Fowl ball: Goose brought Dodgers a laugh but no luck in NLDS Game 2

Editor’s note: This is the Thursday October 13 edition of the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

Good morning. The Dodgers lost to the Padres last night at Dodger Stadium in what L.A. fans might prefer to remember as The Goose Game. The playoff series now migrates south and continues tomorrow in San Diego.

In other news:

The Ducks, naturally, won their season-opener with a two-goal comeback and an overtime goal by Troy Terry.
The Rams’ negotiations with Odell Beckham Jr. have produced what Sean McVay hopes is a minor flap.
The Chargers’ Keenan Allen could return for Monday’s game, and meanwhile, Mike Williams’s 17 catches in two weeks have kept the receiving corps soaring.
USC quarterback Caleb Williams sees room for improvement, though what he has given the Trojans so far isn’t exactly chicken feed.

It was the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series when a not too friendly-looking creature identified by the Los Angeles Audubon Society as a greater white-fronted goose landed on the right-center-field grass. The bird just sat there as play continued. In the press box and on social media, wordplay flew.

“Barnes flies out. Another – dare we say it – goose egg,” columnist Jim Alexander tweeted after pinch hitter Austin Barnes made the third out in the fifth of what became six scoreless innings for the Dodgers’ offense in a 5-3 loss.

Alexander quickly credited – or blamed – L.A. Times columnist Helene Elliott for coming up with that one.

Baseball hasn’t seen a punfest like this in, gosh, three days, since umpires acting on the Mets’ request checked Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove’s ears for illegal substances, causing some to say suspicion and gamesmanship had reached a new lobe.

It was pointed out that the goose’s stance on the field was reminiscent of deposed Dodgers close Craig Kimbrel’s pre-pitch posture.

As Padres closer Josh Hader came into the game with two outs in the eighth inning and kept the Dodgers off the board the rest of the way, researchers discovered that the first San Diego pitcher to record a more than one-inning save in the postseason, back in 1984, was none other than Goose Gossage.

I couldn’t help wishing the game had included Pat Venditte, the one-time Dodgers reliever who is ambidextrous – he could pitch with both arms – famously leading a slightly confused newspaper in Oregon to call him “amphibious pitcher” in a headline.

Unlike the time in 2001 when a Randy Johnson pitch hit and killed a bird that crowded the strike zone during a Diamondbacks-Giants spring training game, last night’s visitor didn’t interfere with the game or vice versa.

The Dodger Stadium grounds crew came out during a pitching change and, after the bird took wing and flew around a little, subdued it with a towel and carried it off in a garbage pail.

The Dodgers’ pursuit of a run remained a wild goose chase.

Not that last night’s events weren’t serious, at risk of turning critical for the Dodgers if they can’t get the offense going.

As Dodgers beat writer Bill Plunkett said in his game story: The Dodgers worked for six months, recording one of the great regular seasons in baseball history, to win their division and thus avoid the risky best-of-three playoff series that awaited playoff wild cards. But now they’re in, effectively, a best-of-three series anyway. This best-of-five series is tied 1-1.

Alexander said it might be “a crack in the armor” of the best regular-season team in Dodgers history, and it’s worth noting that this morning’s odds on teams winning the World Series show the Dodgers (+296) slipping below the now-favored Astros (+264).

The trouble wasn’t Clayton Kershaw, who scuffled through five innings, and it wasn’t their own bullpen. It was the Dodgers’ inability to solve the Padres’ bullpen, which shut them out for 9⠓ innings in the two games. Their inability to get a hit with, you know it, ducks on the pond.

After a day off to get to San Diego, the Dodgers face their most critical game in a long time Friday when Tony Gonsolin faces the Padres’ Blake Snell. Having baseball’s most famous cat fancier on the mound seems like the way to ward off a repeat of last night.

This was a game the Dodgers must put behind them.

Honk if you’ve heard enough about it.

TODAY

Kings host the Kraken (7:30 p.m., BSW). The Kings lost their opener on a Golden Knights goal in the final minute. The Kraken lost their opener to the Ducks in overtime.

READERS REACT

Yesterday, I asked: If you were among the 52,047 at Dodger Stadium Tuesday night for Game 1 of the Padres series, please tell the rest of us what you’ll remember most.

Twitter user Alejandro Jimenez (@Alejandoh22) answered: “I’ve been to two World Series games, in 2017 and 2020, and last night was the most electric I’veever felt Dodger Stadium to start a game.”

Reader Sue Duits emailed to describe the atmosphere and game highlights, and added: “The other unusual scene was that as you looked out beyond the outfield in the eighth inning, there were no cars leaving.”

NEXT QUESTION

Has your opinion of the Dodgers’ chances of winning the World Series changed after the first two games of the Padres series? Respond by email to KModesti@scng.com or on Twitter at @KevinModesti.

280 CHARACTERS

Gavin Lux’s career batting average with a goose on the field: 1.000.

— J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) October 13, 2022

– J.P. Hoornstra (@jphoornstra) after the Dodgers second baseman singled to right in the eighth inning last night, avoiding hitting the goose lying in right-center field

1,000 WORDS

Fowl ball: A goose that landed on the field and temporarily halted play flies above the field during Game 2 of the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

 

REMEMBERING VIN SCULLY

In case you missed it: This week brings The publication of “Vin Scully: The Voice of Dodger Baseball” (Triumph Books, $19.95), a collection of decades of stories, columns and photography from the Los Angeles Daily News and other Southern California News Group papers about the Dodgers broadcaster who died Aug. 2 at age 94.

Contributors include current and former Daily News and SCNG writers Bill Plunkett, J.P. Hoornstra, Jim Alexander, Mirjam Swanson, Todd Harmonson, Mark Whicker, Tom Hoffarth, Phil Rosenthal, Paola Boivin, Ryan Kartje, John Strege, Jeff Miller, David Montero and me.

Click here for more about the book and how to order a copy.

TALK TO ME

Thanks for reading the newsletter. Send suggestions, comments and questions by email at KModesti@scng.com and via Twitter @KevinModesti.

Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the “Game Day with Kevin Modesti” newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

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