06 August 2009

Thirst Quencher

I think I speak for more than a few Dodger fans when I say that even more than the possibility of Manny coming up in the ninth inning I was looking forward to Ethier coming up. Manny was the secondary hope of that inning, and not just because of his undeniable slump, but because Ethier has been so good. Could it be that Ethier is, right now, a better hitter than Manny? I don't know what the stats say, what reason says, but the game-winning home run says yes. Tonight belongs to the home run, so Ethier moves to the top.

In the ninth inning Braves closer Soriano kept stumbling backwards and never could find his balance. First he fell behind to Pierre, then ran the count full, then hit a patch of bad luck when Pierre hit a dying roller up the third base line. Then Furcal hit a bounding ball just out of reach of the first baseman. Another bit of iffy luck. And then Soriano missed on his first two pitches to Ethier. That was all it took. Just like that Soriano and the Braves were doomed, and the Dodgers had won. It can happen so fast, so easily. A little bit of bad luck, a few pitches that miss their location, and then a catch-up in the count pitch that streaks low over the heart of the plate ...

... right into the waiting arms of Ethier's teammates as they mob him after the knock-off home run.

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