Russell and Duenes

How In The World Did The Dodgers Beat The Mets?

with 5 comments

Have you ever tried to achieve a goal that just seemed out of reach? I mean you’ve worked and scratched and clawed, but you can’t seem to get there. Maybe it’s a standardized test like the SAT or MCAT. Or maybe you’re going for that promotion at work, but you just can’t get over the hump. I was reflecting on this, and as often happens, my mind went to baseball.

I harkened back to my beloved 1988 Dodgers. In the ’88 National League Championship Series, the Dodgers had to play the vaunted New York Mets, a team who had won the World Series just two seasons prior, and to whom the Dodgers had lost 10 out of 11 times in the regular season. No one gave the Dodgers a prayer. Indeed, how could the Dodgers have had any confidence going into the series with such an abysmal record against the Met juggernaut? To make matters worse, the Dodger’s ace, Orel Hershiser, took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning of Game 1, only give it up (with some help from the bullpen), and lose 3-2. That should have been the death knell. The Dodgers managed to even the series in Game 2, but then it was back to New York where they got their heads handed to them, 8-4, in Game 3, with dominant Doc Gooden going for the Mets in Game 4. Gooden gave up two early runs, but then shut the Dodgers down completely, taking a 4-2 lead into the 9th. Facing a 3 games to 1 deficit, the Dodgers should have just folded. Yet…John Shelby worked a walk and Mike Scioscia jacked a 2 run job that cleared the wall by inches. The Dodgers went on to win in the 12th, win Game 5, and ultimately take the series in seven games. It should never have happened.

Now I know that the Dodgers had to catch a lot of breaks, but they also had to play well and believe they could win 4 out of 7 games when they had already lost 10 of 11. As Winston Churchill said, with the Nazi boot on the English neck, “Many new arrangements are being contrived as a result of the hard experience through which we have passed and the many mistakes which no doubt we have made – for success is the result of making many mistakes and learning from experience.”

God is the one who ultimately decides whether we will or will not “succeed” at something, but He measures success differently than we do. We do well to trust him, of whom it is truly said, “My times are in your hands.”



Written by Michael Duenes

September 16, 2010 at 9:20 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

5 Responses

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  1. Hershiser never gets proper credit, in my opinion, for his scoreless inning streak. He is credited with 59 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, but only because they don’t count the 8 scoreless innings he pitched in game 1 against the mets.

    They only count the regular season, so the streak picked up on his first start of the following season, when he gave up a run in the first inning, ending the streak.

    For all real intents and purposes, however, he pitched 67 consecutive scoreless innings, something which will never be broken in today’s climate. Plus, he pitched a shutout in game 7 against the Mets, and probably another one or two against the A’s (don’t remember).

    Another favorite pitcher of mine, Fernando, pitched 5 shutouts in the first 8 starts of his career! Nobody pitches 5 complete games in a season anymore, let alone 5 shutouts in a season, and Fernando did it in his first 8 starts! He would be in the hall of fame (possibly Hershiser, too) if Tommy didn’t ride his arm like a cheap mule.


    September 17, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    • Good take. I agree. Hershiser was all-world that year, which is why the Dodgers won. People forget, however, that both Tim Belcher and Tim Leary had nice pitching performances for the Dodgers as well. But yes, Lasorda was the great arm-destroyer.



      September 17, 2010 at 10:52 pm

  2. The entire pitching staff was unbelievable that year. Fernando was the 5th starter!

    Didn’t they go to a three man rotation once they hit the playoffs? Hershiser, Leary, and Belcher- all with ERA under 3.00. Then Alejandro Pena as set up man, 1.91 ERA, on to Jay Howell as closer 2.08 ERA.

    The team E.R.A was below 3.00!

    Name W L ERA
    Brian Holton 7 3 1.70
    Alejandro Pena 6 7 1.91
    Jay Howell 5 3 2.08
    Orel Hershiser 23 8 2.26
    John Tudor* 4 3 2.41
    Jesse Orosco* 3 2 2.72
    Tim Leary 17 11 2.91
    Tim Belcher 12 6 2.91
    Tim Crews 4 0 3.14
    Don Sutton 3 6 3.92
    Shawn Hillegas 3 4 4.13
    Fernando Valenzuela* 5 8 4.24

    Team Totals 94 67 2.96


    September 20, 2010 at 11:24 am

    • Great stats, bro. I hadn’t realized how good their team pitching was that year. I still can’t get my mind around them beating both the Mets and the A’s. What an incredible run.



      September 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm

  3. And then to think that two years later the Reds came in with their great pitching staff to route the A’s in a 4 game sweep in the 1990 World Series.


    September 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

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