One swing. The difference between going home and advancing to the team’s third World Series appearance in four years was one swing. 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger stood at the plate. A 6’4 frame with one of the most powerful swings in all of baseball, Bellinger possessed the tools to give Los Angeles the lead they so desperately desired with his raw strength and talent.
Bottom of the seventh inning, Bellinger ripped a fly ball sent deep in the right-field bleachers for the go-ahead 4-3 Dodger lead. The moonshot left no doubt in the thousands of fans in attendance as well as the millions tuning in at home that the Dodgers, who just needed to contain the Braves for six more outs, would head to yet another World Series.
Not only did they contain the Braves, but reliever Julio Urias held Atlanta hitless for the six remaining outs to give the Dodgers the game seven victory and a date with the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.
“Tonight, was his moment. I trusted him. He was throwing the baseball well, and I wanted him to finish that game,” said Dave Roberts on letting Julio Urias close out the game.
Game seven is the granddaddy of them all. Nothing else matters when playing in a game seven except coming out on top, by any means necessary. Dave Roberts took the by any means necessary approach literal, having five pitchers take the mound throughout the game.
Dustin May received the start and struggled early. May walked the first two batters of the game leaving Dodger faithful thinking, ‘here we go again’. Marcell Ozuna scored Ronald Acuna Jr off an RBI single.
In the second inning, Tony Gonsolin replaced Dustin May immediately giving up a home run to Dansby Swanson, the first batter he faced. LA quickly trailed 2-0.
Dodger catcher Will Smith has been nothing short of clutch this series. Bottom of the third inning, Max Muncy on second and Justin Turner on third after a Muncy double, the clutch catcher came through again. Smith singled, scoring both runners and tying the game 2-2.
Atlanta regained momentum on an Austin Riley single scoring Ozzie Albies for a 3-2 Braves lead in the top of the fourth. Another daunting task was on the Dodgers to-do list. Ahead a run and momentum in their favor, you could sense the sigh of relief in the Braves dugout. Atlanta forgot one important thing; the Dodgers have Mookie Betts.
Braves power bat Freddie Freeman tee’d up a soaring fly ball to right field. Freeman got so much air under the ball it felt like an eternity before it would drop. Mookie Betts backpedaled slowly to the wall. Betts’ movement was so calm and nonchalant the first assumption would be Freeman clearly crushed the home run. That was the thought until Betts skied higher than imaginable bringing back a guaranteed home run, saving a possible two-run Braves lead.
All the momentum shifted in favor of the Dodgers. Betts made run-saving plays in games five and six halting Atlanta’s momentum and it was only right of Betts to make another jaw-dropping defensive run-saving play in game seven.
Dave Roberts inserted Kike Hernandez as a pinch-hitter for Joc Pederson and boy did it pay off. Hernandez launched a fly ball to center field tying the game three apiece completing the momentum Betts started.
Finally, it was time. The 6’4 former MVP showed what he was capable of on the big stage. Bellinger’s go-ahead home run completed the 3-1 series comeback putting the Boys in Blue on top along with the series victory.
Only a close team would be able to pull off a near-impossible series comeback. Mookie mentioned how the ballclub is a family.
“I know we haven’t been able to be around family, but I feel like this team is family. We spend so much time together, at the hotel, here at the field. Nobody gets tired of each other. We’re all laughing, joking. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to call family,” said Betts.
Corey Seager gained NLCS MVP honors, a well-deserved award from a massive stat line of five home runs, and eleven RBIs throughout the series.
“I have one job, get on base and let him hit me in. He’s done it all year,” said Betts about his teammate Seager.
“We’re going to enjoy it, but at the same time, the jobs not done,” said Kike Hernandez on the game seven victory.
The Dodgers reached the World Series in 2017 and 2018 but failed to get the job done. The Boys in Blue would love nothing more than to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series a title that hasn’t set foot in LA since 1988. The Series starts Tuesday on Fox at 6 pm.