As Yogi Berra once said … it’s déjà vu all over again.
After the Los Angeles Dodgers’ epic (106-56) but eventually disappointing chase of the San Francisco Giants (107-55) for the National League West flag, they are in a one-game wild card contest on Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
And if they win … their opponent in a NL Division Series starting on Friday will be … the San Francisco Giants.
The 2021 MLB regular season is over and the post-season starts. The Dodgers came within one game of first in the NL West, despite a furious closing kick in which the Blue Crew won nine of 10 games.
It all starts on Tuesday with the New York Yankees visiting Fenway Park in the AL Wild Card game. On Tuesday, the Dodgers host the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card.
The best of seven Division Series starts Thursday with the White Sox at the Astros and the winner of the AL Wild Card at the Rays. The NL round begins on Friday with the Braves at Brewers and the winner of the NL Wild Card (Dodgers, we hope) at the Giants.
To no one’s surprise, for the seventh consecutive season, the Angels (77-85) were not invited to the playoff party. Their fourth place finish in the AL West was another disappointment, but the performance of Shohei Ohtani as the first big two-way star since Babe Ruth gave Orange County fans something to cheer about.
If they can’t land – and keep – some quality starting pitchers soon, he will be the “former Angels’ star” before long.
The deep, deep and wild NFC West
There’s no shame in the Los Angeles Rams’ 37-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday at SoFi Stadium. They just ran into the buzz saw of one of the emerging stars of the NFL’s toughest divisions: Kyler Murray, who passed for 268 yards and two scores, ably assisted by runner Chase (what a great name!) Edmonds, who carried 12 times for 120 yards.
Murray completed passes to eight receivers and ran for 39 yards, always keeping the Rams’ defense off balance. LAR (now 3-1) will get a chance to shake that off on Thursday when they visit the Seattle Seahawks (2-2). The Cards (4-0) will also be playing a division rival on Sunday when they host the San Francisco 49ers (2-2).
Oh, and the Los Angeles Chargers (2-1) will be in the Monday Night Football game hosting the Las Vegas Raiders at So-Fi tonight.
Sun-burned by the Sun Devils
Speaking of L.A.-area teams that got thumped by football teams from Arizona, UCLA flubbed its Pac-12 opener, losing 42-23 to Arizona State (now 4-1). The loss dropped UCLA out of the AP Top 25 and elevated the Sun Devils (4-1) into 22nd place.
The Bruins (3-2) will get a chance to even things up with the Grand Canyon State on Saturday, when they take on Arizona’s Wildcats (0-4). Alabama (5-0), as always, is first, followed by Georgia (5-0), Iowa (5-0) and Penn State (5-0).
USC (3-2), meanwhile will host Utah (2-2) in the Coliseum on Saturday. The Trojans beat Colorado 37-14 last Saturday.
The Final Out: New England Patriot fans cherish Tom Brady, but only up to a point. This tweet, from “Schwartzy,” went viral. It read: “I’ll cheer for him when he comes out. But after that, nah. I want some sacks. I want to see our … linebackers just pummel them and punish him.” Yeah, but Brady got the last laugh as his Tampa Bay team won.
“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica.