Amid the wait for the 2020 Major League Baseball season to begin, every game from 2018 and 2019 are available to stream for free on MLB.TV. That prompted DodgerBlue.com to rank the best Los Angeles Dodgers games from each of the two seasons, beginning with 2018.
The list continues with No. 4 from the 2018 campaign, when Matt Kemp played hero for the Dodgers at the expense of Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley.
Entering a four-game set with the D-Backs on Aug. 31, 2018, the Dodgers found themselves in a critical place. Despite being 72-61, they were in third place in the National League West —- a full game back of the first-place Diamondbacks and a half-game behind the Colorado Rockies.
Unfortunately, things were going to get worse before they would get better. In the first game of the series, the Dodgers lost 3-1 as Robbie Ray outdueled Rich Hill.
But then, the magic started.
In the second game, the Dodgers scored in the seventh and eighth to steal a 3-2 win over Zack Greinke thanks to a pair of solo home runs from Kikè Hernandez and Justin Turner. The following night, the magic belonged to Kemp.
The 33-year-old had earned himself an All-Star spot in the first half of the season, but struggled ever since. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth, Kemp, who was 0-for-3, came up with two on and one out against Bradley.
Looking fastball, he got one and smashed it for a three-run home run -— giving the Dodgers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Dodgers found themselves tied with the Diamondbacks and a half-game up on the Rockies heading into the series finale at Dodger Stadium. They were sending Walker Buehler to the mound, and the young righty had been excellent but was coming off of his shortest outing the of season (four innings).
After escaping a jam in the first, Buehler settled in for arguably his best start of the season up until that point. Through four innings he recorded eight strikeouts (while also adding two hits on offense), but the score remained knotted at zero.
That changed in the fifth when Max Muncy came to the plate and launched a home run into the right field bullpen — his 31st of the season. That lead held until the seventh when a bit of controversy ensued.
With the bases loaded and one out, Ryan Madson was on the mound for the Dodgers facing Alex Avila. Madson got Avila to fly out to center, where Cody Bellinger was waiting — and he uncorked a perfect strike to the plate in hopes of cutting Paul Goldschmidt down.
Initially, the call was that the throw was in time, but after review it was reversed and the game was tied. After Madson got the final out in the seventh, Caleb Ferguson came on to relieve him in the eighth.
After a scoreless inning, Ferguson returned for the ninth and was promptly greeted with a leadoff home run from Daniel Descalso that put the Diamondbacks ahead.
Kenley Jansen came in afterwards, and successfully ended the threat and got the Dodgers into the dugout trailing by just one heading into the bottom of the ninth. The first pitcher the Dodgers would face was Brad Boxberger, who walked Alex Verdugo and Max Muncy before a Hernandez bunt moved them both over, putting the tying run at third and the winning run at second.
Next up was old man Kemp. And guess who was brought in to face him? Old friend Archie Bradley.
Jansen would say after that everyone knew Bradley was going to try and blow a fastball past Kemp to start the at bat — and apparently that included Kemp. On the first pitch, Bradley brought a fastball up-and-in to Kemp, who got his hands out in front and pounded the ball off of the center field wall for a two-run, walk-off double.
After touching second base, Kemp veered off course and headed into left field in hopes of avoiding the mob of Dodgers streaming out of the dugout — but to no avail. Quickly the Dodgers found him and pummeled him with water, celebrating not only a win, but also a move back into first place.
Best Dodgers games of 2018
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