Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

National League Championship Series Game 6 chat

For the Dodgers’ first official Game 6 since October 11, 1988, I’m quivering. At least 52 batters will come to the plate tonight, and any one of them could decide the fate of the evening .. and beyond. We could be witnesses to history, or infamy.

And that’s just tonight.

World Series tickets go on sale Saturday, unless they don’t. Hanley Ramirez’s absence from the starting lineup will hurt the Dodgers, unless it doesn’t. Winter is coming, unless it’s not.

I can’t help think that all these games are tests of fortune, not of strength. The line between greatness and mediocrity, between glory and ignominy, is way too thin for us to invest so much meaning into.

And yet, we do. How good will it feel if we keep this going? No words.

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5:37 p.m.

Carl Crawford, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Andre Ethier, CF
Juan Uribe, 3B
A.J. Ellis, C
Nick Punto, SS
Clayton Kershaw, P

Update: Hanley Ramirez is a last-minute insertion into the starting lineup, batting fourth. Yasiel Puig drops below Ethier to sixth and pushes down Juan Uribe and A.J. Ellis.


But can they hit?


What happened in a disastrous Dodger third inning


  1. NoahUCLA

    Assuming both pitchers are on their A game, it will come down to the top 3 in the batting order for the Crads vs. the 3-5 hitters in our lineup.

  2. Eli Van Sickel

    A wonderfully written post as always, Jon.

  3. ASW1

    For some reason, Wednesday’s game – maybe because of the early start, there was no time for it to build – I was not feeling nervous at all about. I’m already nervous for this one and there is still two hours to go before 1st pitch.

  4. B Martin

    Tonight will be a test of faith. Either it does end tonight or doesn’t. I’m just glad I have the Xanax ready by my side.

    • NoahUCLA

      I read this the first time as Ethier does it tonight or doesn’t. Even though it’s not what it says, I guess he is on my mind, because with the great righty they have on the mound tonight, he could be a huge piece for the blue. Imagine if we all actually played in the game? How many Xanax would they need to give us then?

  5. Eddie Barillas

    Jon and anyone else,

    I’m 24. I’ve never been this far in the playoffs with our boys. I’ve been following Dodger Thoughts (thanks for coming back) as well as Mike on MSTI and the gents from SOSG for a few years now. Never posted a damn thing, but arguably have enjoyed the comments as much as the threads.

    I’m at work, in my cubicle, and all I’ve been able to do is keep refreshing these pages for a new post and some type of positive vibe from you guys. So thanks for calming my nerves for two minutes before watching the biggest Dodger game of my life to date. I’ll now return to refreshing MSTI and my twitter feed in absolute panic.

    • Eli Van Sickel

      As a 25 year old, I feel your pain. My dad has always told me about how I was a few months old, sitting on his lap when the Gibson home run hit, but I’ve certainly never been cognizant for a Dodgers October run. I’m sitting in front of my television now and am not moving until the last pitch is thrown. As nerve-wracking an evening as I can remember ever experiencing.

      • Eddie Barillas

        Thanks a lot Eli. My dad is 71, so he’s seen plenty of awesome Dodger baseball. I’d like to get a WS in with him if at all possible. This is supposed to be fun.

    • ASW1

      Man – I was 21 the last time the Dodgers won the WS – I’d already witnessed and rooted on the ’81 Dodgers on their way to securing the WS Championship when I was 14. Hard to believe someone could be 24 and never see the Dodgers be Champs in their lifetime.

    • You’re due. Let’s do this.

  6. Bryan A. Vargas

    Big picture: it’s nerve-wrecking to be in this position, but we’re just two wins away from a World Series appearance. We should be contenders year after year, and it finally looks like we have an ownership group genuinely committed to making that reality. Enjoy the game everyone, and here’s hoping to many more nerve-wrecking games in the years to come.

  7. WBBsAs

    I have my complaints about Mattingly, but I will not second-guess him for sitting Hanley tonight.

  8. DeucesAreWild

    So what happens if it rains tonight. Say, in the 4th inning for a couple of hours. Do we come back with Ryu? Or do we go with Ricky? Volquez? Bullpen by committee?

    • B Martin

      I think we hope it doesn’t rain.

    • ASW1

      No rain – unless it’s after the 5th and the Dodgers are winning.

      • Casey Barker

        Nevermind – just saw btimmer’s comment below.

    • I don’t think that’ll happen, but my guess is that Kershaw would return no matter the delay. Otherwise, committee.

      • dalegribel

        Agreed. If we see Volquez in this series, it will be through tears in our eyes.

    • NoahUCLA

      If we’re winning, we play through rain, sleet or snow. If we’re losing, then shut the game down immediately and hope for a better day tomorrow from anybody.

      • dalegribel

        Win tonight, then rain long enough to bring Greinke back.

  9. dalegribel

    Let’s go Blue!!
    Been a long time since I’ve been this nervous about a ballgame.
    Some excellent Tweets by Jon today regarding fans and behavior. Thanks.

  10. NoahUCLA

    It makes me sad to see an 0-1 with a 0.00 era for Kershaw so far in the NLCS. Let’s hope it becomes 1-1 with a 0.00 era after this game. That’ll still be a little sad, but less.

    • ASW1

      I’m hoping that seeing Wacha a second time will be the difference – seeing Kershaw a second time doesn’t feel like it will help the Cards as much as seeing Wacha a second time will help the Dodgers – that’s my hope, anyways.

  11. Diana Gonzales

    My stomach is in knots. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through these next 2 games. I do find however that listening to Vin on the AM 570 feed during the game helps with my nerves.

    I was 10 in 1988, and became a Dodger fan during that World Series. I truly hope to attend my very first World Series game next week.

    • RBI

      Yes, indeed. Me, too!

      • NoahUCLA

        I was 7 in 1981, growing up in NY as a Dodger fan, when the rest of my clan were Yankee fans. Went to game 6 clincher in ’81. My first Dodger game. Didn’t get to go to another Dodger playoff game again until 2008, when I was living out in LA at DS.

        • I was just short of nine during the 1959 WS, and the LA Times was absolutely giddy about this brand-new team getting into it so quickly. I got the baseball bug that fall.

    • Eddie Barillas

      Me too!

  12. WinnipegDave

    Game score guesses for the starting pitchers tonight: Kershaw a cool 90 and Wacha a solid 73. Dodgers win 3-1.

    Or something like that.

  13. btimmer

    Postseason games are not shortened for rain. The game would be suspended if it cannot continue because of rain, no matter what inning the game is in.

    • NoahUCLA

      Interesting. I didn’t know that for some reason. So, if it’s raining in the 7th or 8th inning, you put Jansen in and then he can pitch the 7th or 8th one day and then come back and pitch the rest of the game the next day. I like it!! Or Ryu pitches Saturday for a few innings, and then Greinke comes back on short rest on Sunday to pitch us to the 8th.

  14. RBI

    I just heard that Wainwright refused to give an interview regarding Gsme 7 because there would not be a Game 7. Them’s fightin’ words!

  15. RBI

    Okay, time to go put on my lucky Dodger’s ’88 championship t-shirt. Toes still blue. Good luck, everyone!

    • dalegribel

      Dodger Hawaiian shirt for me.

    • ASW1

      C’mon, blue toes! C’mon! Don’t fail us now!

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      My version of that shirt is nearly a rag. My Jackie Robinson shirt worked in person three times in postseason games at Dodger Stadium, but I’m wearing the LCS shirt I got there Monday. It attracted attention today, from a Dodger AND a Cardinals fan.

    • foul tip

      Way late on this. But is that a version of feets-don’t-fail-me-now? ;-])

  16. btimmer

    Looks Hanley Ramirez found some industrial strength painklillers.

  17. Casey Barker

    Sheffield on Puig – “what you see is what you get.” I like his analysis.

  18. KT

    Let’s Go BLUE!!!!…6 more wins Dodgers…Your Turn Clayton…Let’s make the number 5!!!!

  19. Adam Luther

    No way Kershaw loses two in a best-of-seven-I just don’t see it. It’ll either be a win or a no decision.

  20. Adam Luther

    Here we go indeed!!

  21. Bob_Hendley

    SVS finally gets on the field.

  22. Bob_in_Vegas

    Nice start . . . and omen?

  23. Bob_Hendley

    CC motors!

  24. Adam Luther

    Ramirez in the four spot is more to protect A-Gon me thinks…

  25. WBBsAs

    Don thinking bunt already?

  26. das411

    ….Dee would not have GdIntothatDP

    • Bob_Hendley

      Yeah, he wouldn’t have hit the ball so hard.

    • ASW1

      And yeah, having Dee field 2nd base would be interesting as well.

  27. WBBsAs

    I’m relieved Don didn’t risk a hit and run.

  28. Spence

    Its really too bad Puig cant hit #2 in this series.

  29. How many DPs have we hit into in this series? Seems like close to ten.

    Edited: Twelve in the nine games of the NLDS and NLCS.

  30. Spence

    That was smoked

  31. ASW1

    Big strike zone for both pitchers so far.

    • Adam Luther

      Home plate ump trying to get the game in due to the forecast.

    • RBI

      Feel like Kersh getting fewer calls than Wacha.

  32. Bob_in_Vegas

    Kid K!

  33. Bob_in_Vegas

    Shut ’em down, Kersh!

  34. Adam Luther

    With a 2-2 count batters hitting .164 career vs. KShaw.

  35. Bob_in_Vegas


  36. KT

    Now let’s scratch

  37. For a change let’s slug!

  38. Bob_in_Vegas

    I didn’t see it and I haven’t heard anyone suggest that Kelly was trying to hit Hanley, but it’s a shame — bordering on more, thinking about “what could have been” — that the Cardinals have benefited from that injury.

    • WBBsAs

      It did not look intentional.

    • ASW1

      It wasn’t intentional I don’t think but yeah, it sure was a HUGE help for the Cards, no doubt.

  39. kngoworld

    After we win tonight, is anyone planning on purchasing WS tickets tomorrow morning?

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      It’s on my To Do list. Make sure you sign up to follow the Dodgers on Twitter — they give you a code which allows you to go on earlier than the general public. It’s only 15 minutes this time — Sept. 20th, it was a full hour and I easily got a ticket for Home Game 1 of the LDS and LCS, exactly what I wanted.

      • kngoworld

        Thanks, do you need to actually follow them or can you just visit the Dodgers Twitter page,, and steal the code?

        • Bob_in_Vegas

          Don’t know about the latter. I just know that I follow them and checked into Twitter and it was right there.

      • KT

        season ticket holders got their chance to buy tickets starting today

  40. Adam Luther

    Wacha working quickly…

    • ASW1

      Man, he’s good.

      • Bob_in_Vegas

        And putting together some string of games — let’s hope that string ends for this season today!

      • Bob_Hendley

        We got five hits off of him in six innings last time. But didn’t string them together.

  41. NoahUCLA

    We can’t touch this guy. Not a good start.

  42. Bob_in_Vegas

    Get the K, Kid!

  43. ASW1

    Good baserunning there

  44. Bob_in_Vegas


  45. Bob_in_Vegas

    C’mon, Kersh!

  46. Bob_in_Vegas

    Kid K!!!!

  47. Bob_in_Vegas

    As disconcerting as the two consecutive WPs were — especially with memories of last week’s killer PB — I was surprisingly calm. If anyone could get out of it, it’s Kershaw. . . . And that’s how I feel about this game: the odds are tough and one never knows what the offense is going to do . . . but the ball is in the hand of the best pitcher we’ve got . . . that ANYONE has!

  48. Bob_in_Vegas

    Offense: picture Braves pitchers up there — you CAN support Kersh!

  49. Bob_in_Vegas

    C’mon, Kersh — show them how to do it!

  50. Bob_in_Vegas

    Stay tough, Clay — get him!

  51. ASW1

    That throw has to go to 2nd base

  52. WBBsAs


  53. Spence

    Cant let Beltran get to 2nd on that ball Puig. Bad mistake

  54. rumped6

    This is what I feared. This is NOT Clayton at his best. He’s a little tired,
    a little pressured, IMO.

    He had no pitch to get rid of Carpenter in this third inning.
    It’s going to be very hard for the Ds to win this….

    And Beltran just this moment got his second hit to score what may be
    the winner.

  55. Bob_in_Vegas

    So, was this the first bonehead play by Puig? Still wouldn’tve stopped the first run.

  56. Bob_in_Vegas

    One more, Kersh — limit the damage.

  57. Spence

    That 2nd run might be the game. Cards just own Kershaw this year.

  58. Bob_in_Vegas

    That’;s on Puig. But he can get it back.

  59. Spence

    Honeycutt you might want to go out and talk to him.

  60. Bob_in_Vegas

    Puig is actually exonerated.

  61. Adam Luther

    What an AB by Carpenter in retrospect.

  62. Bob_in_Vegas

    I know how the Cards’ fans feel — just like we did vs. Wainwright on Monday.

  63. Bob_in_Vegas

    Get the K, Kersh!

  64. Adam Luther

    Big pitch here…

  65. Spence

    70 pitches thru 3. Hitters are just grinding Kershaw. They did this to him a few years ago.

  66. Bob_in_Vegas

    (shaking my head)

  67. Bob_Hendley

    Bloody blue.

  68. ASW1

    Umpire piling on now

  69. Spence

    This ump changes his strike zone depending on if the batter is right handed or left handed.

  70. Spence

    Well this game is over

  71. Bob_in_Vegas

    I knew it was a possibility, but never pictured this . . .

    • DS1981

      There’s no rhyme or reason to baseball. You should picture everything you can.

  72. ASW1

    Chalk those two runs up to the homeplate ump

  73. RBI

    I don’t want to whine, but man, that ump is squeezing Clayton.

  74. Spence

    Clayton’s been great all season but he picked a bad night to have his worst start of the year.

  75. das411

    oh NOW that’s a strike??

  76. Team’s gotta hit now.

  77. das411

    How soon we forget…6-0 nationals, 4th inning, 96.3% win probability…just last year…

  78. Adam Luther

    The Dodgers still need to score to win which has nothing to do with the starting pitcher’s performance.

  79. WBBsAs

    Steiner calls swing and a miss, and a chunk breaks off the bat.

  80. Pinch-hit for Kershaw if his slot comes up this inning?

  81. Spence

    I suppose the 2011 draft should have been Jose Fernandez/Michael Wacha at 1/2.

  82. WBBsAs

    Beltrán stumbles, and Steiner calls it spectacular.

  83. Bob_Hendley

    Got some wood on the ball that inning.

  84. 4d3fect

    All right, time to break out the Puig B***h machine.

  85. Benzojones

    its only the 5th inning and we still have Michael Young on the bench… we’re fine.

  86. Bob_Hendley


  87. RBI

    Painful game so far.

  88. das411

    ….is he hurt??

  89. Bob_in_Vegas

    What a shame for Kershaw’s last game of the year . . .

    • Adam Luther

      Well I never thought that he’d lose two in a series. A no decision is a remote possibility.

      • Bob_in_Vegas

        He got a “loss” in Game 2 but there’s no way he lost that. . . . Today is another matter, especially with the offense’s struggles (even tho they apparently come by them honestly with Wacha).

  90. Bob_in_Vegas

    Silver Lining Dept.: We know this isn’t the real Kershaw.
    We expect Puig to mature as a player and mold his raw talent into something consistently awesome.
    We expect the Return of the Bison.
    We hope for Bills to return to the form he last had on the mound.

  91. 4d3fect

    Well, stranger things have happened, but..

  92. XJill

    Bad night for Kershaw to become un-Kershaw. Of course the fat lady hasn’t sung but…

  93. I remember Game 7, 1985. Tudor melted down for the Cards, as did Andujar, and the Royals beat the Cards 11 – 0. This looks very like that.

  94. Spence

    Rather epic choke job by the Dodgers tonight. To get blown out with Kershaw on the mound is not accceptable..

    • “Choke?” Not a word I’d use. A tired team with multiple injuries, yes.

      • Spence

        I’d use choke for Kershaw. He didnt have it in the biggest game of his career. Going to be a long off-season for the young man. Not many times does the Cy Young winner get clobbered in an elimination game to end his season.

        • XJill

          I worry about Kershaw after this; has he ever imploded in a big game like this? Might be hard to shake.

          • Bob_in_Vegas

            If anyone can, I believe he can — and will. The problem is it takes waiting all year to be in the same position to truly prove it. And there’s no guarantee of returning, tho I think the Dodgers will be even stronger next year, with the return of Matt.

          • XJill

            Yeah, that’s what I worry about, now you’ve got the offseason to play the “what if/why” game instead of having another start soon to shake it off. Definitely tough but I’m sure he’ll be okay.

        • DS1981

          You’re one of those baseball fans who still think baseball playoffs is something more than just lottery?

          • Spence

            I dont think expecting Kershaw to be good should be akin to winning the lottery.

          • DS1981

            Out of the tens of games that a great starting pitcher like Kershaw pitches each year, there will beat at least one where he gets lit. That one just happened to be today. That’s lottery.

        • Bob_in_Vegas

          I don’t think it’s choking, but it’s definitely not coming up big.

          I believe he knew the offense wasn’t going to score much — if at all — and that put even more pressure on him. (If we get frustrated with the offense, and we do, it would only be human for it to play on the pitchers.)

          Plus — as Vinny pointed out — the Carpenter AB was a huge indicator but even before that, there were the 2 WPs and the fact he wasn’t able to throw it past many — so something may be off physically.

        • 258 innings. That’s a ton.

          • Spence

            I agree its alot. I think if anything I’m more concerned about how he bounces back next year. Matt Cain wasnt able too after putting a ton of innings on his arm.

  95. When does Vin come back on so I can at least have that comfort?

    • Blue-eyed Gal

      Top of the 7th. That’s what I’ve been thinking too.

      *raises my non alcoholic bev to fellow fans in our time of trial.*

      I wish my classics major training hadn’t been making me think “hubris” at game start during the holdup. Of course it’s just the lottery of post season (ans a bit of a tight strike zone), but it’s hard not to be superstitious.

  96. 4d3fect

    Well, what else can happen here?

  97. Spence

    9-0 are you kidding me?

  98. RBI

    No longer nervous.

  99. We only need 3 runs for the next 3 innings and then 4 in the 9th. That would be fun.

  100. RBI

    Now I’m just hoping it isn’t a shutout.

  101. das411

    one hit? that’s all we got, one [rule1] hit?

  102. Spence

    Skip getting a standing o.

  103. DS1981

    Since the game is over, something i’ve noticed about the cardinals stadium over the years. St louis is a majority african american city and yet in busch stadium it’s nothing but middle aged white dudes. What’s up with that?

  104. Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    And you, my father, there on the sad height,
    Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
    Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    • Blue-eyed Gal

      I keep growling “fight” under my breath. That’s all I ask now.

      ETA: in the metaphorical sense, I mean. To keep striving, whatever the score.

  105. KT

    Well the one good thing about having a very sick 3 year old is I’ve only seen them score 1 run….so to me it’s still 1-0…we can come back from that

    • RBI

      Now that is funny, KT. (Hope your bairn feels better soon!)

    • Bob_in_Vegas

      That works for me, KT. Since I’m just listening to it, I haven’t seen them score at all . . . so it’s a scoreless tie?
      This is definitely living up to the description of “Dodger Thoughts” and finding ways to deal psychologically with the Dodgers!

  106. Benzojones

    wife asked me why I’m still watching. Valid question, but I like this team.

  107. Benzojones

    so much for my Michael Young theory…

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