Friday’s game lasted five hours, covered 12 passes and included 17 pitchers.
Saturday’s game was down to an inch.
It was almost the distance between Petko Park’s outside grass and the baseball that protruded from Mookie Betts’ glove, barely sure enough to put another exclamation mark in an exciting game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.
It was the bottom of the ninth, there were two outs, the Dodgers led by two, Padres had two runners in goal-scoring position and both teams had gone through another April game with the intensity of nail biting in October. Bates, playing center field for the injured Cody Bellinger, broke to the left, sprinted seven steps and threw himself to Tommy Pham̵
Bates secured it in the heel of his glove, becoming a game with a 10% chance of being caught in the Dodgers’ 2-0 victory. He got to his knees, patted his chest three times and roared at the crowd, which was mostly she fell silent. Moments later, in an on-site interview with the Dodgers affiliate, Bates said he was “somehow eclipsed.”
Mookie Betts dives to end the game and secure the Dodgers’ victory over the Padres.
These were such series.
“It’s different,” said Padres starter Darwish, who allowed only one to go through seven dominant innings through his interpreter. “I saw him yesterday.”
Friday’s madness spilled over into Saturday’s classic match between Darwish and Clayton Kershaw, which resulted in just one run in the first eight innings – at a base loaded by Kershaw, by all – and ended with a brilliant defense, as opposed to 24-hour negligence. earlier.
The Dodgers have won eight in a row, continue to lead the bigs in the win rate and have won 13 of their first 15 games for only the second time in 100 years.
They have risen to match the intensity of a Padres team, so noticeably eager to bring them down to the top of the National League West, but not necessarily to force it. They rested with their sick players, avoided overuse of their relievers, and talked about this series with the ease that can be expected for baseball at the beginning of the season, even if the games didn’t feel anything like it.
“It’s April,” said third base Dodgers Justin Turner. “The thing about this club and our team over the last few years is that we talk a lot about playing it in one game and worrying about today and doing everything we can to win a game today and not worry about what happened. yesterday and not to look ahead to what lies ahead tomorrow. I think a lot of teams talk about it, but this team is one of the best bands I’ve ever been to, really doing that and not letting the moment get too big. “
Kershaw played regularly with Darwish for the last three months of the 2017 season, but he had never faced him – you know, as a striker – until Saturday. He was retired on four pitches in his first record appearance, then entered 2-2 in his second. It was the fifth inning, the bases were loaded with two outs, Darwish was eliminated by three strikers from the developing perfect game – and so began one of the greatest sequences in Kershaw’s offensive career, a collection of four pitches that embodied intensity, unpredictability and a pure coincidence of this novice rivalry.
Slide out onto the plate, with a false foul.
The cutter is low and far, with a foul.
Cutter up and away, taken for a ball.
Cutter slightly away, taken for a ball.
Kershaw took a walk – on a perfectly placed cutter that only removed the very edges of the impact zone – to give way, only for the second time in his 14-year career in the major leagues. Until Turner unleashed a solo homer at the top of the ninth, it was the only performance of the game. In the end, that was the difference.
“I’m just trying to be annoying, really,” Kershaw said of his approach. “I wouldn’t hit him, he’s got too good stuff. He’s just trying to annoy me as much as I can.”
In the previous half-inning, Kershaw shouted at Erikson Profar, “It’s bulls — swing!” He barked, to swing so late that he grabbed his bat on Austin Barnes’s glove and was awarded first base by the hunter’s intervention. Kershaw later complained that Profar had swung “straight down and back,” adding that it was “not a big swing in the league.”
Two innings later, Trent Grisham found himself at second base, but didn’t read the defense accurately behind him and broke late on Manny Machado’s sharp ground inside, advancing just 90 feet. The next bully, Will Myers, hit a primer at 106 miles per hour, which hit the mound and landed in Chris Taylor’s glove to double the inning.
Kershaw, who contributed six unsuccessful frames and did not allow a run in 18 consecutive innings, could not help but smile as he returned to the dugout.
Myers looked stunned.
It wouldn’t be the last time.