Saving Chase is a Saving Grace, saving face for L.A. — Manager (and Bruin) Dave Roberts trusts fellow Bruin Chase Utley in the ELIMINATION Game 4, and he comes through twice, with the game-winning RBI in the 8th, and the game-saving scoop-and-flip web-gem in the 9th, to force a Game 5
The Dodgers were one loss away from going out in the First Round of the National League Playoffs for the fourth time in five years. They were down 2 games to 1 against the Washington Nationals in this Best-of-5 Series, so Manager Dave Roberts decided to go with his best, most reliable players. Clayton Kershaw got the start on the mound, despite only 3 days rest, and veteran Chase Utley, who did NOT start in Game 3, got the call at Second Base. Looks like Roberts made the right calls.
Kershaw did not have his best game, but it was enough to have the Dodgers up 5-2 in the 7th. That’s when the Nats got to him, though, knocking him out. The Relievers couldn’t stop the bleeding quick enough, and Washington tied it up at 5. It stayed that way until the bottom of the 8th, when Utley, who was not having a great game so far, came up to bat with 2 Outs and runners at 1st and 2nd. Utley has been in so many crucial Postseason situations that he was not fazed at all, and he proceeded to totally come through in the clutch. Utley smacked a single to right, easily plating the runner from 2nd base to give L.A. a 6-5 lead.
As if hitting the game-winning single wasn’t enough to make the Bruin Star the Hero, Utley came through again in the top of the ninth. With two outs, Bryce Harper hit a roller between Utley and the First Baseman, who went for the ball. It looked like Harper had an infield single. But Utley charged the ball, gloved it, and while diving to the ground, flipped it from his glove directly to the Pitcher covering First to end the game. It was a remarkable, near-impossible play, made possible by the remarkable Bruin, whose experience, grit, and confidence extended the Dodgers’ season for at least one more game.
The Dodgers take on the Nats in Washington on Thrusday in Do-or-Die Game 5. They won’t have Kershaw to rely on, but something tells me Utley will be in the line-up again. The Dodgers will need all the help they can get — The Nationals will be starting Cy Young favorite Max Scherzer against L.A.’s Rich Hill. Of course the Dodgers BEAT Scherzer in Game 1 — on a game-winning RBI by Chase Utley! — but that was with Kershaw opposing him. The Dodgers will probably have to score some runs on him again– Is it possible that Utley will provide the game-winning hit in ALL THREE of the Dodger victories, to push them to a rare Second Round of the Playoffs? The Chicago Cubs are waiting to find out who they will play, and with Utley being so CLUTCH, they are probably rooting for Washington.
Speaking of rooting, here are 41 more photos of my favorite rooting stars…