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One Fine Day/Night: Dodgers, Rams Win

September 21st, 2017 · No Comments · Dodgers, Los Angeles Rams, NFL

Young sports fan me, ages 9 to maybe 15, would have been very happy with how this day turned out.

My two favorite pro teams won!

Dodgers 5, Philadelphia 4, leaving them one victory shy of clinching the National League West.

The Rams 41-39 over the San Francisco 49ers, their greatest rivals, on the Thursday night game.

Young teen and pre-teen me, however, would not have been able to stay up till 5:15 a.m. (here in France) to see the Rams survive those hideous uniforms as well as some late attempts and self-destruction. The kid version of me would have been pushing his luck to see Kenley Jansen get the final four outs. That one ended about 11 p.m., on the eastern side of the Atlantic.

These two results potentially are important.

The Rams improved to 2-1 after a game in which quarterback Jared Goff, last year’s bust-in-the-making, looked competent. He completed 22-of-28 passes for 292 yards, three touchdowns and zero turnovers.

Maybe coaches really do matter, with 31-year-old Sean McVay, “quarterback whisperer”, seeming to have brought Goff into the ranks of useful QBs.

It helps Goff that the Rams improved their offensive line from their 4-12 face-plant of 2016, led by newly acquired left tackle Andrew Whitworth, and added maybe-above-average receivers Sammy Watkins and Robert Wood.

A year ago, Goff’s receivers had trouble getting open, and when they did Goff was probably in the process of being sacked. Or had already thrown an interception.

And there was running back Todd Gurley, the guy the franchise was trying to build around last year, its first back in L.A., but he also flopped. In this one, he ran for 113 yards, caught five passes for 36 yards and scored three touchdowns.

The defense was a bit shaky, but tackle Aaron Donald is back from his summer-long holdout, and the Rams made just enough big plays to hold off a Niners rally — in a game they would have contrived to lose, last year — and maybe the 10 years previous to that, in St. Louis.

The Rams, you may have heard, were quite good in the late 1960s, when George “The Future is Now” Allen was the coach and then pretty good right through the 1970s, most of that under Chuck Knox. They were often the biggest story in L.A. sports. No. Really.

The Dodgers also were pretty good in those two decades, winning two World Series in the 1960s, behind Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, and then reaching the World Series three times in the 1970s, led by their infield of Ron Cey, Davey Lopes, Steve Garvey and Bill Russell.

They have been competent in the second decade of the new millennium, and during their scalding-hot streak in the middle of the current season they rocketed to a 91-36 record on August 25 that had them on track for all manner of records. (Most wins, Los Angeles, 102; most wins, including Brooklyn, 105; most wins by a National League team, 116.)

Then came the correction that turned into a rout, to borrow some Wall Street lingo, and the Dodgers lost 16 of 17, including 11 in succession. The one victory in the stretch was by Clayton Kershaw and he started the victory that ended the streak, too.

The Dodgers actually won four straight, then turned around and lost four straight, including three to the pitching-poor Phillies, to make them 5-20 over nearly four weeks — and their fans jittery. Their best-record-in-baseball, which once had them leading the second-best team in ball by a dozen games, was down to a half-game over Cleveland, and had they lost tonight they would have trailed the Indians by a half game. (Best record in ball is guaranteed home-field advantage as long as it survives.)

So it was good to see them win one, in large part thanks to Chris Taylor, who played great defense in the outfield and also at shortstop, and tripled and dashed home with the winning run as Cody Bellinger tapped to first.

The upside to this swoon is that the Dodgers can clinch their fifth consecutive division title tomorrow at home on Hall of Fame former manager Tommy Lasorda’s 90th birthday.

It would be nice to win a World Series for the first time since 1988 while Tommy and Vin Scully can still appreciate it.

So, Dodgers and Rams winning on the same day? Used to happen several times a year. Now? Not so much.


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