For The Win’s Ted Berg previews the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers World Series matchup with SportsPulse’s Trysta Krick.
MILWAUKEE — The Los Angeles Dodgers sure know how to ruin a party.
With the Milwaukee Brewers on the verge of their first World Series in 36 years and all of Wisconsin scrambling for a seat on the bandwagon, the Dodgers reminded everyone that it takes more than streaky hitting and creativity with the bullpen to get things done this time of year.
A couple of timely homers, a defensive gem by Chris Taylor and a masterful pitching performance by rookie Walker Buehler, and the Dodgers are headed to the World Series for the second year in a row while the Brewers are left to count the days until spring training.
Not that this should have been a surprise to anyone. The Dodgers are simply the better team, regardless of what the regular-season standings said, and they’re grizzled, postseason veterans. This was their third year in a row in the NL Championship Series, and that experience means something in a winner-take-all Game 7.
The Brewers came into the game buzzing with confidence after Friday night’s rout. They had a raucous Miller Park crowd behind them, and a fresh Josh Hader ready to go. Within the first two innings, the Dodgers had made both afterthoughts.
Cody Bellinger, who beat the Brewers in Game 4, hit a two-run homer in the second inning to give Los Angeles a 2-1 lead. The crowd, which already wasn’t as lively as it had been Friday night, fell silent and despite repeated pleas from the scoreboard operator, never really rallied.
The Dodgers had batted through the order by the end of that inning, and Brewers manager Craig Counsell decided that was enough for Jhoulys Chacin. He brought in Hader, his flame-thrower, who did his job with three shutout innings.
But it was too early. Sure enough, as soon as Counsell turned the game over to the rest of his bullpen, the wheels came off. Xavier Cedeno gave up a leadoff single and Counsell replaced him with Jeremy Jeffress, who promptly gave up another single.
Three batters later, Jeffress served up a three-run homer to Yasiel Puig.
Now, all of this might have been different if not for Taylor’s sliding catch at the warning track that robbed Christian Yelich of the game-tying hit. But Taylor did make the catch. Because that’s what deep, experienced teams do this time of year.
The Boston Red Sox will be considered the favorite in the World Series. They’ll have home field advantage, and a roster that just shredded the defending champion Houston Astros.
That’s fine. It’s one more party for the Dodgers to spoil.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.