In Sudden, Sickening Switch From Victory to Defeat, Dodgers Lose World Series Game 4, 8-7
One strike away. Just one more pitch stood between the Los Angeles Dodgers winning Game 4 of the World Series, 7-6, and taking a 3-1 series lead.
Then Brett Phillips -- almost literally the last player expected to get an impact hit for the Tampa Bay Rays -- pulled a cutter from Kenley Jansen into shallow right field to drive in Kevin Kiermaier and tie the score at 7-7.
That would've been enough. But Chris Taylor didn't field the ball cleanly, giving Randy Arozarena a chance to score. But after rounding third base, the Rays' postseason sensation stumbled into a somersault. Taylor could redeem himself and throw Arozarena out!
Then, in a play that Dodgers fans may be reliving in their nightmares for years, sharing the horror with children and grandchildren, Will Smith swung his mitt to home plate for a tag but did so before he fielded Muncy's relay throw cleanly. The ball rolled away, Arozarena dove headfirst to score the winning run.
"What a finish!" said baseball fans. "Anything is possible!" said Rays fans. Dodgers fans likely didn't say anything. Too sick to speak. This was such a sudden punch to the gut.
Rays win, 8-7. The 2020 World Series is tied 2-2. Just like that. Victory and a near-certain World Series championship, possibly led by Clayton Kershaw in Sunday's Game 5, was lost. A win may never have been taken away so quickly, so shockingly.
So close to that elusive World Series title. And now, it feels so far away.
How do the Dodgers come back from a loss like that? The game literally slipped through their gloves. Everyone involved -- players, coaches, executives, and fans -- had surely begun thinking about a World Series-clinching victory on Sunday. Now it's a three-game battle either team could win.
Dave Roberts and clubhouse leaders like Justin Turner and Mookie Betts have to try and shake this off. An off-day probably would've helped. But they're back at it in less than 24 hours and the numbness from shock might not have subsided. It might linger all the way into next February.
Ian Casselberry watchdogs sports media for Awful Announcing. He’s covered baseball for SB Nation, Yahoo Sports and MLive, and was one of Bleacher Report’s first lead MLB writers. Please follow Ian on Twitter @iancass and give him a listen at The Podcass.