night for turning it on and scoring from first with a headlong slide. What did you think?

      1. He’s an idiot and he’s still pissed about Utley’s slide. And he doesn’t know how…to …end…a…sentence. I watched the games muted. Much more enjoyable.

  7. I saw my first Dodgers game in 88 funnily enough – and 2 years later I was back for a year living in Venice Beach.
    Doesn’t seem like 29 years ago!

    Loved last night – most relaxed I’ve been watching such an important game.
    However I have a question that I’m sure you guys will be able to answer.

    Although I love baseball, and am able to follow it more than ever before, I guess some of the nuances of the game still puzzle me.
    I think I might have missed something that Puig did after scoring from 1st with a head first dive into Homeplate?
    The commentators seemed to infer that somehow he had disrespected the Cubs players in some way.
    It seemed that they believed JT was admonishing Puig as he was seen talking in his ear, and JT was pissed at him?
    It was almost as if they were saying that Puig shouldn’t have scored from 1st because in some way this was not in the spirit of the game?
    Surely this cannot be right, because Taylor did the same thing & nothing was said.
    Now, I’ve been a critic of Puig for his antics in the past, but all I saw was a player going all out to score a run to help his team win a NLCS Championship. Every single run is important I would have thought.

    So the question is – did I miss something or do I just not understand Baseball etiquette?
    To be honest it annoyed me as Puig was cool for the whole series as far as I could see?

  8. Watford, I do not think you missed anything. I heard what you heard. I think the announcers made up a bunch of BS. They have no idea what JT said to Puig. If I had to guess what JT said, and I do not know, was that Puig should run hard at all times. He slowed down when running the bases and made the play a lot closer than it needed to be. The conversation was very short. Whatever JT said did not need a lot of explanation.

  9. That was a real pleasure watching the game last night. Kershaw pitching with no pressure. Cubs fans looking shocked and depressed. Kike having the game of his life. Ron Darling having nothing important to say. (Wait, that’s every game) The Dodgers celebrating on the field with more than a few fans cheering. The trophy presented by Torre to Mark Walter. Seeing Freidman, Roberts, Kasten and Tommy Lasorda shaking hands and hugging. JT and CT sharing their award and getting doused by Kenley and Puig. Watching the guys make the Giles trophy into a beer bong! Good stuff I will never forget. I hope Verlander deals and forces a game 7 which becomes all hands on deck for both teams. There has to be a spot for Culberson on the WS roster, he was huge stepping in for Cory. Mark you took a victory lap but have been a true believer all along and deserve it!

  10. The roster will be interesting. Chase Utley will not be left of the roster despite 2 Ofers. That’s just silly. If Seager is back it will come down to Culberson or Farmer being removed. I doubt Granderson gets removed. I could be wrong. I would rather see Joc than Granderson at this point.

    1. Agree – but Joc looks like he’s trying to pull every pitch he sees.

      Culberson & Chase stay – Granderson doesn’t.

      What about Avilan?

      1. Watford, who the heck knows who will be in the WS roster. But my guess is that it will be Seager replacing Farmer. Without going through the plays, I can remember only one time when in NLCS Game 4 where Barnes came in as catcher after Charlie Culberson pinch ran for Grandal after one of Grandal’s walks. Grandal only participated in Game 4. Farmer appeared as a PH in 4 of the 5 games. So having the extra catcher was used only one time. Culberson can be the RH PH replacing Farmer.
        .
        Both the Astros and Yankees position players consist of 7 RH, 4 LH, and 2 SH, thus no difference for which to make a decision. If NY, you may want more LHRP to match up with RH hitting to stay away from the short RF porch. But who would go? Stripling is the obvious choice, but with DH, Stripling can go longer than Avilan if necessary allowing for the extra bat. But after the NLCS the bullpen had, I cannot see Doc making any changes.
        .
        I think fans may be fed up to their eyeballs with Granderson, but I do not think that Roberts is. I think he believes Grandy has at least one more critical AB in him, and trusts him more than Joc. Neither Utley or Ethier will be off the roster. Again Doc trusts that there will be at least one more critical AB for them. He likes veterans. Plus only Grandy and Utley have been to a WS, so their leadership will be counted on.
        .
        Bottom line – I see one change…Seager for Farmer.

    2. I agree on Utley, but would swap out Joc for Grandy Golden Sombrero and Culberson for Farmer. Culby is insurance for Cory and a RH pinch hitter and versatile. If they want Farmer too they haven’t really needed Stripling so far. I don’t want to see Granderson get another at bat after that foul tip that wasn’t fiasco. We should know in a few days Cory’s status.

  11. Damn, I want to go to LA. I’ve been to a Super Bowl and a Heavyweight title fight. I want to go to a World Series.

          1. I spent 11 hours in Houston three weeks ago. That was enough.

            I used to get Press Passes before Guggenheim took over. No more! That came to an end.

            I used to take a photographer with me too. Roger Dodger (R.I.P.) went with me several times. Four years ago, I took my IT Manager with me and he got to sit in the photographers area on the field while I sat in the pressbox.

            I was checking flights to LA for Monday and my oldest son called and said he was flying home for the week next Monday. I love the Dodgers, but I love my son more, so I’m staying in Indy. Maybe if it goes 7…

  12. In other baseball news, it appears that Bob Geren is out as a candidate for the Mets Managerial job. Hitting coach Kevin Long is the favorite, while ChiSox bench coach Joe McEwing, Mariners 3rd base coach Manny Acta, and Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway are the other candidates.
    .
    Dusty Baker is out as Nationals manager. That makes John Farrell and Dusty Baker two managers that have won back to back divisions out as manager.
    .
    Alex Cora is the big front runner for the Red Sox managerial job.
    .
    Ron Gardenhire is the new manager for the Detroit Tigers. That is a very good hire.

  13. DodgerRick, where are you????? You freaked out hard when we had our bad spell, and you swore we couldn’t “flip the switch”!!!

    Come back! It’s all fun in here now!

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