I found game one on the radio just in time. I wasn't quite in the right frame of mind for a playoff game, an opening game against the rival Phillies. The question around the game was not what chance the Dodgers had to win, but if I would even be able to follow the game. I was out of my element, in a strange place, and then I found Vinny's voice.
That was something. I don't think I've ever been happier to hear Vinny. The first three innings were like a vacation. A vacation within a vacation. Not much happened in the game during his first shift. The Dodgers scored a run and Kershaw sailed along. I wish the whole game could have been like that --- something like a visit with an old friend, and when it's done --- the Dodgers have won! No stress, no real excitement, just a slow and steady progression to a win. I would have like that Thursday night. Look, usually I love exciting games, back and forth contests, comebacks, near comebacks, but sometimes comfort is better.
But it wasn't to be, Vinny left and shortly after things started to happen. Exciting things, mostly exciting for Phillie fans at first. Like everyone else I couldn't understand why Kershaw was left in after walking Hamels. By the time it was 5-1 I sort of relaxed again, and just accepted the loss. Not being able to see the game, it was just easier that way. I gave up.
And then I had to take it back because of Chase Utley and Manny Ramirez. I suppose if I had really had the guts to give up I would have just turned it off, and spared myself the theatrics to come. By the end of the Dodgers somewhat bizarre and frustrating 8-6 loss I was kind of exhausted and wondering if the pitching would get any better. The Phillies hit very well, but it is also undeniable that the Dodgers gave them plenty too. All those walks. No way to play in the playoffs.
I did get to see today's game, arriving home in time for the opening pitch with just a few minutes to spare. I wasn't really in a proper playoff baseball frame of mind for this one either. Around the seventh inning I started thinking about what it would be like to lose a series to the Phillies for a second consecutive year. I thought about how the Dodgers should have hit at least one of their many balls in the air against Pedro for a home run. I thought about --- I don't know, not much, really. What do you think about as you watch the season come to a slow and certain end? The win arrived like an unexpected gift. And it is a gift, because now I can watch game 3 with a clear mind, in proper playoff mode, not thinking of it as a must win or anything like that, just enjoying the tension and the randomness of playoff baseball. I think the Dodgers have a great chance, even against Cliff Lee. I mean, they just survived seven shutout innings from the pitcher who got away --- what could Lee possibly do to them that is worse?