By Jon Weisman
The playoffs are so relentlessly tense, I was wondering when the last time Dodger fans could sit back and revel in a postseason romp.
Turns out, there’ve been a ton of pressure-packed innings in a row. Not since October 6, 2013 — 18 Dodger playoff games ago — has Los Angeles won a postseason game by more than three runs — in modern shorthand, a game that didn’t require a save.
But even though the Dodgers tied a franchise record for runs in a playoff contest with a 13-6 victory over Atlanta in Game 3 of the 2013 National League Division Series, that game was a roller coaster, considering the Dodgers trailed 2-0 early and didn’t break it open until scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Three days earlier, the Dodgers had a wire-to-wire, 6-1 victory in Game 1 of the 2013 NLDS, taking a 5-0 lead after four innings and basically cruising behind Clayton Kershaw’s 12 strikeouts in seven innings. Was that a “kick off your shoes and relax” kind of game? It was a happy one, but I don’t recall feeling too chill until, with two runners on in the bottom of the ninth, Kenley Jansen got the final out.
Maybe I’m being greedy.
In Game 3 of the 2008 National League Championship Series on October 12, the Dodgers knocked out Jamie Moyer with five runs in the first inning and one in the second, rolling to a 7-2 win. Other than three straight hits for a run in the seventh off Hiroki Kuroda, with the Dodgers already leading by six, there was no imminent danger — just the pressure of completing a win after Los Angeles lost the first two games of the series.
Still, I think the easiest time Dodger fans have had watching a playoff game in the past 10 years was Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS (October 2). Playing with house money a day after James Loney’s grand slam propelled Los Angeles to a Game 1 victory at Wrigley Field, the Dodgers led 5-0 after two innings, 7-0 at the stretch and 9-1 heading into the ninth, on their way to a 10-3 trouncing of the Cubs.
To close off this little pregame diversionary tactic, here’s the all-time greatest Dodger playoff rout: 12-1 over the Pirates in Game 4 on October 9, 1974 in the fourth and final game of the 1974 NLCS. Punching your ticket to the World Series with an 11-run victory, behind eight innings of one-run ball from future Hall of Fame right-hander Don Sutton? With your hotshot, soon-to-be NL MVP Steve Garvey going 4 for 5 with two homers? That’ll work.