There is something missing in the Dodgers dugout, something so blatantly obvious that its absence is blinding.
What is it, or rather who is it?
It’s that guy - a team leader; and I don’t have a clue who that guy is because he is nowhere to be found – not yet, at least.
Without exception every successful post-season team has at least one guy who steps up and takes his game to another level. He is that guy who comes up huge in pressure situations time after time, be it in the Division Series, the Championship Series and especially the World Series. He is that guy who rises to the occasion and usually ends up being the series MVP.
Who is that guy for the Dodgers in the 2013 NLCS?
There isn’t one – at least there hasn’t been one through the first two games of the series. That guy is missing in action, it’s as simple as that.
In the NLDS that guy was Juan Uribe, with Clayton Kershaw and A.J. Ellis receiving honorable mention. In the 2012 World Series that guy was Pablo Sandoval. In the 2011 NLCS and the World Series that guy was David Freese, and so on… and so on.
But through the first two games of the NLCS that guy has yet to show up for the Dodgers, this in spite of numerous ‘silver platter’ opportunities – none greater than in the 6th inning of Game-2 when the Dodgers had runners on second and third with no outs and then the bases loaded with one out only to have Mark Ellis pop out and Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe strike out after an intentional walk to Adrian Gonzalez. Talk about a fail… this was a fail of epic proportion and thus far is the defining moment of the series (in addition to Don Mattingly’s equally epic fail in Game-1 when he removed his number one run producer for pinch runner Dee Gordon in the 8th inning of a tied game).
Dodger fans, at least true Dodger fans, have not and will not give up on their team regardless of how dim things may seen right now. But unless someone in the Dodgers dugout steps up and takes charge, the chances of the Dodgers advancing to the 2013 World Series are diminishing with each additional runner left in scoring position, man left on base and flailing strike out on pitches that are way out of the strike zone.
There is one thing you can count on, however. If the Dodgers continue to squander these silver platter opportunities as they did in the first two games, that guy will eventually show up in the Cardinals dugout.
Find that guy, Dodgers… find him right now!