One of my previous articles was about Game Three of the NLDS. This article focuses on Game Three of the NLCS, which the Dodgers won, 7-2.
So if you're a Dodgers fan, you know your team is down 2-0 coming into this game. The current buzz surrounding the series are the pitches that have been dangerously close to our Dodger hitters.
Flashback to Friday: Manny gets a ball tossed behind him. Russell Martin gets one right near the chin.
Fast forward to Sunday's game. Russell Martin gets hit with a curveball on the knee. No big deal. Moyer didn't appear to be throwing at Martin intentionally. The Dodgers do their damage in the first inning, score five runs, and end up chasing Moyer in the second inning.
The Phillies bring in Clay Condrey for relief purposes. Martin is at the plate again. Condrey delivers a fastball high and tight to his face. Martin's face showed the look of a sleeping giant readying to go on a rampage.
Instead of mashing the ball, Martin hits into a double play. The cameras catch Martin slamming his helmet to the ground, throwing his helmet in the dugout, puffing his chest towards the field, then slamming a cooler.
This is exactly what the Dodgers needed and have been lacking. The Dodgers showed more emotion Sunday than in the other two NLCS games in Philly.
So what better way to vent that frustration than give the Phillies a taste of their own medicine? Hiroki Kuroda, the Dodgers' hero for the NLDS clincher, gets through the first two batters in the third inning. Shane Victorino comes up and Kuroda delivers a fastball above the head of Victorino.
Victorino begins to stare at the dugout and begins jawing at both Kuroda and Martin, telling Martin that if Kuroda is going to hit him, hit him in the ribs. Kuroda did what no other Dodger pitcher has done in a while.
He retaliated. Guess what? This is part of baseball. When I played baseball, if the opposing team began to throw knockdown pitches, your team would do the same.
The message is clear. You cannot bully your way with us.
Kuroda delivered the same type of message that the Phillies have been sending the Dodgers in this series. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver had been saying it was time for the Dodgers to stand up for themselves. They got their wish.
So after this exchange, Victorino grounds to first, Nomar Garciaparra steps on the bag and the inning is over, right? Just as Fox is about to cut their broadcast to commercial, the inevitable occurs when the benches clear. All of a sudden, a sea of Dodger blue and Philly red engulf the field.
Victorino is apparently jawing at Kuroda. Davey Lopes, the former Dodger, is squaring off with Mariano Duncan and Larry Bowa. Larry Bowa is a fiery man when he gets angry! Manny Ramirez has to be constrained by a slew of teammates. Manny is not happy that the Phillies have been throwing at him. Luckily, no punches were thrown and no one was ejected.
Warnings were issued to both benches and the game was relatively peaceful.
What irks me more is that when Victorino was interviewed after the game, he said Kuroda was the one who was jawing at him at first base. Replays clearly show it was Victorino jawing at Kuroda. Maybe Victorino doesn't realize Kuroda doesn't really speak English that well. Hey Victorino, the Dodgers have been thrown at for two games in a row. You think it might be fair that the Dodgers get some payback?
The Phillies have awoken the sleeping giant.
Anyway, the Dodgers beat the Phillies, 7-2. The momentum of this series will be decided in Game Four. Whoever takes that game will have the momentum after the off day.