Bellinger, Dodgers beat D'backs, 3-1, to return to NLCS

ASSOCIATED PRESS

For context, we'd have to go back to 2013, when the Dodgers clinched the NL West title at Chase Field and made a decision to jump into the Diamondbacks' pool, which is right by centerfield, presumably for VIPs and whoever won some sweepstakes at a Target. You feel that energy again, that tunnel vision.

In another corner of the clubhouse, Andre Ethier, the longest-tenured Dodger, stood against a wall and contemplated the Dodgers' recent history of coming up short in October, which by extension, is also his own history. It is the third NLCS trip in the last five years for Los Angeles. "It's not something to brag about". Darvish will be a big weapon for the Dodgers down the stretch. With the series going to Chase Field, Arizona might relish returning to their hitter-friendly home environment.

At the final out, with Jansen getting Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt to chase a nasty, 95-mph cutter well off the plate, the Dodgers streamed toward the mound, hugging one another and donning caps and T-shirts reading "This Team". "And I feel like this year there really isn't". The Diamondbacks have been battered by Los Angeles' deep lineup while falling in an 0-2 hole, with 6-7-8 hitters Logan Forsythe, Austin Barnes and Yasiel Puig doing the bulk of the damage in an 8-5 Game 2 victory. It's about taking our walks - six, seven, eight walks.

The Dodgers didn't greet their old teammate with hugs and handshakes, instead they greeted him with hits and home runs, as Bellinger seemingly did it all for the Boys in Blue on Monday night.

Even as the Dodgers won eight of their final 10 regular-season games - against mostly inferior opponents - they did not make a convincing argument that they were all the way back from their unusual, late-season malaise.




The Dodgers of midsummer didn't have Yu Darvish, for starters. Arizona overpowered the Dodgers in those six games by a combined score of 40-13. "I'm ready now to go at any time". I mean, I get why the D-Backs would be upset, but if you put a pool in your ballpark, you're asking for trouble. It's not a matter of what [pitches] he should throw, and when. "We were relentless every single pitch".

Darvish has had shaky outings of late since he joined the team in a trade on July 31, and it was not until his past three starts, featuring an ERA of 0.47, that he has looked like the All-Star he is. The D-backs were swept in their first division series since 2011 after dropping the game 3-1 to Los Angeles.

"I wasn't able to contribute much in last year's postseason, but this year I have, so I'm extremely happy", Maeda said. "This is a group of 25 guys who understand what it takes to win games". "Be a part of something bigger than the regular season and bigger than yourself", Bradley said. And if that's the case, the Dodgers, for all their historic highs and alarming lows, will gladly occupy the rarefied space they carved out for themselves following a 104-win season and three more wins this week.

The Dodgers came away with a win due to their dominante back end of the bullpen. We've been talking about this the whole year, since January when Justin (Turner) and I re-signed.

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