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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Dodger Blue Magic

The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves in dramatic fashion last night. Veteran third baseman Juan Uribe (.278, 12 HR, 50 RBI) hit a go-ahead two run home run in the bottom of the 8th inning to put the Dodgers ahead of the Braves, 4-3. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (4-3, 1.88 ERA, 28 SV, 111 Ks, 76.2 IP) came in to nail it down in the 9th and sent the Dodgers to the National League Championship Series for the first time in four years.

The Dodgers have been the most compelling story of the 2013 MLB season. Don Mattingly was on the hot seat for his job before the (then) last place Dodgers called up a Cuban rookie right fielder named Yasiel Puig (.319, 19 HR, 42 RBI – regular season; .471, 1.029 OPS, 5 RS in the postseason) . The season became the opposite of Murphy’s Law: everything that could go right, did go right.

Shortstop Hanley Ramirez (.345, 20 HR, 57 RBI) returned to the lineup from injury and caught fire. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez appeared to return to his former borderline M.V.P.-caliber self, the same Adrian Gonzalez (.293, 22 HR, 100 RBI) who earned a nine figure free agency contract just less than three years ago. Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA, 232 Ks) pitched like the National League Cy Young Award winner he is all but assured of being in 2013. Zack Greinke (15-4, 2.63 ERA) returned to his tough-as-nails performances that made him an American League Cy Young Award winner in 2009 and a highly coveted free agent when he left the Kansas City Royals three years ago. Every day, we saw part-owner and front-man Magic Johnson with his trademark smile sitting front and center, the expression on his face saying, “I told you so!”

The 2013 NLCS, depending on Game 5 of the other National League Division Series - Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals – will either be a classic battle of baseball titans should the Cards advance or the continuation of the Cinderella story that is the Pirates’ return to baseball’s contending class. Regardless of who is on the marquis, the Dodgers will provide the electricity.

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Magic was just getting started with bringing championships to Los Angeles in the 1980s.

Image cited in a prior Hat Trick posting.

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