October 20, 2021

1. Cody Bellinger hits an absolute hero shot in L.A.

And the Dodgers’ season, almost on the brink, is saved. The iconic moment of the 2021 postseason, on a sunny, suddenly ecstatic afternoon at Dodger Stadium:

Here’s another angle, from the right-field bleachers:

The Dodgers were down by three in the eighth inning. Down 0–2 in the series. Everything falling apart, until that pitch. That swing. That thwack of the bat. And a ballpark gone berserk with joy.

A moment that produced one of the perfect baseball photos of the year (unsure of the credit, as it was reposted on Twitter somewhere):

After an awful year at the plate, Cody Bellinger is finally back. The star. The hero. And not even a week ago, that he had that hit in Game 5 of the NLDS, beating the Giants in the culmination of the rivalry:

2. The rest of the highlights from Game 3 of the NLCS

The Braves almost opened things up in the first inning, with runners on but coming up scoreless, and then the Dodgers capitalized — another two-run homer from Corey Seager (he hit one just like it in Game 2, also in the first inning), tying the franchise record for postseason home runs:

And then, the Braves rallied in the fourth inning, as the Dodgers had a bit of a meltdown — starting with a ball lost in the sun.

Then a bad call by the umpire.

Then, the walks. The hits. And suddenly the Braves took a 4–2 lead, and Walker Buehler came out of the game.

In the fifth, Adam Duvall had another RBI single, the Braves went up by three, the nerves fizzed around Dodger Stadium, the forecast for a win went gloomy.

And then.

Two guys got on base, and Bellinger hit it a mile. Then Chris Taylor slapped a single to get on. And Mookie, on a tear all October, brought home the lead.

Minutes later it was over, with Kenley Jansen striking out the side. And once again, the 2021 NLCS is alive and well and back.

3. Dodger Stadium yesterday, before and after

Before the home run (B.H.R):

And year one of the After Home Run era (A.H.R 1):

4. The Red Sox blew Game 4 of the ALCS late, and the Astros tie the series

It was another promising start at Fenway Park, in front of a rowdy crowd still hopped up from Monday night, with a no-doubt two-run HR in the first from Xander Bogaerts, over the Monster:

Then the innings flitted by. With the Red Sox holding a tenuous 2–1 lead into the eighth, the fans at Fenway thinking they might even be seeing a series wrapped up over the next 24 hours — and then, Jose Altuve tied the game. On the first pitch out of the break, almost before the end of the last commercial.

Then came the top of the ninth. A seven-run onslaught from the Astros, as the Nathan Eovaldi move crashed, burned, and encountered a very special umpire along the way, Mr. Laz Diaz (to be fair, the calls were erratic to both sides all night).

A moment later it all fell apart, and the series is now tied.

5. Max Scherzer was shown all night on a new commercial for Indeed

Playing a ballpark organ in the living room, too.

6. If the Red Sox lose again tonight, at least they have this

Warm clam chowder at the ballgame. It hardly gets better.

7. Game 5 of the ALCS starts this afternoon, 5:08 ET

Framber Valdez vs. Chris Sale.

A 6.75 postseason ERA this year vs. a 3.38.

8. And Game 4 of the NLCS follows at 8:08 ET

Julio Urias vs. a bullpen game, from the Braves.

9. Seen working out at the Mariners ballpark yesterday: the legend, Ichiro Suzuki

And what an outfit, too.

10. The stat of the day: Cody Bellinger is clutch

11. Today in baseball generosity news

Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd has a great success story about his charity in Uganda, and Juan Soto put his Home Run Derby earnings to good use:

12. And lastly, get ready for the “Nootbaar” candy bar

A far less famous sequel to the “Reggie!”?

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