You thought, perhaps, as I did, that this was going to get uncomfortable when Ricky Nolasco decided it would be fun to toss out his second consecutive disaster start, giving back a 3-0 Hanley Ramirez-provided lead by allowing six Arizona runs in the third inning. You thought it would get ugly when Jerry Hairston looked visibly upset at another Yasiel Puig baserunning error, as though Puig’s obvious immaturity was somehow more detrimental than the fact that Hairston simply isn’t any good anymore. You worried about bunts and passed balls and just how annoying and hyperbolic this was all going to get if the Dodgers came to Arizona and dropped three out of four, leaving town without a division title.
I’m really not sure what else you can say about Ramirez at this point, other than to simply recite the stats. With two homers today, his 19th and 20th of the season — the second one being a no-doubter that tied the game in the seventh — Ramirez not only put up his sixth season of 20 homers or more, but he’s done so in just 320 plate appearances. (We are, for now, going to bury our heads in the sand about whatever it was that caused Ramirez to come out of the game in the ninth inning after running hard on a groundout in the eighth, the only time in five trips today he was retired.)
While Ramirez tied it, it was the recently-maligned Ellis who won it, parking his eighth homer of the year in the eighth inning off Josh Collmenter to give the Dodgers a lead they’d never relinquish. I could go on about Uribe’s defense and the shutout relief provided by Brandon League and J.P. Howell and Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen, but I don’t think you really want to hear about it right now, because the specifics of the game aren’t really all that important
What is important is making official what we’ve known for weeks — for the first time since 2009, the Dodgers are going to the playoffs. After spending most of the first half left for dead in last place, they’re the first team in baseball to clinch a playoff spot. I can’t believe I just typed those words. I can’t believe you just read them. Enjoy the next two weeks, folks. I think we’ve all earned it.