The best-laid plans? Blown up. Historic World Series matchups pitting coastal blue bloods? On life support. The defending champions who came back to win 101 games in a fervent effort to run it back? One loss from elimination . On a raucous Friday where postseason baseball returned to two venues largely shuttered for a decade or two in October, Major League Baseball’s Division Series took several unpredictable turns – and set up a gut-wrenching quadruple-header Saturday.
It’s happening again. The regular season dream machine is once again turning into an October aggravation. And after the Dodgers’ maddening 2-1 loss to the Padres in a raucous Petco Park on Friday, the greatest team in franchise history is on the brink of another early exit.
This is the Dodgers’ 10th consecutive year in the postseason and one more loss vs. the Padres will ensure that they’ll have just one title to show for it. Hey, it happens. The ring isn’t necessarily everything, in that playoff baseball is so erratic even in its exhilaration, teams would go crazy if they fixated so hard on every championship failure. Yet after two consecutive losses to a club it beat 14 times in 19 tries in the regular season, it’s fair to wonder how much the Dodgers do this to themselves.
Friday’s starter, Tony Gonsolin, hadn’t pitched more than two innings since Aug. 23 due to a right forearm strain. Meanwhile, healthy 15-game winner Tyler Anderson was ready to roll, but manager Dave Roberts opted for Gonsolin, reasoning that a likely shorter start would be easier to absorb following a day off.
Yet Gonsolin put them in an immediate hole. He was lucky to escape the first inning giving up just one run, then gave up a pair of loud hits in the second, hooked after just four outs. Reliever Andrew Heaney was quickly summoned, cleaned up the mess and ultimately allowed just a solo homer to Trent Grisham.