Dodgers Advance to NLCS

(Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

What a game. The 7th inning alone lasted an hour and 6 minutes. With the Dodgers leading 4-3 against the Washington Nationals in the bottom of the 7th inning with no outs and 2 runners on, LA’s manager Dave Roberts made the second gutsiest move of the night by brining in closer Kenley Jansen, who has never gotten more than six outs in a game. Jansen was potentially being asked to get nine outs.

Brining the closer in to pitch in the 7th inning was only the second gutsiest move, because in the 9th inning Roberts brought in ace Clayton Kershaw, who had thrown 110 pitches two days before as a starter in game 4. Kershaw got the final two outs and the team mobbed him on the field. The Los Angeles Dodgers are advancing to the National League Championship Series versus the Chicago Cubs.

First year rookie manager Dave Roberts has so far proven Dodgers management made the right decision to hire him. With no prior managerial experience, Roberts replaced Don Mattingly, who never seemed comfortable in LA. It’s difficult to imagine Mattingly would have made the kind of maneuvers Roberts did tonight. Roberts has demonstrated that he isn’t afraid to take risks. Tonight it paid off spectacular. Mattingly would likely have played it safe and called a conventional game.

Tim Kurkjian of ESPN called this “one of the greatest games I’ve ever seen with all the drama, all the intrigue, and all the moves.” I’m still in a little bit of disbelief that Roberts brought Jansen in for the 7th inning and Kershaw saved the game. Oh, the last time Kershaw got a save? It was in 2006 in the minor leagues with Jansen as the catcher.