I don’t know how to react to last night’s game. There was so much bad that happened and a lot of good. It is easy to concentrate on the 2-out walk to the pitcher followed by a grand slam HR. However, Buehler followed that by retiring the next 10 batters, including 4 strikeouts. It is entirely plausible that without that walk to Newcomb, the Dodgers shutout the Braves for third straight game. It would be very understandable that Buehler was still thinking of the walk to a pitcher when he squared off against Acuna Jr. Nobody knows what was in his head at the time.
The offense did not stop working with a two out two run single by JT in the 3rd. CT3 hits a two run HR and then Max Muncy hits a solo to tie the score.
The key inning was the 6th with Matt Kemp starting it with a ground rule double. Bellinger does his job by getting Kemp to 3rd with less than 2 outs. Unfortunately, Kike’ hits a ground ball right to Charlie Culberson who made a perfect throw to the plate and nailed Kemp. That did not take the wind out of the Dodgers sail, but that year-long problem by not getting key hits with RISP was ever present.
What was also ever present was that the bullpen did not come through when they needed to. Freddie Freeman hits a HR on the first pitch he sees from Alex Wood, and the Braves get that 6-5 lead they do not give up. I am not going to make excuses that Alex is not a reliever, he just made a bad pitch to a good hitter who happens to hit LHP very well. Madson, Baez, and Alexander followed and did pitch well. Hopefully that will better play out as the playoffs progress.
Brian Dozier gets a pinch hit single in the 8th and gets to second on a wild pitch, was stranded when Puig grounded out. Joc Pederson leads off the ninth and wins a great battle against Arodys Vizcaino with a 10 pitch AB that ended in a rocket single to RF. The question was did he hit it too hard. That issue went away with a walk to JT. Max Muncy comes up and goes 3-0 before striking out, and Manny Machado strikes out on a couple of bad pitches. Dozier then followed suit with a strikeout to end the game.
All in all, the Dodgers had runners in scoring position in the 6th, 8th, and 9th and could not get them home. They were 1-9 overall with RISP. I choose not to get too wrapped up in that scenario during the playoffs. There will be plenty of time to discuss this after the downtown parade in LA.
Most, if not everyone, knows that I am a huge Alex Wood fan, and it hurts that he gave up the HR. Would the Dodgers have been better off with Josh Fields as a reliever? I do not know. Woods did not give up many HRs, and generally pitched to soft contact. But he got hit hard in this game. Will Wood get the ball again in a high leverage situation? I doubt it. The playoffs is not the time to build up confidence.
Machado and Bellinger had horrible nights, but then again, both will have other opportunities and one of their next ABs may be a game winner.
Atlanta is going to throw Foltynewicz in Game 4, and since he only threw 50 pitches in Game 1, he should be sufficiently rested. The Dodgers counter with Rich Hill. Hill is a different pitcher once Chase Utley advised him as to how he was tipping his pitches. The Braves had problems hitting off-speed pitches in Games 1 and 2, and Hill seems to be a good counter to Foltynewicz.
Let’s hold off on the negatives. We can all come up with a bucket load. Let’s keep positive thoughts and hope they get all the way to Atlanta; Hill pitches 7 scoreless, Jansen closes out the 9th, and the Dodgers head to the NLCS for the third straight year. This team is resilient. When it looks the most bleak, that is when this team kicks it into gear. GO BLUE!!