The Los Angeles Dodgers are headed to the NLCS where they will take on the Atlanta Braves after defeating the rival Giants in five games in the NLDS.
It was a battle between the two teams with the best records in baseball, an unfortunate byproduct of being in the same division, and while many wish it had been a seven-game set, it at least went the full five the two teams deserved. However, the Dodgers win in Game 5 came to a close not with a bang, but an unfortunate whimper, as a controversial strike three call will be the lasting image of an otherwise tremendous series.
Dodgers ace Max Scherzer came in to close out Game 5 for L.A., getting his first batter to fly out before Kris Bryant reached on an error by Justin Turner, putting the tying run on base. LaMonte Wade Jr. strolled to the plate and nearly ended things with a bomb that he pulled foul on an inside fastball, before ultimately striking out looking on a pitch up and away. The final hope for the Giants was Wilmer Flores, who quickly fell behind 0-2, as Scherzer threw a breaking ball low and away to try and get him to chase.
Flores started to chase, but checked his swing pretty clearly before passing parallel with the plate. Unfortunately for the Giants, the first base umpire saw it differently and rung him up to end the game in an anti-climactic end to the series — and one that on review was clearly wrong.
The worst part is, the Dodgers still very likely win this series as it would’ve been a 1-2 count against one of the Cy Young favorites, but it robbed the Giants of the possibility of tying or winning the game in the ninth and robbed fans of a fitting ending to the game and series. It is a brutal way to close out the series, where the talk should’ve been about the ups and downs as both teams played incredibly well throughout, where now the lead story is about a bad call that potentially took away San Francisco’s chance at a late rally — however slim it was.