The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Last night, I kept switching between a miserable and blinding Thursday Night Football game between the Broncos/Chargers and game 5 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and the Nationals.
These two scenarios aren’t identical, but they do have one thing in common and that is that A Dodger ace came in to get a save on short or no rest. In 1988 after declaring his ace was not available Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda sent Orel “Bulldog” Hershiser to the mound in the bottom of the 12th inning on no rest after pitching 7 innings the night before to get the final out of game 5. Three days later he would fire a complete game 5 hit shutout against the Mets to clinch a trip to the World Series against the “Bash Brothers” and the Oakland A’s.
The MLB playoffs are a bit different these days with Wild Card teams/games and an additional series. Back then it was the AL East/West and NL East/West in a seven game series and the winners faced off in the World series.
Last night, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who also claimed his ace wasn’t available, sent Clayton Kershaw, out in the 9th inning with two on and one out with the Dodgers nursing a one run lead that closer Kenley Jansen had held for 2 and 1/3 innings(the longest appearance of his career). Kershaw, like Hershiser 28 years before him got the first batter out with a pop fly. The pop fly ended the game for Hershiser, but Kershaw had more work to do. He struck out the final batter to end the game and secure the win for the Dodgers who now will face the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS.
Vin Scully said the following during his last year behind the microphone.
Last night took me back to when I was 16 years old, and yeah it gave me a goose bump or three.