Tha Sports Junkies 101

Justin Turner Walk-off, Dodgers Take Game 2

walk-off BipHoo Company/ via


The Los Angeles Dodgers have taken full advantage of their home field advantage. Sunday, Justin Turner hit a walk-off three run home run in the bottom of the ninth, 29 years to the day that Kirk Gibson hit his famous World Series Game 1 home run. Thanks to that, the Dodgers took the 4-1 win and a 2-0 series lead as they heads to Chicago.


First Four innings

Heading into Sunday night’s matchup with the Dodgers, the Cubs knew the benefits of splitting the LA games and heading back home for Game 3 and 4. Unfortunately, they were unable to score and take advantage of the Dodger’s lack of offense.

Rich Hill shined in his start against his former team on Sunday evening. The first inning he tossed 18 pitches and struck out two Cubs.  He had the help of a tough curveball to get the game started. One of those strikeouts came when Anthony Rizzo swung and missed to end the first inning.

The Cubs starter was Jon Lester, who was making his 24th career postseason appearance. Lester cruised through the first inning on only seven pitches. He was helped by an astonishing catch by center-fielder Albert Almora on a Justin Turner liner.

In the bottom of the second, Lester found himself in trouble with two walks. However, he stranded both runners after a 28-pitch inning. Still going steady, Baez made a sliding catch avoiding both Heyward and Rizzo for the second out of the inning.  Lester later allowed a walk to Yasiel Puig but he was quickly thrown out by Willson Contreras, with the help of a flashy tag by Javier Baez to end the fourth inning.

Fifth Inning Through the Eighth Inning

The Cubs were able to break a hitting slump when Addison Russell launched 1-2 pitch to left field bleacher, giving them a 1-0 lead off Hill in the fifth inning. Rich Hill completed the inning and finished the night after just five innings, allowing one run and one walk, with eight strikeouts.

The Dodgers Charlie Culberson hit a leadoff double (Corey Seager’s replacement) and Justin Turner drove him in on a single with two outs to tie the game. Lester followed that by walking his fifth batter of the day and was pulled after 4 2/3 innings and 103 pitches. He gave up the one run, but walked five and only had two strikeouts. The 4 2/3 innings was his shortest postseason start. Carl Edwards Jr. came in and got a strike out on a curve to end the inning. After five, the game was tied at one.

Dodgers Brandon Morrow needed only eight pitches to get through the sixth inning which included a Contreras strikeout. Edwards Jr. continued to pitch through the sixth inning striking out the third and fourth batters he faced. Both bullpens got through the seventh and eighth without allowing any runs. During, the Dodgers used both Josh Fields and Tony Watson, while the Cubs used Brian Duensing. Duensing came in for the favorable matchups against lefties Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson. Duensing mishandled a flip from Rizzo on Bellinger’s ground ball, and he was safe at first. Joc Pederson bunted him over and Logan Forsythe was intentionally walked to set up the double play possibility. He then got Austin Barnes to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning and prevent any runs from being scored.

Final Inning

Unlike the Cubs, Dave Roberts put in his closer Kenley Jansen, in the ninth despite no save opportunity. Jansen struck out Kris Bryant to start the inning. Kenley then got an early strike on Rizzo, but hit him with the next as he was crowding the plate. Jansen bounced back by striking out Contreras and getting Almora to ground out. The Almora at-bat ended being controversial as he had been pulled in such situations all season long.

Joe Maddon kept Duensing in to start the ninth. Yasiel Puig lead off with his third walk of the game and was moved up to second on a sac-bunt from Culberson. Kyle Farmer, who pinch-hit for Jansen, struck out swinging for the second out. Duensing was then pulled, as well as Almora, when Leonys Martin went to center and John Lackey took the mound. Chris Taylor drew a walk to put runners in scoring position and their hottest hitter came to the plate.

Lackey got behind 1-0, and on the next pitch, Justin Turner launched a walk-off three home run to center.  His three run bomb gave the Dodgers a 2-0 series lead.

Why Lackey?

Joe Maddon’s move cost them and people questioned what his reasoning was considering he had Wade Davis available. He chose Lackey instead, and said after the game, “I was just betting on his experience more than anything.”

Lackey is new to pitching on back to back days and this wasn’t the best situation for him because he tends to be a slow starter. He has 5.70 ERA (30 IP/19 ER) while allowing 18 extra base hits (including eight home runs) and eight walks. Lackey took ownership of the home run and said after the game it was “nobody’s fault but mine.”

Although that was a major issue in the game, looking at the whole game, the Cubs need to score more than one run. Maddon pushed some of the focus on that.

“We scored one run today,” Maddon said. “That’s the issue.”

Bryant, Rizzo, and Contreras have gone a combined 2 for 22 with 11 strikeouts and have left 9 runners on base. The Dodgers bullpen has yet to give up a run.

What’s Next

The series shifts to Chicago as the Cubs hope to leave Turner walk-off in the rear view mirror. The Cubs are going with Kyle Hendricks against the Dodgers Yu Darvish in Game 1.

Due to their current position, Kyle Hendricks expects a dominant performance out of himself. This will be his third postseason start of 2017 after pitching in two NLDS games agaisnt the Washington Nationals. Hendricks so far has pitched eleven innings while allowing four runs and striking out thirteen. Although he didn’t pitch against the Dodgers this season, he’s 2-1 in 3 games with a 3.15 ERA (20 IP/8 7 ER) against them for his career.

Hendricks will be going up against the Dodgers midseason acquisition, Yu Darvish. Darvish pitched five innings while allowing one run and getting seven strikeouts in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks. Darvish has only one career start against the Cubs which came on July 16, 2016. He lasted 4 1/3 innings, gave up two runs on two hits and four walks with nine strikeouts.

“We’ll come back. We’ll be back in Chicago. I know our fans will be there and they’ll be loud and before you know it, the series will be tied.” -Carl Edwards Jr