It's no secret Dodgers have struggled offensively. That has to change Monday or the season may end in L.A.
By JOE McDONNELLFS West
LOS ANGELES -- There may be a lot of people thinking the
Dodgers' surprising 2013 season is about to come to an end after losing the first two games of the NLCS in St. Louis.
Don't count left fielder Carl Crawford as one of that group.
"Not at all," Crawford answered when asked if the 3-2 and 1-0 losses to the Cardinals were the death knell for his team. "There's no reason to believe we can't turn things around just as quickly and will the games here at home. But first we have to get the first one (Monday) and then we're right back in it."
The Dodgers may once again have to do it without the injured Hanley Ramirez (sore ribs) and Andre Ethier (bad ankle), so Crawford the Prophet needs to morph into Carl the Run Producer.
After an NLDS that saw him blast three home runs and drive in five runs in a 3-1 series win over the Atlanta Braves, Crawford -- like the rest of the Dodger hitters -- struggled with run production. CC went 3-10 in the first two games of the NLCS against the Cardinals but was unable to drive in or score a run.
That has to change Monday night for the Dodgers' leadoff hitter -- all the hitters, actually -- or the season may indeed end in Los Angeles.
Crawford says that he's going to do everything he can to help the Dodgers win four of the next five games and move on to the World Series.
"We've all worked so hard since spring training, and it's been great to see it all work out to get us to this point," said the 32-year-old four-time All-Star after Sunday's workout at Dodger Stadium. "We've faced challenges all year long with injuries and the slow start, but we never quit and we won't do it now.
"This series is still very winnable. And as you saw in the first two games, with the pitching we have, if we can score some runs we'll win."
It's that kind of attitude that makes him and Ramirez so highly respected by their teammates. Never say die. Never quit.
"It's the only way I know how to play the game," Crawford said.
Dodgers' catcher A.J. Ellis, another well-respected player for his ability to take a beating behind home plate and still play the next day, isn't surprised by the contributions Crawford has made when healthy.
"Absolutely not," Ellis said. "When he came here he had been one of the best players in the American League throughout most of his career. He's only 32 but he's already been in the majors for 12 seasons.
"(Carl) has that different kind of edge that makes him a superstar player," he said. "He comes out some days (with his health) at 75 or 80 percent, but he knows that (his) 80 percent is better than 80 percent of most of the players on the planet.
"It's been fun to watch him play this year."
For Crawford, the feeling is mutual.
"I've loved being around the guys in the clubhouse," Crawford said, "and I love helping us win. I go out there every night and leave it on the field, and hopefully that's good enough for us to win this series and get to the World Series."