Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Sports | By Spencer Underwood

Major League Baseball playoffs: Three takeaways from Dodgers' NLDS-clinching win over Diamondbacks

Major League Baseball playoffs: Three takeaways from Dodgers' NLDS-clinching win over Diamondbacks

Game 3 was played at Chase Field, and after the Dodgers clinched the NLCS berth, the D-Backs had police mounted on horseback (!) guard the ballpark's trademark swimming pool beyond the right-center field wall.

First #postseason homer for @Cody_Bellinger?

Dodgers: Face either the Washington Nationals or Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series.

The Nationals were able to rally back and win the game 6-3 tying their series up at one game.

The ALDS games were played Sunday night. Darvish limited the damage to the lone run after a spectacular inning ending catch by Bellinger as he caught it falling over the dugout railing. At the time, the Dodgers led by two runs and Darvish had only thrown 74 pitches, and some shook their head when lefty Tony Cingrani entered the game.

In came Kenley Jansen, looking to end the series, the Dodgers closer started the inning off by striking out Grégor Blanco.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks couldn't prevent the Los Angeles Dodgers from beating them in the NLDS, but they could prevent a repeat of 2013's celebration. He struck out four and walked five. With runners on the corners and one out, Cody Bellinger grounded out to first giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

The 22-year-old Bellinger is the youngest Dodger ever to homer in the postseason - he's 75 days younger than Corey Seager was when he set the mark last fall. He needed just 30 pitches to get through three innings, including a seven-pitch third that give his opposite number, who grounded out in that stretch, nearly no time to sit down. Clayton Kershaw - who didn't even need to pitch in relief in this particular NLDS after his memorable turn past year against the Nationals - can start the NLCS opener Saturday on seven days' rest, with Rich Hill, Darvish and Alex Wood all well-rested and ready to take their turn. "Outside of the first three or four (outings) once he came over, he's been very good and continuing to get better".

And that begins with pitching aggressively. Yasiel Puig finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Every Dodger continued to have quality at-bats tonight, making Greinke work hard for those outs. Los Angeles also kept Kyle Farmer as a third catcher behind Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes.

Scoring started early, with Chris Taylor hitting a leadoff double, moving to second on a walk, moving to third on a sac fly, and scoring on a slow grounder to first. He struggled with his command, walking a season-high five and throwing 103 pitches through five innings. He was hit on the bill of the helmet two pitches later.

Darvish, acquired from Texas in a trade deadline deal, struck out seven over five innings to outpitch Arizona's Zack Greinke and earn the righty his first postseason victory in three tries.

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