The Luck of the Goose

Padres defeat Dodgers but lose to Phillies in the NLCS

Provided by LA Daily News

Matthew Phan and Mustang Staff

During Game 2 of the NLDS a white fronted goose landed in shallow right field in front of 56,000 cheering LA fans at Dodger Stadium. Fans had less to cheer about when the Padres won the Goose Game and then won Games 3 and 4 in San Diego to advance to play the Phillies in the NLCS. Not since the Rally Monkey of Anaheim in 2002 when the Angels won the World Series, defeating the SF Giants, has an unofficial mascot received so much love from its fanbase. The Rally Goose hosted Philadelphia on October 18, but would lose to the Phillies (4-1). 

The Dodgers dominated their “little brother” all year long (14-5) during the 111 win regular season, but they lost three games when it counted in the postseason. After surprising a 101-win Mets team in the Wild Card series, Padres pitching, behind Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Josh Hader, and Robert Suarez, neutralized the Dodger bats of Betts, Turner, and Freeman. LA pitchers Kershaw, Heaney, Kahnle, and Almonte could not limit the damage of the Padres’ offense behind Machado, Grisham, Cronenworth, and Soto.

After losing a momentum-changing Game 3, Dodger star right fielder Mookie Betts told reporters that, “the regular season doesn’t mean anything, [the Padres] have been playing very well and we haven’t. ” (Spectrum LA) Betts’ 142 regular- game season came off to a shaky start after he suffered a fractured rib when colliding with CF Cody Bellinger on June 15. This year Betts had 87 RBI in the regular season and 1 in the postseason. The offense of Freeman (100 RBI regular season / 3 postseason) and Trea Turner (100 RBI regular/ 2 postseason) was not enough to defeat the Swinging Friars. Betts, who signed a 12-year deal with the Dodgers valued at $365 million ($30 mil a year) that goes through the 2032 season, hopes that 2023 will erase the bitter memory of October agony.

Fans and critics on social media have lashed out at manager Dave Roberts for how he has used the bullpen and starters this year. “Dave Roberts needs to go,” said Fox Sports MLB analyst Ben Verlander. “He has had the best team in baseball on paper for the last five years and the Dodgers have not won a 162 game season. When the calendar turns to October, Roberts always pushes the panic button. What are you doing? There are so many bone-headed moves that you’ve made over the years.” Meanwhile, Padres coach Bob Melvin has been praised for allowing starters Musgrove and Snell to go deep into the ball game, giving the bullpen more rest for high leverage moments. 

The Padres had hoped to win their first World Series title in franchise history, but they were stopped by Phillies starters Wheeler, Harper, and Hoskins. The Phillies, in turn, lost to the Astros who won the World Series with a key 3-run homer in the sixth-inning of Game 6 delivered by DH slugger Yordan Alvarez. The Houston bullpen of Neris, Abreu, and Pressly shut the door on the Phillies.

The Padres were swept by the NY Yankees in 1998 and lost (4-1) to the Tigers in 1984. The Dodgers won the 2020 title in a shortened 60 game season, but they have not won a 162 game regular season championship since 1988.