Whicker: Dodgers face their fears, take down nemesis Robbie Ray
By Mark Whicker
LOS ANGELES — This Division Series will not be ruled by a starting pitcher, the way they all once were.
Robbie Ray of Arizona had a chance to take those reins and herd those Dodgers into uncomfortable corners. Circumstances, including those created by his own team, denied him that.
Pitching with two days’ rest after a relief appearance Wednesday, Ray had his speed but not his direction in Game 2, and the Dodgers didn’t let him escape the fifth inning. They went on to overcome some bullpen mishaps of their own and win, 8-5, and take a 2-0 lead to Phoenix for Monday’s Game 3. One more win in any of the next three games takes them into the National League Championship Series for the second consecutive year.
Real Dodger Stadium veterans looked at Ray’s enormous success against the Dodgers this year and were transported back to 1966.
A St. Louis left-hander named Larry Jaster faced the Dodgers five times that season. He shut them out five times, too.
Jaster beat Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen twice apiece. He beat Don Sutton. He gave up 24 hits in 45 innings. And that was against a National League championship team.
Other pitchers have hexed the Blue over the years, but few could approach Jaster until Ray came along in 2017.
The lefty from suburban Nashville was 3-0 against the Dodgers with a 2.27 ERA and struck out 53 in 31-2/3 innings. He dominated them in back-to-back outings in late summer, as the Diamondbacks were in the process of beating L.A. six consecutive times.
He was going to be Arizona’s trump card in an NLDS, because obviously he would pitch Game 1 and reduce the Dodgers to blue play-doh.
Which is why many people around the Dodgers blinked Wednesday night when Ray came out of the Arizona dugout during the wild-card […]